GREEN BAY, Wis. — Saturday’s preseason opener was supposed to be just the beginning of three weeks filled with an abundance of preseason game snaps for Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love, while Aaron Rodgers watched from the sideline.
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There may not be as many of those snaps for Love now.
While an MRI on Love’s right shoulder came back clean, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Packers coach Matt LaFleur said Sunday that Love’s status for practice this week and for preseason game No. 2 against the New York Jets on Saturday is uncertain.
“I think he’s doing fine,” LaFleur said. “It’s something, though, that is significant enough where he could miss a couple days of practice. We’ll see where he’s at at the end of the week, but we’re going to kind of take it day to day.”
The Jets will be in town for joint practices on Wednesday and Thursday. When asked whether Love could also miss the game against the Jets, LaFleur said, “Potentially, yeah.”
Love said he felt a strain around his right arm and shoulder after a sack-fumble late in the second quarter of the Packers’ preseason opener on Saturday, a 26-7 loss to the Houston Texans at Lambeau Field. He played one more series to close the first half, but every play was a run.
The second-year Packers quarterback was scheduled to play into the third quarter, but LaFleur and the medical staff ended Love’s night at halftime.
Saturday’s game against the Texans marked Love’s first NFL preseason game; the 2020 preseason was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. He last played in a game of any kind at the Senior Bowl on Jan. 25, 2020 — three months before the Packers picked him in the first round as a possible eventual replacement for Rodgers. Love led one scoring drive but managed only one first down in his other six series. In all, he went 12-of-17 for 122 yards, one touchdown and one lost fumble for a 110.4 rating.
Love benefited from Rodgers’ absence throughout the offseason program, but nothing can replicate actual game reps. It’s why general manager Brian Gutekunst said this offseason that “it’s very important for Jordan to get as many live reps.” Love took 28 snaps against the Texans, and if he misses the Jets game, it would leave the Aug. 28 preseason finale at Buffalo as the only other chance for Love to play before the opener.
“He got good work in that first half, we were able to throw the ball a lot because they came up and challenged us with a lot of man coverage,” quarterbacks coach Luke Getsy said Sunday.
Given that the Packers are not planning to play Rodgers in any preseason games this summer and that they have only three quarterbacks on the roster (Kurt Benkert played the second half against the Texans), they may have to sign another quarterback or two this week.
At one point this offseason, they had five quarterbacks on the roster but released Blake Bortles and Jake Dolegala before training camp. Both are available (Dolegala was signed and then released by the New England Patriots early in camp).
LaFleur wouldn’t say whether Bortles or Dolegala would be atop their emergency list but said he and Gutekunst have already discussed options.