GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Green Bay Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst says the overall struggles of the offense make it tougher to evaluate the progress of Jordan Love in the quarterback’s first season as a starter.
The Packers rank 25th in total offense and haven't scored a first-half touchdown in their past five games. The Packers (2-5) will try to avoid a fifth consecutive loss Sunday when they host the Los Angeles Rams (3-5).
Although Love is just 27th in passer rating, he hasn’t gotten much help in his first season since taking over for four-time MVP Aaron Rodgers. The 2020 first-round pick is throwing primarily to rookies and second-year pros, who haven’t developed as fast as the Packers wanted.
“When the group as a whole is not functioning the way it should function, then it’s hard to evaluate anybody,” Gutekunst said Wednesday. “At the same time, it’s on us to get that right so we can move forward and evaluate the guys we have in that room.”
Gutekunst expressed confidence the Packers would be able to get a good evaluation on Love by the end of the season.
“These are going to be a very important 10 games, and I think he’s done a lot of really good things,” Gutekunst said. “Really like the way he’s responded to the adversity, how he’s led the team. Again, we’ve got to be better as a unit, and I expect that to happen over the next 10 games.”
Shortly after trading Rodgers to the New York Jets, the Packers signed Love to a contract extension running through the 2024 season. That theoretically gives the Packers two seasons to determine whether Love’s the long-term solution.
But if the Packers continue to falter the rest of this season, they could end up with an early enough pick to select one of the top available quarterbacks in next year’s draft.
Love’s season had an encouraging start.
He threw six touchdown passes without an interception in the Packers’ first two games. He followed that up by leading a fourth-quarter comeback in which the Packers scored 18 straight points in the last 11 minutes of an 18-17 victory over the New Orleans Saints.
But he has faded since, throwing a combined seven interceptions and four touchdown passes during the Packers’ four-game skid. The entire offense has struggled, showing its inexperience.
“That’s kind of the makeup of our team right now,” Love said. “We have a lot of young guys, and that’s the plan, to be able to build this thing and go in the right direction. We all knew it was going to take time. It wasn’t going to be perfect right off the bat. Obviously, at this point, it’s still a work in progress. We’re still working and building to that every day, trying to get better as a unit and as a group. Yeah, it’s a little slower to start than we expected.”
Gutekunst had enough faith in Love’s long-term ability to trade up four spots to take the former Utah State quarterback in the first round of the draft when Green Bay still had Rodgers on its roster.
And even amid the offense’s recent stumbles, Gutekunst says Love’s performance still offers at least some reason for encouragement.
“That’s how players learn in this league, is by making mistakes out there on the field and then kind of carrying those scars with them,” Gutekunst said. “I think Jordan’s doing that right now certainly, and I think the whole offense as a whole is doing that. It’ll really be how we take that and how we move forward will determine a lot on all these guys and where we go from there.”
NOTES: Rasul Douglas’ former teammates on the secondary discussed their surprise and disappointment over the trade of the veteran cornerback to Buffalo a day earlier. “Everybody got a reality check,” cornerback Jaire Alexander said. “The best of us can be here one day and gone the next.” Gutekunst said the Packers weren’t looking to move anybody but added that “the offer was kind of too good to pass up.” The Packers dealt Douglas and a fifth-round pick to Buffalo for a third-round pick. … Alexander, LG Elgton Jenkins, RB Aaron Jones, TE Luke Musgrave and OT Yosh Nijman were limited in practice Wednesday.
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