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Posts tagged with "Davon House"

The Packers’ best new face so far is the player selected with the 33rd pick in the draft.

Green Bay Press Gazette-USA TODAY NETWORK

The Green Bay Packers have 21 players on the current 53-man roster who were not on it at the end of last season.

Of those 21, the Packers acquired them as follows:

  • Nine free agent signings
  • Six picks from the 2017 NFL Draft
  • Three undrafted rookies
  • One player claimed on waivers from another team (Chris Odom)
  • One player signed off another team’s practice squad (Ulrick JohnCardinals)
  • One player who spent 2016 on the Packers’ practice squad (Lucas Patrick)

Of those players, however, two stand out among all others as the best newcomers to the Packers’ roster so far in this early season. Those two are the Packers’ top two draft picks, cornerback Kevin King and safety/nitro linebacker Josh Jones.

However, while Jones has been a playmaker in the middle of the defense, playing primarily inside linebacker over the past two games, King’s early emergence as a boundary corner has been critical to the Packers’ success in defending the pass.

For some context, the Packers are currently 5th in passing yards allowed, though their ranking drops to 17th in opponents’ passer rating and they are 15th in pass DVOA. Last season in those three measures, the team ranked 31st, 26th, and 23rd, respectively.

Still, the Packers have faced significant issues at the cornerback position this season, with veteran free agent signing Davon House missing two-plus games with an injury and third-year players Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins effectively being benched over the past two weeks. Not coincidentally, King has stepped into the starting lineup and since doing so he has largely held his own against a few of the premier wide receivers in the NFL.

After Julio Jones was torching the Packers in the early going during their week two game in Atlanta, King entered the game and shadowed him for much of the rest of the game, keeping him largely in check and not allowing a reception into his coverage. King struggled a bit more when asked to shadow the Bengals’ A.J. Green in week three, but played well against a brutally weak Bears’ receiving corps in week four. Furthermore, APC’s Peter Bukowski found this little nugget which, small sample size aside, is certainly notable:

Packers rookie Kevin King has a better passer rating allowed in coverage than Patrick Peterson, Desmond Trufant, and Marcus Peters.

Meanwhile, the players lining up at the other corner spots have rotated heavily. Randall’s struggles led to his benching against the Bears, meaning Josh Hawkins played every snap in the second half last Thursday. Rollins, meanwhile, was removed from the lineup prior to week three’s game, being replaced as the primary slot cornerback by Morgan Burnett.

Of course, Josh Jones has provided some highlight-reel plays, including a pair of sacks in week three and some notable tackles for loss. However, the Packers’ defense would still be able to function without him lining up in the middle — in fact, they did so for much of the first half against Chicago, moving him around and giving him some rest when they lined up with a pair of more conventional inside linebackers.

Remove King from the equation and the Packers would be down to an injured veteran, two benched third-year pros, a second-year undrafted free agent, and an undrafted rookie who has yet to take a snap on defense in a regular season game.

For that reason, Kevin King earns our vote as the Packers’ best newcomer over the first quarter of the 2017 season.

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Second-year cornerback has patterned his game after Sam Shields

GREEN BAY – Josh Hawkins knows the story well by now. The tale of the young cornerback who starts humbly as an undrafted rookie and blossoms into a Pro Bowler.It was passed down to Hawkins shortly after he signed with the Packers as a college free agent out of East Carolina. While the odds were long given how deep Green Bay was at the position, the story of Sam Shields resonated with Hawkins.

He strove to be just like him – right down to his outfitting.

“I wore the arm bands, the tape, the white gloves just like him,” Hawkins said. “Some of the guys, they called me ‘Little Sam Shields.’ I’m just trying to play like him. I try to mold my game after him.”

Shields was a good muse for Hawkins. One of the greatest undrafted finds in franchise history, Shields recorded 245 tackles, 66 passes defensed and 18 interceptions in 80 regular-season games.

Hawkins, who ran a sub-4.4 time in the 40-yard dash at his college pro day, doesn’t know whether he would beat Shields in a foot race. He never got the chance after Shields sustained a concussion in the 2016 opener that eventually landed him on injured reserve.

However, Hawkins did have four months between the start of the offseason program and Week 1 in Jacksonville to learn from Shields, taking notes on his playstyle and technique.

“Some press technique because he’s a real press guy, hand-to-hand guy,” Hawkins said. “Getting my head turned around quicker, always playing that deep ball first thing you really want to play. He’s really taught me a lot. He’s a great guy.”

Hawkins has been putting all of his work over the last year to work in his second training camp with the Packers. He received his first NFL start Saturday night against Washington due to injuries to Davon House (hamstring) and Damarious Randall (concussion).

Like last year when Hawkins was one of five undrafted rookies to make the Packers’ opening roster, the 5-foot-10, 189-pound cornerback made the most of the opportunity.

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Everything not “fixed” after strong outing in Washington

GREEN BAY – For all that Mike McCarthy liked about the Packers’ 21-17 preseason victory in Washington, the film review showed his team is far from a finished product.

“It’s not like we came out of last night’s game saying we got everything fixed,” McCarthy said on Sunday. “That’s not practical. It’s not our message.”

Some position groups improved, but they still have room for growth. Fundamentals like tackling and ball security were better but not polished.

The preseason is halfway done, and the other half remains important.

“It’s part of the plan, it’s part of the process,” McCarthy said. “Every year you have to move forward as a team through training camp to get where you want to.”McCarthy touched on several units as he reviewed the game.

He felt the No. 2 offensive line improved from the first game overall despite some “tough moments” for individuals. Too many mental errors bogged the unit down.

He saw progress from the young running backs in getting yards after contact and in pass protection. Their decision-making on handoffs was better but “still not good enough.”

The play of the cornerbacks stood out, and McCarthy credited second-year pro Josh Hawkins for earning the best grade of the group.

Even with Davon House (hamstring) and Damarious Randall (concussion) currently sidelined, the unit is still healthier than last year, when players were limited or missing practice regularly.

The corners will likely get a stronger test next week from a more explosive Denver receiving corps, but the growth of young players like Hawkins, Quinten Rollins and Kevin King has been evident throughout camp.

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Packers’ preseason opener will carry most weight of anything in camp so far

GREEN BAY — With the first preseason game on the horizon, the assessment of players for roster spots takes on more meaning.

“This will be the first evaluation in live action, so this will definitely carry the most weight of anything we’ve done to date,” Head Coach Mike McCarthy said on Tuesday, two days before the Packers’ preseason opener vs. Philadelphia. “We always weigh the games higher than a practice. You take in everything, but this is real football Thursday night.”

General Manager Ted Thompson echoed those sentiments.

“Yes, preseason games are very important,” Thompson said in his weekly media address. “I can speak from experience. When I was a rookie as a player, it helped me get comfortable around the veteran players when I was able to make a tackle on the kickoff team or do something on the punt team.

“It’s a wonderful time to try to make the team, and if you do make it, it’s very special, but you have to earn it, and that’s what all these guys will be trying to do over the course of the next several weeks.”

Based on the practice reps from Monday, it appears starting QB Aaron Rodgers won’t be playing on Thursday. He’s running the scout team this week.

As for whether Rodgers would play any more in the preseason than he did last year, when he played in one game, McCarthy said it’s to be determined. He’s more focused right now on getting opportunities in games for the younger players, and seeing certain combinations of players work together.

A lot of eyes will be on backup QB Brett Hundley, and McCarthy wants to see him “play fast,” as he’s done in the past. Thompson sounded just as eager to see Hundley take the field again after being limited in last year’s preseason due to injury.

“I like to see generalship. I like to see him run the show, take charge, be exact,” Thompson said. “If someone lines up in the wrong spot, I like to see him get him moved, like Aaron would do.”

Veteran CB Davon House missed Monday’s practice with a hamstring injury, and McCarthy categorized him as day-to-day. He has no “long-term concern.”

Assuming House sits out on Thursday, there will be even more reps for the younger cornerbacks looking to establish their place on the depth chart and earn roster spots.

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