Packers QB Jordan Love is rarely rattled — but he’s never faced anything like this rivalry

Packers running back Aaron Jones can’t figure out his new starting quarterback. Jordan Love is always so eerily calm.

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Packers quarterback Jordan Love has made one career start.

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GREEN BAY, Wis. — Packers running back Aaron Jones can’t figure out his new starting quarterback.

Jordan Love is always so eerily calm.

“He doesn’t get rattled, he doesn’t get shook, he’s always poised,” Jones said Wednesday. “I’m like, ‘What gets up under his skin?’ I can’t make sense of it.”

Jones asked Packers assistant quarterbacks coach Connor Lewis what bothers Love. Lewis didn’t know either. In fact, Packers coaches had been trying to rattle Love, just to see how he reacted, and were having a hard time doing it.

“Although he may be a little nervous, he’s calm, cool and collected,” Jones said. “He’s more than ready. And we’re ready to help him.”

He’ll need it. Love, who was drafted in 2020, will make just his second career start Sunday.

In the season opener.

Against the rival Bears.

At Soldier Field.

This ain’t Utah State, a preseason game or an NFL blowout. Entering Sunday, his only regular-season start has been a 13-7 loss to the Chiefs after Aaron Rodgers contracted COVID-19 in 2021.

Three of the four games in which Love came off the bench last year were blowouts in which a team won by 16 or more. In 2021, three of his five games off the bench ended with differentials of 18, 27 and 35 points.

”It’s always exciting to open the season and get the first game rolling,” Love said. “For an NFC opponent, a rivalry game, it’ll be very exciting, playing there in their stadium. I’m sure there will be a packed house. Everybody will be excited for Week 1. Put on a show.”

Love represents the blissful unknown for the Bears after 31 seasons of facing future Pro Football Hall of Famers Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers. Love replaced the latter this offseason when Rodgers successfully forced a trade to the Jets.

“It’s been a waiting game,” Love said. “I’ve been waiting this whole time to be able to get out there and show what I can do.”

He’s an unknown for the Packers, too. Nothing he’s done in his NFL career has truly prepared him for Sunday.

“It just has a playoff-like feel in Week 1 because everybody’s geared up,” said Packers coach Matt LaFleur, whose NFL debut was a season-opening win at Soldier Field in 2019. “The fans are geared up. Our players are geared up. Everybody’s ready to roll and kick off the season.”

Should Love embrace the rivalry, then? Or ignore it?

“I think you’ve got to do both,” he said. “You have to embrace it. But at the same time, you’ve got to block it out and really focus on what you need to do down in and down out. And not only that, but have the mindset that whether something good or bad happens — it’s that next-play mindset.”

Even when the opposing quarterback is his friend. Love and Justin Fields spend time together, usually when brought together by their mutual agent. The two haven’t spoken this week — and probably won’t until game day. But they are, at least for now, the faces of the NFL’s most storied rivalry.

“I don’t put too much thought into that whole thing,” Love said. “I let everybody else do that. I think it’s cool.”

Not that the rivalry is contrived.

“Everybody’s trying to beat the Bears,” Love said. “That’s the topic.”

The 24-year-old learned about the rivalry at the feet of Rodgers, who went 25-5 against the Bears and famously told the Soldier Field faithful that he owned them.

“That’s just Aaron being Aaron — not much I can say about that … ” Love said. “You kinda got a feel for how he spoke about it, the way he played in those games.”

Rodgers is the main reason why LaFleur is undefeated in his eight games against the Bears. And why the Packers have won 12 of their last 13 games at Soldier Field. And, with help from Favre, why they’ve won all but five of their last 29 games on the Lakefront.

Because of Rodgers, the Packers have blown past the Bears as a franchise. They now lead the all-time series. 104-94-6.

When Jones said he has as much confidence in Love as he did Rodgers — “Jordan is our leader,” he said — the running back was probably being polite. But he was serious about Love being unflappable.

That comes naturally, Love said.

“Are you going to talk back? Are you going to let it get in your head?” Love said. “Or are you just going to stay composed, let your play do the talking? That’s what I like to do. ...

“Guys are always talking. It’s football. Other teams are going to talk. You’ve just got to do your best not to let them get in your head.”

Love will have a better sense of that — and of the Bears rivalry — after he gets indoctrinated Sunday.

“We’re all ready for the game, we’re excited for it,” he said. “And we’re looking to come away with a [win]. We’ll celebrate after, I guess.”

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