I know, I know, I know, this article is coming out a little late. However, the Packers did play last Friday night which means there was a “Defensive Player of the Week.”
Green Bay took their first loss of the preseason, 13-6, against the Oakland Raiders. Luckily, it is still the preseason so the final score is not as indicative as what’s seen on the field. Week 2 “Defensive Player of the Week,” Reggie Gilbert, looked solid yet again. He had a QB hit and a forced fumble on the opening possession. He ended the contest with 4 tackles, one for a loss, and a sack. Other impactful players included, Vince Biegel and Kenny Clark who both had 5 tackles each. Clay Matthews looked to be in mid-season form and provided pressure on the QB during his limited playing time. Rookie corner, Josh Jackson, added to his impressive preseason by locking down all evening and even snatching a pick-6…although it did not count because of a Herb Waters defensive holding call.
Even with the exceptional play of the defenders mentioned above, it was first round pick, Jaire Alexander, who was the preseason week 3 “Defensive Player of the Week.” Alexander generated a ton of buzz from coaches and fans thanks to his airtight coverage and incredible interception in last Friday’s game. Early in the second quarter, Connor Cook attempted to thread the needle to his wide receiver running a post route. As soon as the receiver started moving, Alexander was on his hip sprinting stride for stride. The pass was thrown 30 yards downfield and that is when Alexander jumped in front of the opposition, used all of his wingspan, and made a spectacular leaping interception. He looked more like a wide receiver as opposed to a cornerback because of the way he caught the ball. This was the play of the game and a play that changed the momentum of the contest. It does not happen very often where the best defensive player does not even record a tackle, but Jaire Alexander did not need a tackle to have the biggest impact on the game.
It was great to see Green Bay’s first round pick make plays so early in his debut. With Alexander making plays and Josh Jackson showing tremendous promise, the cornerback position very well could be a bright spot for the Packers this season.