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It doesn’t make sense to use Jordan Love like Taysom Hill, but could he still find the field?

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Brett Favre suggested the Packers play Jordan Love and Aaron Rodgers together like the Saints do with Drew Brees and Taysom Hill. That doesn’t make sense, but there’s still a path to Love playing in 2020.

NCAA Football: Senior Bowl
Jordan Love may find his way onto the field whether the Packers like it not.
Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Neither Aaron Rodgers’ contract nor his play may be able to prevent rookie Jordan Love from seeing the field in 2020, but not for the reasons you may think. Love won’t win a training camp battle with the two-time MVP. Matt LaFleur prizes competition, but even if Love were to look otherworldly in camp, the starting job belongs to Rodgers. But could there still be a way to sneak Love on the field? It’s actually much simpler than that, as injury odds say he will get a chance without Green Bay preferring it to happen. Even so, there’s still a chance to dream a little with Love.

We know what it won’t look like. Just listen to ex-Packers star Brett Favre.

“I think there’s ways to incorporate it much like Taysom Hill with the Saints,” Favre told TMZ. “Use him as a halfback, a halfback pass, but occasionally let him run it just to show that you’ll do that. Something like that.”

That’s unlikely to happen for myriad reasons. LaFleur said earlier this offseason he hadn’t had much of a chance to think about creating a package for Love, but even if he had, there’s no intuitive path toward playing him like Hill, a wrecking ball of kinetic energy. Hill is a chaos agent, not to mention the only quarterback on the Saints’ roster last year capable of driving a deep ball down the field.

Love wasn’t a 4.5 speedster with the size of a tight end. He’s not Hill or Josh Allen, someone who can win with his size and speed plus create some trickeration on a reverse pass. Calling a quarterback sweep or running read-option with Love fails to cater to his best attributes, and it takes the ball out of the hands of Rodgers. It’s the proverbial lose-lose.

It doesn’t take much theorizing to figure out why Favre may have come to such a misguided conclusion, but that’s exactly why we ought to ignore his advice. He didn’t watch Jordan Love play and come to the conclusion he’s Taysom Hill. Or if he did ... major yikes, Brett.

More to the point, Love likely will play in 2020, whether the Packers prefer him to or not. It’s possible, and in fact likely, Green Bay will not have to manufacture ways to get their first-round quarterback on the field. He’ll find his way on it through injury. No Cheesehead wants to envision yet another injury from their franchise player, but the odds say Love will be out there at some point for important reps.

Last season, only 13 quarterbacks played all 16 games, with Lamar Jackson, Deshaun Watson and Kirk Cousins sitting Week 17 in bubblewrap moves looking toward the playoffs. In other words, only half of starting quarterbacks in the league played every game their team wanted them to play. Even “star” quarterbacks who get star quarterback treatment miss time; Packers fans don’t need that reminder. Matt Ryan, Patrick Mahomes and Drew Brees all missed games last season due to injury last season with Brees going down over a month and Teddy Bridgewater stepping in nicely.

In 2018, the number only ticked up slightly, with 16 signal callers starting every game and Brees sitting Week 17. Every year, half the league loses its starter for some stretch of time. Odds are Love, whether the Packers like it not, will play this year.

Understanding this precludes Green Bay and LaFleur from having to scheme up ways to get Love on the field. They don’t have to because chances are he’ll play anyway. And they certainly don’t have to use him in a foolish style unbecoming of his talents as Favre foolishly suggests. But what if LaFleur just wants to have a little fun?

In Tennessee two years ago, the Patriots tried to run a reverse pass to Tom Brady on a key third down late in the game, but the turf monster got him. The next possession, LaFleur called the same trick play to Marcus Mariota ... and it worked. It was a troll call against the eventual Super Bowl champions in a game the Titans won.

LaFleur installed a Tyler Ervin package specifically for the Seahawks playoff game, the biggest contest of the season to that point, to create favorable matchups. He’s demonstrated a willingness to try something untested or outside the metaphorical box. Love, even just as a decoy, qualifies.

Rather than have a package for him where he’s getting five snaps a game, similar to what the Ravens did with Lamar Jackson, have five plays total. Just throw him out there randomly one week. Give every opponent one extra thing to think about and then pull out the play you really think is going to work in a high-leverage situation like, say, in San Francisco.

Put Aaron Rodgers in shotgun, use Love in jet motion and use the same fake the Packers utilize all the time at the snap. See if anyone moves. Do the linebackers jump? Does the safety slide slightly? Does anyone think you might actually hand the ball to him? Even if the answer to the last question is, “No,” human nature can take over, especially with something so atypical. If no. 10 jogs onto the field and No. 12 doesn’t come off, the defense’s radar beeps.

And even if it’s unlikely the Packers send the ball that direction, a cornerback probably still has to account for him somehow. You’re accounting a body for a body, so even if Love is a sacrifice to occupy a defender, he’s done his job without ever running downfield.

Maybe they only run it a handful of times all season and never actually hand it to Love. Or maybe, at the right time in a critical moment, the defense sees the play in the first half, reacts exactly as LaFleur wants, the ball finally goes to Love and the trick play is off to the races. They create a chunk play at a critical time. There’s little risk and the reward isn’t that high either, but could be useful in the right situation. At the very least, it would be fun.