NFL: The Green Bay Packers solved their quarterback controversy early in the offseason. They traded away four-time MVP and future Hall of Famer Aaron Rodgers to the New York Jets. The move, of course, cleared the way for 2020 first round NFL Draft pick Jordan Love to become the new starting quarterback in Green Bay.
Love was always going to be the starter in 2023; there was no debate about that. What was uncertain, though, was who would be his backup quarterback? On Thursday, head coach Matt LaFleur revealed that fifth round pick Sean Clifford from Penn State would be the Packers’ number two quarterback.
Sean Clifford is officially the #2 qb per MLF. Not unexpected, but now official.
— Andy Herman (@AndyHermanNFL) August 24, 2023
Clifford has played well this preseason and is the team’s fourth-highest graded offensive player per PFF. He has a 79.7 overall grade, trailing only Emanuel Wilson (90.5), Romeo Doubs (89.9), and Jordan Love (87.1). Clifford has a quarterback rating of 84.2 and has thrown for 345 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions while completing over 73% of his passes.
The Green Bay Packers Selection of Sean Clifford as Jordan Love’s Backup Makes Sense (NFL)
Despite many fans and NFL analysts putting forth the belief that the Packers should sign a veteran quarterback to be Love’s backup, Green Bay is sticking with their rookie. Not only has be played well in training camp and in preseason games, but this is the same formula the Packers followed when Rodgers became the starter back in 2008.
That offseason, the Packers drafted not one, but two quarterbacks in the draft. Everyone presumed second round pick Brian Brohm would be the backup. However, Brohm played horribly in camp and preseason and it was seventh round pick Matt Flynn who won the job.
The funny thing, though, about Clifford’s selection as the number two quarterback is that LaFleur told the media before he told Clifford himself. The media then broke the news to Clifford and caught his reaction on camera:
Here was Sean Clifford’s reaction in the locker room when @ByRyanWood broke it to him that Matt LaFleur said today that Clifford would be the #Packers backup quarterback this season. pic.twitter.com/av4dtA2mop
— Kyle Malzhan (@KyleMalzhan) August 24, 2023
Like Love, Clifford goes into every practice and every game like he is the starter. That was Love’s approach every day when he sat behind Rodgers. It sounds like the Packers have another quarterback who might end up starting in the NFL someday.
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