Packers CB Kevin King turns in awful Week 1 performance against Saints
The rust excuse is no longer applicable for Green Bay Packers cornerback Kevin King.
It is true that King missed the start of training camp with a hamstring injury and never suited up during the preseason. However, that is true for most of the defensive starters, and King’s atrocious performance on Sunday against the New Orleans Saints was not an anomaly. Unfortunately, it evoked an all too familiar feeling for a team that probably should have moved on during the offseason.
The Saints targeted King only twice, but it was enough to showcase the struggles he faced in his rollercoaster career. During the second drive of the game, Saints wide receiver Deonte Harris ran a deep out route that picked up 17 yards. King was the one in coverage against Harris and got turned around when the receiver made his break.
New Orleans didn’t have their top pass catchers in Week 1, but it didn’t matter. The Saints only had to throw the ball 21 times to serve up a 35-point beatdown. Meanwhile, Harris entered the game with just 26 career receptions, but King was hardly a threat as he led his team in receiving.
Later in the game, Harris struck again with King in coverage. This time, the result was much worse as he beat King down the field for a 55-yard touchdown. The play was reminiscent of Scotty Miller scoring a long touchdown in the NFC Championship Game and gutting this Packers team right before halftime.
— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) September 12, 2021
Many thought that was the end of the King era, but the team brought him back on a one-year deal to offer him a final chance. His Week 1 performance was not what they hoped for.
To make matters worse, the Packers seem to understand what type of player King is. Matt LaFleur acknowledged that King is at his best when contesting wide receivers at the line of scrimmage. However, Joe Barry’s defense did not implement his corners aggressively on Sunday. It looked a lot like Mike Pettine’s passiveness which called for guys to play 10 yards off the line of scrimmage.
However, even in off coverage, King still gets beat. Somehow the 4.4 speed that led him to be a 33rd overall pick back in 2017 just isn’t there. Green Bay now has to ask themselves, how many more chances will King get?
They used their most recent first-round pick to select Eric Stokes. The rookie played just eight snaps in Jacksonville and still had a more impactful day than King. If King doesn’t bounce back from an awful debut, Stokes may find himself in the starting lineup sooner rather than later.