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Packers Need to Roll With Kevin King, Josh Jones

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Packers Need to Roll With Kevin King, Josh Jones

The Green Bay Packers suffered some tough losses and tough breaks in last week’s 34-23 loss to the Atlanta Falcons, but the biggest positive coming out of it, was the play of rookies Kevin King and Josh Jones.

Thrust into action in part because of injury and ineffectiveness, the two rookies acquitted themselves well and showed why the organization invested two second-round picks in them.

King got beat a few times sure, that was bound to happen when he was covering Julio Jones, but he also made some very nice plays, including a pass breakup in the end zone on a pass intended for Jones on his first series.

King may be a rookie, but at 6-3, 200 pounds, he has attributes that no one else in the secondary has. The saying goes that you can’t teach size, well you can’t teach speed either, and he has that too.

Following his impressive performance, head coach Mike McCarthy said that King had earned more playing time this week against the Bengals. As long as “more playing time” means starting, then McCarthy is on the money.

With one performance, King went from being the Packers future, to their present. He, along with Jones, are the best hope of improving a secondary that still seemed a step slow against Atlanta, so now is the time to insert both into the lineup, full time (as much as possible). 

I love Kentrell Brice. He’s been a favorite of mine since joining the roster. It wasn’t a surprise to see him make the 53-man roster last fall, but he’s a role player and simply put, he’s just not as good as Jones. It might seem early to make that declaration, but Jones jumps off the screen at me in a way Brice simply never has. 

At 5-11, 201 pounds, the second-year safety explodes into offensive players like a missile. His tackling skills are solid, but in coverage he seems to lack instincts. He also just doesn’t possess the size and length of Jones (6-2, 220).

When Brice went out with an injury against the Falcons, the rookie from NC State got the call in the Nitro package, and just looked like he belonged. Some players do, some players don’t and Jones definitely does.

Whether it’s as the deep safety or even playing in Morgan Burnett’s spot, while allowing him to go back to his original safety position, Jones needs to be on the field. Heck, even if he took Joe Thomas spot, the defense would be better off.

Seriously, Clay Matthews, Mike Daniels, Nick Perry, Kenny Clark, Jones, Burnett, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, King, Brice and a combo of Damarious Randall, Quinten Rollins or Davon House might be the Packers best defensive grouping. Yes, that would be seven defensive backs.

As long as Jones and Burnett could handle playing inside, the speed and athleticism on the field would be insane. 

Jones can hit, and he can run sideline to sideline, probably as well as anyone on the roster outside of Clinton-Dix. King also brings a similar skill set. While he did a nice job in coverage, the two tackles he made were also eye-opening.

For some reason, people tend to forget that tackling is a pretty important part of defense in the NFL and with King and Jones in the lineup, Green Bay is a better tackling team, period. As much as Jones killed the Packers, a lot of what he and the Falcons have done is burn Green Bay with YAC (yards after catch). And one way to stop that, is by tackling better. 

It sounds easy, but the best solutions usually are. 

There will certainly be bumps in the road if the Packers do insert both rookies into the lineup, but by season’s end, the investment will be well worth it.

If Green Bay learned anything last Sunday in Atlanta, the lesson should be that the defense still needs major improvements and the only way it gets it, is with the further development of King and Jones.

Rollins and Randall are who they are. Same with House. They are decent players, but there isn’t a single special thing about them. King is different. He has a unique skill set and it’s about time the Packers put it to good use.

King and Jones won’t solve all the Packers’ defensive problems. But what they can do, is close the gap athletically with teams like Atlanta. And if given the chance to play now, when January and the playoffs roll around, their impact, will have a chance to be much, much greater.



Chris is a sports journalist from Montana and has been blogging about the Packers since 2011. Chris has been a staff writer for CheeseheadTV since 2017 and looks forward to the day when Aaron Rodgers wins his second Super Bowl. Follow him @thepackersguru

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (34) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

KenEllis's picture

"Rollins and Randall are who they are.... They are decent players, but there isn’t a single special thing about them."

Au contraire, Randall and Rollins are TT's very own 1st and 2nd round picks from 2015.

In Green Bay, that makes them extra special and means they will continue to get playing time despite their ineptitude on the field.

al bundy's picture

Its sad that your closer to correct than wrong.

lou's picture

Agree Ken, the cost to draft them and expect them to develop quickly spurred the decisions to let Heyward go to the Chargers for $5M annually and Hyde to Buffalo for $6M annually. Many were surprised when no attempt was made to keep them but it shows that other NFL teams know the value of DB's that were proven starters. By the way, I always liked the way Ken Ellis played CB and returned punts, a really under rated player.

Steve Cheez's picture

Part of the trade for Lynn Dickey, IIRC

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

It's so sad that after investing a gazillion high picks in this defense, we're desperate for 2 rookies to develop quickly because our defense lacks athleticism.

No excuses, Ted. No excuses.

Archie's picture

Great post - it says it all!

Bearmeat's picture

At this point, I'm not sure it does lack athleticism. Ted has been bad on defense, no doubt. But you can't say that J Jones, King, Clark, Daniels, Perry, HHCD, House, and yes, even CM3 aren't excellent athletes.

If the defense is SUBSTANTIALLY better by the end of the year, Capers head had better be mounted on my wall!

Christopher Gennaro's picture

You go ahead and mount TT head, but come on he has missed as he has hit.

fthisJack's picture

i think you meant, if the defense "isn't" bear? and i agree....this defense is athletic and i would also argue that Hawkins and Pipkins get some spot duty in the right circumstances. they may turn out to be better than Randall and Rollins.

dschwalm's picture

Yes! In a 'real' world, they would both have been cut or demoted to PS

Tarynfor12's picture

You dare speak of. ...reality....blasphemy.
: )

LAS VEGAS-TOM's picture

Hey Tarynfor12, Where did you get 9 1/2, or did you Buy The Hook? Cinncy +9 1/2 is the Smart Play. I'm looking again at the 1st half. If I play??

rdent's picture

According to Pro Football Focus Randall and Rollins are rated 107 and 101 out of a 110 DB's, time to give the Rookies some PT.

RCPackerFan's picture

I fully expect this to be the game we see the rookies unleashed!

King will be one starting CB. The only question is who will line up on the other side of him? Will House be able to play? If he can't have to assume Randall will be on the outside with Rollins in the slot.

Jones' speed will be put on notice. I love Brice, but Jones is simply faster and bigger.

The Bengals have ruled out TE - Eifert, WR- Ross and RG - Hopkins. They still have a good group of WR's, and one of the best in the league with Green. They also have a really good group of RB's.

This will be a big opportunity for both rookies. King to stop the passing attack and Jones to help in run support.

al bundy's picture

Even though Cincy looked like crap for two weeks, they are wounded animal now, and if we have a lack of pass rush, that red headed moron could put a lick of our attempt as pass defense.
Maybe Rollins Randle et al are ok players under a crappy defensive scheme> Who knows. If I;m right King and Jones wont fare much better.

Christopher Gennaro's picture

U sir are very negative

Packer Fan's picture

I agree with this statement from the article: "If Green Bay learned anything last Sunday in Atlanta, the lesson should be that the defense still needs major improvements and the only way it gets it, is with the further development of King and Jones." I just feel the Pack doesn't match up well with Atlanta. MM needs let King and Jones see if they can develop during the year. Perhaps Randall and Rollins will do OK with some teams, but MM needs to prepare for the post season. And I think Hawkins should get some playing time. See what he has.

fthisJack's picture

how about developing Hawkins and Pipkins to replace Randall and Rollins? both played pretty well in the preseason....lets see what they have against real competition instead of keeping them around for 3 years only to find out they are no better than what we have.

rdent's picture

Simply because Randall and Rollins are Teddys 1&2nd round picks and I wonder how much influence TT has over MM in regard of who gets on the field? because the coaches have to be blind if they can't see how Randall & Rollins have underperformed.

JohnnyLogan's picture

Capers is still the DC. As good as King and Jones are Capers will find a way to scheme them out of position. The middle will continue to remain open and the safeties will still be late helping cover the big receivers over the top. It's what we do. Capers is the problem and has been for years.

Finwiz's picture

People around here are a bunch of hypocrites, as right as this post is.
It gets a major "like" ratio, yet people will defend geriatric Capers to the end.
Hypocrites - or people that don't have a clue what they are talking about?

Archie's picture

Yes, Capers defensive scheme no longer works for him for some reason. Is that reason Thompson? Is he giving him crappy players? And/or are the position coaches crappy? Winston Moss? Something is very wrong in GB. Maybe same would be the case on offense if it weren't for AROD being so great? In the short run there is not much we can do other than to hope for a miracle but in the not so short run - we need to front office people from top to bottom. Will we get them? Doesn't sound like it. Murph says TT is here as long as he wants to be here. And TT/MM/DC are a package deal at this point. So sad!

Christopher Gennaro's picture

I blame both TT and DC, one always has to have one of the youngest teams, and the other need players time (see pitt d) to learn his system. They counteract each other

fthisJack's picture

IMO Capers has got to go. he is the reason the Packers didn't get to the SB in 2014. with his lame azz prevent defense allowing Seattle to prevent him from winning the championship game. he should have been fired the next day! he must have dirt on TT or McCarthy cause no other team would have hung on to someone this mediocre for this long. disgusting!

dobber's picture

"with his lame azz prevent defense allowing Seattle to prevent him from winning the championship game."


It happened on the field...not in the coach's booth. There might have been exactly one set of circumstances that allowed Seattle to win that game--from Burnett taking a knee to the ridiculously passive 2pt conversion defense (point to rookie HHCD on that) to the onside kick--and it happened. Point to the prevent (which essentially EVERY team runs in those scenarios) and you're pointing to the wrong thing. That was as unlikely a collapse that has ever happened, and I'm not defending DC, but it was not due to the prevent defense.

EdsLaces's picture

Man I didn't realize Jones was 220..that's crazy.

Yooper's picture

Bigger and faster sounds really good in the defensive backfield and YES... it also sounds good to me for the wide receivers - or am I missing something and why when I think are # one running back is really something special in both receiving and running is he taken off the field and we go with an empty backfield so often - Does that mean that we tired of making the opposition guess what we are going to do and wanted to send a clear message that are line is really struggling this week with injuries so rush and sack Aaron........Who just might be all world and can easily dance away from 3 or 4 unblocked rushers!!!!!!

Chris Peterson's picture

Yea he is a beast. I have been really excited about Jones since day one. Hopefully, the Packers cut him and King loose Sunday.

fthisJack's picture

how bout unleashin a lil Pipkin and Hawkins also! can't be any worse than the ARRRR boys!

Since '61's picture

I've been saying since the end of TC that the Packers need to put their best 11 defenders on the field. We 're getting closer if King and Jones see significant playing time this weekend. Hopefully Adams gets a good number of snaps as well. If we can keep our guys healthy until Daniels and Perry return we have a chance at a decent defense this season. Thanks, Since '61

Lphill's picture

Let the rookies play like other teams do , your first 2 picks should start right away , as for Capers I think he can't keep up with the speed of today's NFL .

4thand1's picture

MM doesn't want to peak to early. I don't think I'll watch until December.

Since '61's picture

4th - that is as good of an approach as any! Thanks, Since '61

BPEARSON21's picture

"If Green Bay learned anything last Sunday in Atlanta, the lesson should be that the defense still needs major improvements" ...

Literally been say that every week on this website all off-season. Just sucks that it's not realized until the season is hit and we're stuck with what we've got.

Thank the good Lord that we have Cincy this weekend. They're a heinous football team. Even our miserable defense should be able to hold them.

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