PHOENIX -- Aaron Rodgers, he is not. And Green Bay Packers coach Matt LaFleur did his best to remind everyone of that when it comes to Rodgers' replacement, Jordan Love.
Let the transition from Rodgers to Love begin, but LaFleur did so with toned-down expectations for the 2020 first-round pick, who has waited three years to get his shot.
"Certainly, I think we're fooling ourselves if we think he's going to go out there and perform at a level to the likes of an Aaron Rodgers," LaFleur said Tuesday at the NFL's annual meeting. "This guy is a once-in-a-lifetime generational talent, and I don't think it necessarily started that way when he first started. But he progressed into that.
"It's going to be a progression."
While general manager Brian Gutekunst still must finalize Rodgers' trade to the New York Jets, LaFleur has turned his attention to Love.
"It's going to be a different role for him, certainly, and I think we all have to temper our expectations for him," LaFleur said. "It's different when you're going into a game vs. when you're starting a game. It's going to be a process, but it's going to be exciting for him, for us. I don't think any quarterback can truly do it on their own in this league. It's going to be everybody rallying around him and trying to play at their best ability so that he can go out there and perform as good as he possibly can."
Love, with one career NFL start (at Kansas City in 2021) and two games with extensive replacement time (in the 2021 season finale and in last season's fourth quarter against the Eagles in late November), will need as much work as possible between now and Week 1.
That's why LaFleur is pushing for joint practices with another team in training camp this summer and a revamped plan for preseason games, which under Rodgers rarely included any exhibition action for the starting quarterback.
Gutekunst insisted earlier this offseason that Love was "absolutely" ready to become a starter and reiterated that Monday.
"I've mentioned it before," Gutekunst said, "but it's just time for him to play."
It also might finally allow LaFleur to run his version of the offense -- something that never quite happened under Rodgers with his well-known penchant for going off script and his distaste for the pre-snap motion that LaFleur believes in.
"I've been hearing that a lot," LaFleur said with a chuckle.
"The way I always view it, it's our offense," he added. "Obviously, you want to do whatever accentuates your players' abilities, whether it's the quarterback, receivers, whoever it may be."
A day after Gutekunst said Rodgers ghosted him this offseason, LaFleur deflected most questions about Rodgers' eventual departure.
"I've got nothing but love and appreciation for what Aaron has done for so many in our organization," LaFleur said. "Obviously have experienced a lot of great times together, won a lot of football games together. Ultimately, didn't bring home a Super Bowl, which will always be disappointing. He's done so much for myself, my family, our coaches' families, so many people within the organization, other players. A lot of people have been rewarded, quite frankly, because of his ability to go out there and play, and play at such a high level. I'm just going to leave it at that."