What advice do 2 former Packers quarterbacks have for Jordan Love?

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GREEN BAY — Lynn Dickey and Don Majkowski know what Jordan Love is up against. They’ve both been there themselves.

That was just a looooong time ago.

That’s why, as the two former Green Bay Packers quarterbacks hit the Trappers Turn course in Wisconsin Dells on Thursday during the 26th Annual Tellurian Celebrity Golf Tournament, they couldn’t help but think about love – and what it was. the first time each of them became an NFL starter or became the No. 1 QB for the Packers.

For Majkowski, who played six of his 10 NFL seasons with the Packers (1987-92), those experiences were identical. He started five games for the Packers as a rookie in Virginia’s 10th round in 1987. The Packers went 2-2-1 in those games en route to a 5-9-1 record in an interrupted season by a players’ strike and 20% of the season being played by substitutes.

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Dickey, meanwhile, had spent his first four NFL seasons with the Houston Oilers before arriving in Green Bay in 1976. He had started 10 games for the Oilers (including two as a rookie in 1971) before leaving. being traded to the Packers, and he started 101 games in 10 injury-plagued seasons. The Packers and their consistently disappointing defenses went 43-56-2 in those games.

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Even in Dickey’s best season in 1983, when he threw for a league-high 4,458 yards and the NFL’s best 32 touchdowns (with a league-leading 29 interceptions), the Packers went 8 -8.

“With those interceptions, (then head coach) Bart Starr was like, ‘Hey, don’t worry about throwing the picks. If you don’t throw four touchdowns, we have no prayers to win anyway,” Dickey recalled. “And I went, ‘Well, that’s encouraging.'”

Clearly, the 2023 Packers would like to avoid putting so much pressure on Love, their 2020 first-round pick who is tasked with trailing back-to-back Pro Football Hall of Fame-level quarterbacks in Brett Favre (1992-2007) and Aaron Rodgers (2008-2022).

Love, 24, enters the 2023 season having had just 157 career regular season snaps, most of which came in his only NFL start (a 13-7 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in 2021 when Rodgers was out with COVID-19) and a 10-snap relief appearance in Philadelphia last November (6 of 9 for 113 yards and a touchdown and 146.8 passer rating when he replaced an injured Rodgers in a 40-33 loss to the Eagles).

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Dickey was at that Packers-Chiefs game at Arrowhead Stadium and remembers Love, who was 19 of 34 for 190 yards with a touchdown and an interception (69.5 rating) in a one-on-one matchup with Patrick Mahomes, struggling instead of Rodgers. .

“We were all looking forward to Mahomes and Aaron butting heads in this game, but he didn’t play and that was our first look at Jordan Love. And I thought, ‘Oh. My. My God. The poor young man is struggling – mightily,” Dickey recounted. “I remember those days, being a rookie and being thrown into the fire. It’s not funny. It’s not funny. But he has tools.

“Don and I were talking about the qualities we want to see in a quarterback, and number 1 for me is whether he’s smart or not. I think he’s a pretty smart boy. He has a good arm, we know that. And, it is mobile. He has all the tools. I hope they don’t send it there saying, “Hey, give us 35, 38 attempts per game.” The best thing in the world that can happen to him is an old Lombardi-type team: Hit it, run it, play great defense and kick the ball 25 times a game.

Majkowski, now 59, and Dickey, who turns 74 in October, appeared together on ESPN Wisconsin’s “Wilde & Tausch” on Thursday, and as both recalled the challenges they faced as young starting quarterbacks in an often ruthless league, they offered a wealth of advice for love.

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“I remember my rookie year – clearly, clearly – and learning professional offense took everything I had (mentally),” Majkowski said. “I was just happy to be in the huddle and to be able to call the play right, call the lineup, get the move right, get the count right and know where my first primary receiver was. That was about all I knew of my rookie year. And if the first guy wasn’t open, I threw away. I was coming out of the pocket.

“It took until about my third year. It was then that I felt much more comfortable. My second year, Lindy Infante came in and set up this new offense, which was complex, really difficult. It took us a whole year as a team to figure out what was going on. But by my third year, the team had a much better understanding of what was going on, which made my job much easier, and I was much more relaxed and finally had a good idea of ​​what was going on. And it happened. »

That third year was 1989, when Majkowski led the NFL in completions (353), attempts (599) and passing yards (4,318) and finished second in AP NFL MVP voting against quarterback. of the San Francisco 49ers Joe Montana – even though the Packers went 10-6 and didn’t make the playoffs.

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“He’s not going to fill Aaron Rodgers’ shoes. And if I was Matt LaFleur, I’d say to him, ‘Don’t even try to do that,'” former Packers quarterback Lynn Dickey told About Jordan Love.


Dickey and Majkowski acknowledged Love’s other challenge will be how to lead a young team largely devoid of veterans. While the 39-year-old Rodgers had a well-established style of leadership — one that perhaps could have benefited from some tweaking last year with so many rookie receivers on the roster — Love needs to develop his own style and be ready to be the bad guy, as Rodgers often was when established standards weren’t met

“I think it must be your personality. And I guess most of my guys thought I was a jerk,” Dickey said with a laugh. “I’m going to demand that you know what you’re supposed to do. And I’ve studied enough to know everyone’s work.

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“Your personality will come out. It has to. And I hope he doesn’t try to be someone else. Just be Jordan Love.

Said Majkowski: “You can’t be someone else. Your teammates will see through this. I came to Green Bay as a freshman; Lynn arrived as a veteran. But my rookie year, I was really aware of being myself. And then you gain respect from your teammates and you develop relationships off the pitch, which was important to me, and Lynn was quite similar. We loved hanging out with the offensive linemen on Thursday nights and having dinner, having beers and really building those relationships. And it goes far. »

In addition to managing relationships, Love also has to manage expectations, Dickey and Majkowski said. Where Rodgers only had to follow one Hall of Fame talent, Love is now following two.

“He just has to be himself, study as hard as he can, know the attack as best he can,” Majkowski said. “He has HUGE shoes to fill. The last 30 years, with Brett and Aaron, I mean, it was one of the best quarterback games in football history.

“Packers fans were extremely spoiled and probably took a bit for granted that the quarterback was always going to play at such a high level. He has a lot to do. I hope he just plays himself and doesn’t try too hard and just be himself and try to convince the fans with what he does and who he is .

Says Dickey: “I would say to him, cliché as it is, ‘Hey, let’s try to be 1-0.’ And then week two, ‘Hey, let’s be 1-0 this week.’ And if you’re good enough, the Ws will accumulate and take care of themselves. But he’s not gonna fill Aaron Rodgers’ shoes. And if I was Matt LaFleur, I’d say to him, “Don’t try don’t even do that.’ We want to focus on everything you can do. Be yourself.'”

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