Brian Gutekunst: It’s important for Jordan Love to get as many reps as possible

The Packers traded up to draft Jordan Love at No. 26 overall last spring, ostensibly to be their quarterback of the future.

But in 2020, Love wasn’t even close to seeing the field. He was inactive as the third quarterback all season, with Tim Boyle serving as Aaron Rodgers‘ backup.

With little practice time and no preseason games in the summer of 2020, Love didn’t get the type of experience he otherwise would have in a typical year. That has General Manager Brian Gutekunst valuing what should be a more normal training camp and preseason in 2021.

But there’s also a very good chance the NFL will play a 17-week regular season and a three-week preseason this year. Unless something drastic happens, that would mean one fewer game for Love.

“I think it’s very important for Jordan to get as many live reps [as possible] — and that’s not just him but all young players, specifically quarterbacks,” Gutekunst said during his Tuesday press conference. “If that does transpire where we get to the three preseason games, I think prior to last year, I would’ve told you that wasn’t going to concern me as much. But after going through a season without preseason games, I realize how valuable and important that they are.

“With Jordan specifically, yeah, it was disappointing we weren’t able to get him out there in the preseason this year. Looking forward to it this year. The more the better. Guys get better through playing. Practice is always important, but the live-game reps for all players is something you can’t replace.”

It’s still unclear what form the offseason program will take in 2021. But through practice time and preseason games, the Packers are clearly expecting Love to take a step forward. And with Boyle a free agent, Love should be able to step in as the backup next season.