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Posts tagged with "Josh Hawkins"

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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A few young Packers are getting valuable reps against top opposing receivers this summer.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Green Bay Packers are on a normal seven-day week this week. Following last Saturday night’s 21-17 win in Washington, the Packers will travel to Denver this coming Saturday for a date with the Broncos in the teams’ third preseason game. Both teams will likely play their starters more in this contest than in previous exhibition games, as the third game generally serves as the best tune-up for the regular season.

As they get ready for Saturday, the Broncos’ have solidified their plans at quarterback for the season, and we now know which signal-caller will take the snaps with the top offensive unit. The Packers still have questions around injuries on defense, however, particularly at the cornerback unit. Unless Damarious Randall and Davon House return to the field this week, their absences would leave a group of young players, including top draft pick Kevin King and undrafted second-year pro Josh Hawkins, to deal with Denver’s starting offense.

In today’s curds, we look at one of those young corners who is hoping to build on the success he had in last week’s game, as well as some discussion around the hit that put Randall on the sidelines for the past several days.

Josh Hawkins hopes to be Packers’ next undrafted success story |
It makes sense that Hawkins would try to emulate Sam Shields‘ game; both were undrafted free agents, were on the small side, and possessed terrific speed. Time will tell if Hawkins has similar success to Shields, though.

Damarious Randall responds to Bryce Treggs whining about $25K fine | Packers Wire
Treggs made the league minimum last season, but he tweeted about starting a Gofundme page to pay for the fine he received after his hit on Randall last week. Needless to say, the Packers corner didn’t take too well to that.

Jeff Janis needs to play like it’s August come September-January – ESPN
Janis has been the preseason wonder for four years now, but has virtually disappeared for the last three regular seasons, save for a couple of special teams plays and a single touchdown. If he makes the roster, that had better change quickly

Packers’ run defense prepared for stiff early-season tests |
So far, the front seven has held up very well on the ground through two preseason games; opponents are averaging under three yards per carry and the team hasn’t allowed a single play of 15 yards or more.

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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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