The Green Bay Packers are used to winning.
In the last 20 years, the Packers have won the NFC North 12 times. In fact, they wore the crown in three of the last four seasons, with last year being the outlier. It was the first time in head coach Matt LaFleur’s tenure the Packers didn’t win the division. It was also the first time they not only didn’t reach 13 wins but finished with a sub-.500 record.
That last happened in 2018, and then-head coach Mike McCarthy was fired.
Losing isn’t tolerated in Title Town.
That’s why even with a new face under center in Jordan Love, Green Bay will likely be just fine. There’s a case to be made that in as wide-open a division as the NFC North is, they could once again reclaim the top spot.
Love isn’t any ordinary first-time starter. He’s been in the league since 2020 when Green Bay traded up to draft him. It’s a strategy they’ve deployed before: draft your current quarterback’s replacement well before he’s done.
True to form, Love sat… and sat… and sat again, learning from one of the league’s best quarterbacks as he developed behind the scenes. Love may have just one start under his belt, but he’s far from a rookie. He’ll enter his first season as the starter more prepared than most when they get their show.
“I think you have to be mindful and aware of where you are but at the same time, you can put them in those situations — it’s not like he’s a true rookie,” said LaFleur at the start of OTAs. “He’s seen a decent amount, especially being able to get the majority of the snaps this time of year the last couple of years.
“We’re not necessarily coddling him in any sense of the word. We’re installing our plays and whatever the defense presents, I mean, he’s got to react. If it gets out of had one way or another then you can adjust, but I think he’s done a pretty good job up to this point.”
The Packers took Love for a reason all those years ago. This strategy has worked for them before. They wanted to move on from Aaron Rodgers. Green Bay’s front office wouldn’t have pushed to do so if they didn’t wholeheartedly believe in the Love era.
“There are obviously certain physical traits and intelligence and all kinds of different things these guys have to have to compete in this league at a high level, but their willingness to sacrifice and work day in and day out, not just quarterbacks but for all players, is usually the determining factor if they have all those other things,” said general manager Brian Gutekunst at the NFL Combine this year.
According to Gutekunst, Love “absolutely” has all of that.