Cory's Corner: Insurance Is No Longer Needed

Eric Stokes has earned the right to start — simply because he's better. 

He’s been labeled as a pariah. When something goes wrong on the Packers defense, who’s the first person that is usually blamed?

None other than Kevin King.

Walk into any supper club, barber shop or grocery store in the past few years after a Packers loss and it won't take long for King’s name to pop into the conversation. 

The fifth year pro is stuck between a rock and a hard place. The cornerback has started 38 games in his career — including two this season — but you have to wonder if his days as a starting cornerback are coming to an end. 

Coming into this season, the Packers didn’t put a lot of faith in King by only giving the 26-year-old a one-year deal. Green Bay doubled down on that philosophy by drafting Georgia standout corner Eric Stokes 29th overall in the 2021 NFL Draft.

So where do the Packers go from here? King still looks lost in coverage at times, his tackling needs a once-over and his pass rushing ability has gone down since 2019. 

As if King didn’t need more things going against him, he is also in concussion protocol. The weird thing about that is, nobody knows when or how King sustained a concussion. In fact, nobody would’ve known unless King told the coaches at the team hotel on Sunday. 

The Packers were looking for a reason. It just so happened that an opportunity literally just fell into their lap. 

The Packers drafted Stokes knowing that he would eventually be the starter alongside shutdown corner Jaire Alexander. King got the start to open the season because he had the experience and the coaches felt he could learn how fast the NFL game was by soaking it in.

But the time has come. 

Stokes shouldn’t just be a starting cornerback, he needs to be. And that’s not a knee-jerk reaction because of what happened at the end of the first half of last year’s NFC title game. It’s a compilation of sloppy play that really hasn’t shown any slivers of daylight. 

The obvious question is, won’t Stokes make mistakes? He sure will. And he already has. But he really held his own in a big road game against one of the top NFC teams. He showed off his SEC pedigree and he showed that he truly does belong in the NFL. 

For those that were surprised that Stokes was taken first by the Packers this past spring, you can look to that 49ers game as why. He was a solid defender, despite getting ticketed for two bogus pass interference penalties. He only allowed three receptions on 10 targets. And the former Bulldog was a bulldog when it came to tackling.

“I thought he competed and did a really nice job,” said Packers coach Matt LaFleur. “I know he got dinged for the two PIs. You know, I’ll let you use your own judgment and write what you want to on those. But, yeah, I thought he did an outstanding job.”

Those are big words coming from the coach that has amassed a 28-7 regular season record since arriving in Green Bay in 2019. 

King was kept to be an insurance policy. But now that the insurance is no longer needed, it’s time for the Packers to cash in on their premium. 

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Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on "Clubhouse Live" and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He recently earned his Masters degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter: @Coryjennerjohn

5 points

Comments (25)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
Johnblood27's picture

October 02, 2021 at 06:58 am

... and take Dean Lowrey with you....

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Lphill's picture

October 02, 2021 at 07:52 am

Kevin King is God awful!

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nygary's picture

October 02, 2021 at 07:56 am

With Z Smith having back surgery. The pack needs to make a deal before the trade deadline for front 7 help. Please let it be a D linemen.

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PatrickGB's picture

October 02, 2021 at 02:15 pm

For whom? For how much? What do we have to trade? How much can we afford? Sure, it would be nice but I can’t see it happen. Campbell was a steal but it’s really rare to find guys like that in season. I don’t know, maybe somebody wants King or one of our lower draft picks? But, sadly, I doubt it.

2 points
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stockholder's picture

October 02, 2021 at 08:04 am

Wrong! The packers always "Need" insurance policies! Is the waiver wire are New source? Seems like that is the case now. The packers have had too many guys come in and go out. If it isn't the Cbs, it's the safeties. Looks can be deceiving. And so can the value of King. But that isn't part of your blame game. I believe king still has the tools. Like most veterans, sometimes a change in position, scenery, or atmosphere helps. And the Fire burns again. With King it seems like it's Murphys Law now. And with it comes the word Jinx. And a few others. But OK- If Stokes makes the team better, get him out there. Got it. But why trash King ? This has to be about the Defense getting better. Don't just replace King, when others should have been replaced first.

-3 points
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canadapacker's picture

October 02, 2021 at 08:54 am

I totally agree with you Stockholder - he has been played out of position and that is when he gets beaten so bad he looks foolish. Play him at the line of scrimmage - play him inside - play him with different responsibilities - even as some sort of hybrid inside linebacker. Put him on tight ends and backs out of the backfield etc. He does tackle ( which is a rarity with guys lie Summer etc) and he can run. But I think that I would rather have him on the 53 is some sort of position and dumping him would be foolish.

2 points
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Rossonero's picture

October 02, 2021 at 08:36 am

I will never understand why Ted passed on TJ Watt -- maybe it was the knee surgeries that scared him off, but beyond that, it was a real head scratcher. This is King's last season in GB, he'll get picked up elsewhere, and I'd be completely fine with that. All I ask is that he doesn't get roasted again in the playoffs like he did vs. the Bucs.

6 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

October 02, 2021 at 01:28 pm

Cut him loose by the trade deadline.

-1 points
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TheBigCheeze's picture

October 02, 2021 at 08:46 am

BRING BACK CLAY MATTHEWS!!!!!

-8 points
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Since'61's picture

October 02, 2021 at 09:26 am

UMM NO! Thanks, Since '61

3 points
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TheBigCheeze's picture

October 02, 2021 at 10:32 am

UM ....YES ....🧀🧀🧀

-5 points
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13TimeChamps's picture

October 02, 2021 at 10:52 am

I'm assuming you're joking. There's a reason the other 31 teams haven't signed him, don't you think?

6 points
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PatrickGB's picture

October 02, 2021 at 02:19 pm

At first I laughed. Then I went hummm, maybe….? Then I laughed again.

2 points
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Since'61's picture

October 02, 2021 at 09:25 am

Stokes is off to an excellent start. He has plenty of upside and will hopefully evolve into a "shutdown" or close to "shutdown" corner like Alexander. Match them with a consistently solid pass rush and strong DL and our defense can reach the point where they keep games close when the offense falters. GPG!
Thanks, Since '61

7 points
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CheesyTex's picture

October 02, 2021 at 11:13 am

So far so good with Stokes.

As to a strong DL, it's going to take a miracle to fix that this year but it sure looks like a top priority for next year.

With the salary cap issues, Rodgers likely gone, Z likely gone, Alexander a must sign, etc.,, and likely drafting near the end of each round again, Gute probably faces the toughest task of any NFL GM this offseason. Nevertheless, here's hoping he can land an anchor for the DL, extend Alexander, and "...our defense can reach the point where they keep games close when the offense falters."

3 points
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TarynsEyes's picture

October 02, 2021 at 11:03 am

"ticketed for two bogus pass interference penalties."

Cory, you were doing fine until this nugget. Why is every flag against GB defenders bogus? The Packers get more than their share of bogus flags going their way.

-5 points
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CheesyTex's picture

October 02, 2021 at 11:23 am

Taryn, disagree that "The Packers get MORE than their share of bogus flags going their way." Any stats to back that up?

Maybe Cory should have said "ticky-tack flags" rather than "bogus flags", as those calls were definitely of the ticky-tack variety.

4 points
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TarynsEyes's picture

October 02, 2021 at 11:43 am

When the analytics department creates such a category I'll get it to you asap but until then every flag is bogus to the fans especially when it goes against them, and are blind and in denial of those against their own. Ticky tack or any other description doesn't change the overall sentiment or how the fan believes the flag called against their team. The Packers play a clean game every week on both sides of the ball, right?

-3 points
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bjkdad44's picture

October 03, 2021 at 12:22 am

Because… they were?!?!

3 points
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porupack's picture

October 03, 2021 at 05:08 am

Because if Dallas still claims to be America's team and we know Green Bay is God's team, then those flags were simply bogus.

1 points
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MarkinMadison's picture

October 02, 2021 at 11:30 am

King is still better in the slot than Sullivan, and slot is basically a starting position in today's NFL. Also, God forbid Alexander (or Stokes) get hurt, but if they do, who you putting out there? Sullivan? I don't think so.

6 points
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Gman1976's picture

October 02, 2021 at 04:17 pm

Sometimes a player has “it;” and you can tell that the player is going to be special. “It” isn’t just confidence, speed, or skill, but can be seen in the fact that the player is in on most every play that comes his way, that he isn’t whining when he gets beat, that you see a determination to win the next play, and that you see growth and improvement that could turn out to be dominance. Stokes has “it” just like Jaire. King doesn’t have “it” (due to injuries or whatever).

0 points
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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

October 03, 2021 at 10:48 am

Speed doesn't make a player but for years the Packers defensive backfield was really slow. Now with Jaire, Savage, and Stokes they have real speed and can match up against any offense. Speed makes up for a lot of deficiencies.

Now they need that stud ILB with speed to take the defense to another level.

1 points
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ricky's picture

October 03, 2021 at 06:27 pm

Well, Jaire just got carted off the field with an apparent shoulder injury. So, maybe, as others have suggested, that in a game as tough and unpredictable as football, having as many guys as possible who can play is always a good thing. Also, this is a 17 game season, plus playoffs. No reason to believe you're set this early in the season.

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Rhiller's picture

October 04, 2021 at 09:59 am

Now that Alexander is hurt and likely to go on short term IR get ready for King and Stokes to be the starting corners.

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