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Is Jordan Love the future? It may take 'at least half a season' to find out

Mark Murphy is optimistic about Jordan Love's future, but the Packers president is preaching patience with the young quarterback.
Packers Football
Posted at 6:25 PM, Jul 24, 2023

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Green Bay Packers president/CEO Mark Murphy says it will probably take “at least half a season” for the team to know what it has in new starting quarterback Jordan Love.

Murphy noted the parallels to 2008, when Aaron Rodgers took over as Green Bay’s starting quarterback after backing up Hall of Famer Brett Favre for three seasons. Rodgers’ trade to the New York Jets cleared the way for Love, who has made one career start since the Packers selected him out of Utah State with the 26th overall pick in the 2020 draft.

The Packers went 6-10 in 2008 but won their most recent Super Bowl title two years later.

“Comparing it a little bit to Aaron’s first year as a starter, yeah, I’d say at least half a season to know,” Murphy said Monday after the NFL’s lone publicly owned team held its annual shareholders meeting. “And I think even though we ended up with a losing record that year, we saw enough of Aaron to know that we had something special.”

The Packers open training camp Wednesday with a much less experienced team than they’ve had in recent seasons. Wide receiver Allen Lazard and safety Adrian Amos are with Rodgers in New York. Kicker Mason Crosby, the leading scorer in team history, isn’t expected back after the Packers drafted Auburn kicker Anders Carlson in the sixth round.

The only Packers in their 30s are punter Pat O’Donnell (32), offensive tackle David Bakhtiari (31), outside linebacker Preston Smith (30) and inside linebacker De’Vondre Campbell (30).

“We’re a much different team than we were last year,” Murphy said. “We’ll be younger, but I’m optimistic. I obviously have a lot of confidence in Matt. I think our defense probably will have to carry us a little bit in the early season. I think offensively, you’re going to see probably a little bit more of Matt’s true offense. Obviously when you have a great quarterback like Aaron and somebody who’s been in the league as long as he has, we gave him the flexibility to change plays and get in and out of things that really helped. But I would anticipate a strong running game and play-action off of that.”

The Packers are particularly young on offense.

Green Bay' only wide receivers or tight ends who caught more than 13 passes last season are Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs, both entering their second seasons. The Packers drafted Oregon State tight end Luke Musgrave and Michigan State receiver Jayden Reed in the second round and added South Dakota State tight end Tucker Kraft in the third round.

“There will probably be some ups and downs with Jordan and we’ve got young receivers, but we’ve got a lot of talent there and I think our thought is – or our hope is – that they’ll all get better and grow together,” Murphy said.

While talking to the 7,825 shareholders who attended Monday’s meeting and the 1,200 who streamed it online, Murphy said “it was the right time” to make a change at quarterback and praised general manager Brian Gutekunst for his negotiations with the Jets and for making the decision to draft Love four years ago.

“He was highly criticized when he drafted Jordan Love,” Murphy said. “That draft, though, now put us in a position where we feel we can be competitive in the long term. There’s an old saying in the NFL, the best time to draft a quarterback is when you don’t need one.”

The crowd of shareholders applauded when Murphy paid tribute to Rodgers and called him “one of the greatest players in the history of the Packers.” Gutekunst’s comment that Love is “ready to make his mark in the National Football League after patiently waiting his turn” received a similar reception.

Murphy said he expects Rodgers to have his number retired “probably a year after” the quarterback’s career is over.

“It’ll probably be someone else in my position making that decision,” said Murphy, who will retire after turning 70 on July 2025. “But I would think it would be shortly after his career ends officially.”

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