The Green Bay Packers had their hands full last week against the Atlanta Falcons. Players like Julio Jones, Tevin Coleman, and Tayler Gabriel all took turns burning the Packers defense. It was like the Falcons could have got a first down whenever they wanted to, and they did. Up until the middle of the second quarter did it almost seem like the Packers had this game somewhat under control. Then, memories of the 2016 NFC Championship game became all too real once again. It was as if the Falcons couldn’t be stop and the Packers couldn’t do anything about it.

 

This gave Packers’ rookie Kevin King a shot to show what he can do. Not only did defensive coordinator Dom Capers give Kevin King an opportunity, he put King up against one of the best—if not the best wide receivers in the game, Julio Jones.

With an MVP Quarterback at the helm, and an inexperienced yet confident defensive back, the all-star wide receiver was for the most part, under control. Julio Jones pretty much had a field day against the Packers’ secondary. Every time Jones caught the ball it was for a at least a 12 yard gain. Being that Jones caught five balls, he finished with 108 receiving yards, and no touchdowns. Jones’ final line for the game was 9 targets, 5 receptions, and 108 yards. This is to no surprise for those that watched the game. Jones is a big time receiver. Kevin King did the best he could in shutting down the all-star receiver, and most of us were actually impressed with King’s performance by the end of the game.

After the brutal loss in Atlanta, the Packers’ secondary is not going to catch a break just yet. The Cincinnati Bengals come to town on Sunday at 3:25pm Central Time. This is yet another test for the Packers. A.J. Green, another all-pro wide receiver will most likely line up against Kevin King. Now, with cornerback Davon House questionable with a quadriceps injury, and Safety Kentrell Brice questionable with a groin injury, Kevin King could be asked to do the same thing this week. It would be to no surprise that the young rookie would be asked to play again. If King does play against the Bengals’ number one wide receiver A.J. Green, it does show that defensive coordinator Dom Capers may have lost some faith in the Packers’ older players in the secondary.

This could mean first round draft pick Damarious Randall and second round pick Quinten Rollins are both losing playing time to second round pick Kevin King. If this does become the case, it could show two things. First, that Kevin King is prepared, ready to play, and is talented enough, that he will actually play in front of Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins. Or second, this could mean that even if Kevin King isn’t ready for the NFL, they are going to play him anyways because Randall and Rollins just aren’t good enough. Hopefully, it will be the former, and that Kevin King is just so ready that they want to put him in the game.

What the Falcons did last week to escape the Packers’ new “nitro” package was to switch up the personnel in order to substitute that extra secondary player off of the field. They would line up with an extra tight end, or an extra running back in order to force the Packers to shift their defense. Josh Jones, who is a huge part of that “nitro” package, could also have a huge impact. Being that Kentrell Brice is the Packers’ hardest hitting player in the secondary, if he does not play on Sunday against the Bengals, this could mean the Josh Jones must step up.

Both Jones and King got their first real tackle in the NFL last week. This means that they got more playing time. Dom Capers will most likely rotate them in more often than the last game, and these two guys for sure could have a huge impact. King had two tackles last week, with addition to an assisted tackle. Josh Jones had three solo tackles. This team could go far, but it is all about staying healthy. There is a reason why the “next man up” isn’t “the man” because the next man up must prove himself. That is what Kevin King and Josh Jones can do this Sunday. They need to show a beat up Packers defense that they are reliable and can play against anyone.

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