Category Archives: Kevin King Jersey

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Kevin King might as well have played his rookie season with one arm tied behind his back, according to Joe Whitt.

And while the Green Bay Packers’ top draft pick has been praised this week for his toughness while playing through a painful left shoulder injury, his position coach thinks King never really got the chance to show his potential.

“You haven’t really seen the real Kevin King yet,” said Whitt, the Packers’ long-time cornerbacks coach.

King’s shoulder injury, which goes back to his college days at Washington, became an issue right away in training camp this summer. The 33rd overall pick in the draft missed two of the past three games because of it before the Packers shut him down this week. He was placed on injured reserve and was scheduled for surgery — the second on his left shoulder since his freshman year of college. King said he will have the surgery on Tuesday with Dr. James Andrews of Birmingham, Alabama.

“He’s a tough young man, no doubt about it,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “He’s been dealing with it for quite some time. Just playing with the harness and trying to gut it out, I think it speaks volumes. It just obviously got to a point there where it was time to do more scans and things like that, and the decision has been made for surgery.”

King said the surgery will be to repair his labrum, the same surgery he had in college. He estimated that his shoulder popped out of place “nine or 10 times” this season.

“It was something that was happening more frequently than not,” King said. “It came out, especially these last few games, it probably came out probably each game. So, yeah, it came to a point where they kind of just shut me down. It was hard because especially with something that I was trying to fight through, but in the end it got to the point where it was probably better to get it done.”

The Packers drafted King because of his size (6-foot-3), speed (4.43 in the 40) and arm length (32). They saw how the first two attributes could help him but never really got the chance to see how his long arms would help him jam receivers at the line of scrimmage, something Whitt loves in his corners when they’re playing press-man coverage.

“I know what he can be, but with him not being able to throw that arm — he has a chance to be a really, really good player,” Whitt said. “Once he’ll be able to throw and control people at the line of scrimmage the way that his length and his ability to be able to bend and move and do those types of things, once he gets that taken care of, you’re going to see a player that you’ll be really excited about. But you haven’t seen it yet.”

King did not record an interception in nine games this season.

“I think I had a pretty productive year even with the circumstances and everything,” King said. “Now I’m just trying to get healthy. I know I belong in this league. I proved that to myself and to the viewers. I know I can play at this level and at a high level. Now I’ve just got to get healthy and get the confidence back.”

King’s injury leaves the Packers short-handed in the secondary. They’re likely to be without fellow starting cornerback Davon House for Sunday’s game at Cleveland. House has a shoulder injury, too. Demetri Goodson, who was activated off PUP after his year-long recovery from a knee injury was completed and replaced King on the roster, has a hamstring injury.

It might force defensive coordinator Dom Capers to use safety Morgan Burnett as a slot cornerback for the second straight week because behind Damarious Randall and Josh Hawkins, the only other corners on the roster are undrafted rookies Lenzy Pipkins (who has played just 47 snaps all season) and Donatello Brown (zero snaps).

“[It's] kind of what we’ve been doing all year,” Capers said when asked about the cornerback position.

The same could be said for the past two years. In 2016, they lost No. 1 cornerback Sam Shields to a Week 1 concussion, and he never played again. They also dealt with injuries to Randall and Quinten Rollins (who is on injured reserve this season).

It’s why the Packers drafted King in the first place.

“That seems like that’s been the story the last two years,” Whitt said. “So it is what it is.”

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T.J. Watt was like a lot of people in Wisconsin on the night of April 27 when the Green Bay Packers were on the clock with the 29th pick in the NFL draft.

“I thought it was a legitimate possibility that I could go to Green Bay,” Watt said this week during a conference call with reporters. “But they didn’t want me.”

Instead, general manager Ted Thompson traded out of the first round, deciding there would be similar value early in the second round (where he took cornerback Kevin King at No. 33) and the chance to get a pass-rusher later (which he did with the other pick he acquired in the trade, a fourth-rounder that he used on Vince Biegel).

Like Watt, Biegel not only played at the University of Wisconsin but also grew up in the state. However, Watt would have been a wildly popular pick among the fan base considering the success his brother J.J. had both with the Badgers and in the NFL.

“I’m just happy the Pittsburgh Steelers called me next and they took me in with open arms,” said Watt, who came off the board at No. 30, “and I couldn’t be happier to be a Pittsburgh Steeler.”

While this game shouldn’t be a referendum on Thompson’s decision because Biegel will be making only his fourth appearance in a regular-season game following foot surgery in the offseason, it’s the first chance for the Packers and their fans to see what could have been had Thompson made the call for Watt.

In his first three games, Biegel has played a combined 41 snaps without a sack, while Watt has been one of the top rookie pass-rushers. In Week 1, he had two sacks and an interception, and he’s tied for third among all rookies with four sacks overall.

Like Biegel did earlier in the week, Watt downplayed this as neither a matchup against his former teammate nor a chance to stick to it to the Packers for not taking him.

“I view it just as any regular game for me,” Watt said. “Obviously being from Wisconsin and growing up a Packers fan for the majority of my youth — until J.J. got to the Texans, of course — I think people are trying to make this game seem like it’s a lot bigger to me than it is. But to be honest with you, I didn’t have high expectations or I didn’t really care where I ended up in the draft. I just wanted to end up with a good team and a great fit, and I’m glad that I ended up here in Pittsburgh. This is going to be just another game for me, and more importantly it’s another game at Heinz Field in front of Steeler Nation.”

While the Packers still don’t know what they have in Biegel, the Steelers couldn’t be happier with Watt.

“He’s a very low-maintenance young guy,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. “He learns lessons extremely quickly. He’s a guy who’s capable of learning from others’ mistakes. He himself doesn’t make mistakes twice. He’s diligent, he’s attentive. He’s a note taker, he’s very professional in his approach. I think all of those things set him up for the consistency in the play we’re getting.”

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GREEN BAY, Wis. — Kevin King didn’t think his NFL debut would consist of only six snaps on defense. Even after his snap count increased by 40 in Week 2, he’s still not sure what will happen next.

The Green Bay Packers’ top draft pick should expect his role in Week 3 against the Cincinnati Bengals — and beyond — to resemble the latter rather than the former.

The second-round cornerback put together a strong showing in Sunday’s 34-23 loss at the Atlanta Falcons. It was one of a couple of positive takeaways from an otherwise dispiriting loss for a defense that still hasn’t figured out how to slow down Matt Ryan and Julio Jones.

King didn’t start against the Falcons, but it would be a shock if he didn’t have that job going forward.

“If anything, he’s earned the right to potentially play more,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “Smooth, confident athlete. He’s getting healthy and he looks comfortable out there. I like the progression that Kevin’s making.”

The 6-foot-3, long-armed, speedy cover man did exactly what the Packers hoped he would when they picked him at No. 33 overall in the draft. He ran with Jones, he broke up a pass and he tackled.

“I thought I was going to play a lot last week,” King said. “And next week I could play six snaps again, who knows? I didn’t come here to sit, so …”

The Packers turned to King before the first quarter was over. He replaced Damarious Randall at right cornerback. Randall returned late in the game after left cornerback Davon House sustained a quad injury. Randall and Quinten Rollins, the slot cornerback, both struggled. King, meanwhile, allowed just one completion — a 12-yard slant to Taylor Gabriel with 5:40 left in the game. He was targeted four other times, according to Pro Football Focus, and did not allow another completion.

“I thought Kevin did a good job,” defensive coordinator Dom Capers said. “I think he continues to grow, you know? We’re encouraged with his progress. He competes well. You saw him break up a couple balls on crossing routes. He’s not afraid to get up and challenge receivers, and I like his style of play.”

Injuries could determine some of what happens at cornerback. House said he does not believe his quad injury will be problematic; he likened it to a muscle cramp after the game. If that’s the case, then the Packers’ starting cornerback pairing likely will be House and King. McCarthy and Capers then will have to decide who to play in the slot between the struggling Randall and Rollins, or perhaps give rookie Lenzy Pipkins a shot. Pipkins, an undrafted free agent, has been inactive for the first two games.

Another second-round pick, safety Josh Jones, also saw his first extended action on defense after Kentrell Brice left Sunday’s game because of a groin injury.

“As we go along, you see these young guys [and] their reps increase based off of [them getting] more comfortable,” Capers said. “You want to be able to put them out there and have them have success. So I think Kevin, each step I think you’ll see him get more reps as we go along here. Josh Jones last night, I thought he went in and did a nice job. He played more snaps than what he’s played. Both of those guys, I think you’re going to see their reps increase.”

Said King: “I plan for a big role every week. I feel like I’m a starter whenever I step on the field.”