Packers GM Brian Gutekunst calls next 10 games 'very important' for QB Jordan Love

The clock appears to be ticking for Jordan Love.

Green Bay Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst spoke with reporters Wednesday. Among the topics discussed was the status of Green Bay's first-year starting quarterback. Gutekunst was first asked about his thoughts on Love's play amid a 2-5 start.

“Little bit up and down like our entire offense," Gutekunst said. "I think it’s been a work in progress for the entire offense. There’s been glimpses, particularly in the second halves, of really good football. But we have not started very well. That group, that unit as a whole has a lot of work to do.”

Gutekunst was then asked if he thinks it will take longer than this season to determine if Love is Green Bay's quarterback moving forward.

“I hope not," Gutekunst said. "I think we’ve got 10 games left. It’s gonna be a very important 10 games. I think he’s done a lot of really good things. I really like the way he’s responded to adversity, how he’s led the team."

Pressure is mounting for Jordan Love to perform. (AP Photo/Matt Ludtke)
Pressure is mounting for Jordan Love to perform. (AP Photo/Matt Ludtke)

While he's a first-year starter, Love is not a rookie. The 2020 first-round draft pick is in his fourth season with the Packers and the first season of the Aaron Rodgers succession plan. That plan has so far not come to fruition.

With Love at quarterback, Green Bay's offense ranks 25th in yards (287) and 21st in passing yards per game (198.6). The Packers rank 21st in the NFL with 18.9 points per game. Love's completing 57.7% of his passes for 5.8 yards per attempt and 213.1 yards per game with 11 touchdowns and eight interceptions.

Love's completion percentage ranks 30th in the NFL among quarterbacks who have started at least three games. His eight interceptions are tied for the second-most in the league, trailing only recently benched Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

Love's also working with one of the youngest offenses in the NFL. It's a group that frequently makes mistakes that are beyond his control. The Packers have the seventh-highest rate of dropped passes in the NFL. Green Bay's 7.4 penalties per game are the most in the league.

Gutekunst was asked about the challenge of evaluating Love amid mistakes made by his teammates.

“It’s not just evaluating the quarterback, but everything, all the players," Gutekunst continued. "When the group as a whole is not functioning the way it should function, it’s hard to evaluate anybody.

"At the same time, it’s on us to get that right so we can move forward and evaluate the guys who we have in that room. When we’re not clicking, it’s tough to evaluate anything."

Those mistakes reflect more on Gutekunst's construction and head coach Matt LaFleur's management of the team than anything tied to Love. Regardless, Love will be under pressure for the rest of the season to prove that he's Green Bay's quarterback of the future.

When pressed on exactly what he wants to see from Love, Gutekunst deferred to Green Bay's Week 9 game against the Los Angeles Rams.

“There will be time for that," Gutekunst said. "I think right now we’re worried about beating the Rams. That’s the most important thing. We have a lot of faith in Jordan. We’ve got to get the offense playing better, and when that does, those things will take care of themselves."

The Packers face some significant decisions this offseason. Love doesn't have a long-term deal. He signed a one-year extension in May through the 2024 season. Next year's is a draft with enticing quarterback talent. At this rate, the Packers project to have a premium pick in the first round.

Gutekunst likely wants nothing more than for Love to prove over the next 10 games that he's worth signing to a long-term extension. But if that doesn't happen, the Packers could arrive at a crossroads sooner than they anticipated.