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Packers' Matt LaFleur 'Pleased' With Jordan Love's Performance Despite 3 INTs

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVAugust 13, 2022

Jordan Love (Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur said he was "pleased" with the play of quarterback Jordan Love in Friday's preseason loss to the San Francisco 49ers despite a stat line that included three interceptions.

Love, a 2020 first-round pick, completed 13 of his 24 throws for 176 yards with two touchdowns and the three picks while leading the offense for the entire first half.

LaFleur discussed the performance after the Packers lost their preseason opener, 28-21:

"I think two of those [interceptions] you can totally take off him. The third one, we had two busted routes because the ball really shouldn't have gone there on that play, but he had nowhere else to go with the football, and he forced it in there and the defender made a good play. We've just got to clean up everything around him. We say it all the time about quarterbacks, they're going to get too much credit when we do well and they're going to get a lot of the blame when we don't, and that's just the reality of playing that position in this league. But I was pleased with Jordan's performance."

Green Bay selected Love as the potential heir apparent to Aaron Rodgers, and it appeared prophetic for a period last year as the future Hall of Famer remained away from the franchise during the offseason amid a flurry of trade rumors.

Rodgers ultimately remained with the Packers and delivered his second straight MVP season, throwing 37 touchdowns and just four interceptions in 16 games.

The 38-year-old proceeded to sign a three-year, $150.8 million contract extension in March. The deal runs through 2026 and it's ended the speculation about his future, at least for now.

That's raised questions about what's next for Love, who hasn't received the type of first-team opportunities necessary to accelerate his development in a significant way.

Love has made just one start across his first two seasons, which came last year while Rodgers was in COVID-19 protocols, and he's headed for another year in the backup role.

The 23-year-old Utah State product explained the importance of getting live reps after Friday's contest.

"I think the game action means a lot," Love told reporters. "Being able to get those reps, seeing different looks on the defense, and just going against different guys. The intensity is a little bit higher, and I think the game action is a lot better than practice."

While LaFleur is right in saying the interceptions weren't solely on Love, including one that bounced off the hands of tight end Tyler Davis, the quarterback's overall play still isn't at a level you'd expect from a first-round selection entering his third season.

Whether the signal-caller will be able to make that leap through practices and preseason games is a mystery, but there's no path (barring injury) to a more significant role in Green Bay with Rodgers continuing to play at such a high level.

It could force the Packers into a tough situation next offseason, when they'll have to decide whether to exercise the fifth-year option in Love's contract.

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