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McCarthy: King "Earned the Opportunity to Potentially Play More"

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McCarthy: King "Earned the Opportunity to Potentially Play More"

After a strong night in his first extensive audition, Kevin King may finally be showing why the Packers drafted him with their first pick back at 33rd overall back in April.

He saw only six reps last week against the Seattle Seahawks, and not that the Packers necessarily needed him a week ago, it proved to be a different story Sunday night in the inaugural game at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

They opened up with 2015 first-round pick Damarious Randall assigned to Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones, which proved to be an immediate mistake from the start. Jones tallied 53 yards from two catches on the opening drive, helping the Falcons gain an early 7-0 lead. Outside of lining up across him again in the second quarter before handing him off to fellow 2015 draft pick Quinten Rollins mid-route, that was a majority of the action Randall saw versus Jones.

The Packers then went with veteran cornerback Davon House on Jones, where House flourished in the 2014 meeting at Lambeau Field. Jones couldn't find a rhythm in the 21 snaps House was assigned to him. However, Jones had his way with whoever in the Packers secondary was lined up across from him Sunday night.

That was until King stepped in and shadowed Jones for a majority of the game, beginning in the second quarter.

Jones played 46 total defensive snaps, and of the 32 he played in coverage, he didn't allow a single reception according to Pro Football Focus. He was targeted four times in those 32 reps.

PFF gave King the highest grade on the Packers and the second-highest grade from either team. Only Falcons center Alex Mack's 92.1 grade surpassed King's 85.4. A rightfully earned accolade that may very well do wonders for King's confidence moving forward.

"Kevin did a lot of good things," head coach Mike McCarthy said of the former Washington Husky. "I thought he did good in his matchup opportunities. He's a young man that's had some injury things he fought through in training camp, and he's definitely earned the opportunity to potentially play more."

If more playing time is in King's future, the trend of gradually increasing snap counts over the last two games would be a foretelling sign. The Packers may even assign him to Cincinnati wide receiver A.J. Green on Sunday when the Bengals visit Green Bay. 

He could be a significant factor in whether or not the Packers secondary regroups after their week two loss. With an impressive wingspan and height topping out at 6-3, it's hard not to see somewhat of a glimmer of hope in King.

It comes down to how defensive coordinator Dom Capers fits King into the scheme. The proper matchup is going to factor in where King lines up, but with his measurables, King becomes pluggable almost anywhere on the field for the Packers defense.

"I thought Kevin did a good job," Capers said. "He continues to grow and we're encouraged with his progress. He competes well, you saw him break up a couple balls on crossing routes. He's not afraid to get up and challenge receivers. I like his style of play.

"You want to be able to put him out there and have him have success. I think with each step, you'll see him get more reps as we go along."


Zachary Jacobson is a staff writer/reporter for Cheesehead TV and a contributor/analyst for the Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter via @ZachAJacobson or contacted through email at [email protected].

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (17) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Since '61's picture

MM and Capers please start King at CB for the rest of the season. I would rather take my chances with him while he gains real experience than continue to play Randall and Rollins and have them get beat.
I wanted King to start at CB right out of camp. If we let him play he can be our #1 CB by the end of season. He may already be our #1 CB so let him play. If House actually joins the team we can still have a formidable CB pair on the boundary.
It's only week 2, no time to panic, just let the best players play. Get healthy guys.
While I'm at it get Monty more involved when our offense is on the field.
Thanks, Since '61

flackcatcher's picture

Curse of the CBA Since'61. Packers have no choice but to play vanilla while they bring the FA and rookies like Jones and king into the system. In today's NFL that takes until mid season(minus the injuries that retard growth). Plus teams like New England and Green Bay hide their offensive and defensive packages till mid season. But to honest, I think it's because their teams personal isn't set till after the mid point.

Turophile's picture

Zachary "After a strong night in his first extensive audition, Kevin King may finally be showing why the Packers drafted him with their first pick back at 33rd overall back in April".

May finally be showing........... That seems a rather impatient phrasing. We have just witnessed game 2 of his rookie season.

When he was drafted, the word on the web was that he needed tech work (especially tackling), but had tremendous height for how athletic he was. Corners that are 6'3" (with long arms) don't often have the loose hips he has.

He had been a college safety in 2014 and 15, then a corner in 16. If you were expecting a finished product, I can only ask "Why" ?

If anything, I'd say he is ahead of the curve I projected for him. I thought he'd come on late in the season, much like Kenny Clark last year.

mrj007's picture

Clearly McCarthy is obviously definitely going to potentially start king, maybe. I admire the conviction behind McCarthy's vague statements about his decisiveness to make a non-commital statement about nothing. He should be a politician...

flackcatcher's picture

AH YES The modern day professional football coach. At this rate I wouldn't be surprised if Mike shows up wearing a Hoodie.....

Somedumbname's picture

I don't aprove of political jokes... I've seen too many of them get elected.

croatpackfan's picture

Well, Kevin might be the 1st pick Packer Nation waited so long for it.

Lets all hope his growth will continue fast and he will be already ready for the biggest challanges.

Lets hope that we will start talking about "King land" (I do not like the idea of island - it is to limiting!) before the mid season.

Nick Perry's picture

Hey whatever keeps Randall off the field I'm all for. King will get better and like Since '61 said, "Please start him for the rest of the season".
The best thing the Packers could do for King and the Defense is to put him and KEEP him on the field.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

I've never seen a team play dime defense when the opponent has a 3rd and goal from the one yard line and has 1 RB, 1 FB, and a TE on the field. But we did.

flackcatcher's picture

Nickel is their base package. But the packers ran out of healthy DL to plug in by late in the third quarter. No choice but to play their big dime package. Welcome to the new NFL.

Lphill's picture

Start King and bring in Revis . Someone is going to .

EdsLaces's picture

With the injuries they probably won't have a choice ....duh?

RCPackerFan's picture

King may already be our best CB on the roster.

One thing I loved seeing was him coming up and wrapping up on tackles. One of the most frustrating things with Randall and Rollins is they don't wrap up enough. Rollins is a good tackler but gets sloppy and tends to throw his body at the ball carriers feet. Randall seems like he isn't strong enough to wrap guys up and tackle them.

If King can lock down his receivers that would help the defense out tremendously. It will be interesting to see this week if and how much he lines up against AJ Green, and if he does can he slow him down. Green is one of the top WR's in the league. If he can slow him down that would bode very well for us.

Packer Fan's picture

King needs to start/play so he can develop throughout the year. Randall will be serviceable for some games. But by playoff time, King needs to be playing.

Also Jones needs to be on the field too. To get more experience. I hope the Pack play him in the slot. His speed will make up for his size. And we need his tackling ability and demeanor playing

Tundraboy's picture

Baptism by fire, I always say! What better way to learn and get up to game speed.. Well, when placed in the most challenging situations he showed he can play. Not playing him would just be stupid. No pass rush really, Daniels out Julio and Sanu, in Atlanta, New stadium, opening game spotlight. What more could you want or expect and he did ok I think. Lol. And he can tackle. For that alone he has to start. Loved that he didn't wait for the receiver to turn up field. Stopped him when we had to have a stop. Haven't seen that enough. Sure looks to me that he loves to make plays. Now play Jones too.

HankScorpio's picture

King is blessed with two things that are extremely helpful to playing CB that cannot be taught---height and speed. Given the advantage of those physical gifts, I'd like to see him be taught everything else as quickly as possible. The worst that can happen is he gets beat because he doesn't know the correct technique or assignment. Those kinds of mistakes are the best teachers. Since the guys that are playing are already getting beat, I don't see where the Packers would be losing ground.

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

It's funny how one week changes things.

Last week, TJ Watt had 2 sacks and a pick, while King languished on the bench--and Packernation wondered what could have been.

Now, Watt is injured, King had a strong 2nd game, and Biegel is one week closer to returning.

Personally, I think Watt's a Pro Bowler and would have been a great pick. But King and Biegel should work out well, too.

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