Packers CB Josh Jackson, now ‘more comfortable,’ to make another start for Kevin King

Zach Kruse
·2 min read

Green Bay Packers cornerback Josh Jackson will make his third-straight start on Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings.

The team ruled out starter Kevin King due to a lingering quad injury, giving Jackson – a second-round pick in 2018 – another chance to prove he’s a starting-caliber NFL player against a terrific wide receiver duo.

The Packers believing he’s growing in confidence as a young player in a new role.

“I think Josh, or Jacko, as we like to call him, is getting more comfortable. Which, naturally, brings more confidence. And when you have more confidence, you’re going to go out there and play better,” coach Matt LaFleur said Friday. “Obviously, you’re only as good as your last game in this league, and he’s going to have to put together another great performance, and that’s what we expect out of him.”

Over his last two starts, Jackson has allowed seven catches for 43 yards and a touchdown against his coverage, per Pro Football Focus. He’s also made five stops, or tackles constituting a failure for the offense.

Sunday’s matchup will give Jackson an opportunity to face either Adam Thielen or Justin Jefferson, two of the most productive and efficient receivers in the NFL to start the 2020 season.

If Jaire Alexander takes on Thielen, as he did for much of Week 1, Jackson would get a matchup with Jefferson, who is the top rookie pass-catcher and PFF’s top-rated receiver overall this season. He has 28 catches for 537 yards and three touchdowns, with three 100-yard receiving games and an average of 19.2 per catch.

The Packers held Jefferson to just two catches in the season opener. With King healthy, Jackson played just two snaps in the 43-34 win.

Now in his third season, Jackson needs all the opportunities he can get to prove he has a future in Mike Pettine’s defense.

In 2019, Jackson played just 103 defensive snaps total as King, Alexander, Tramon Williams and Chandon Sullivan dominated the playing time at cornerback. He’s been on the field for 132 snaps in the last two games alone.

It’s unclear how long King will be out. He looked ready to return last week but suffered a setback, an unfortunate thing for King – who is a contract year. But it’s a potentially good thing for Jackson, who is getting his chance to audition for a bigger role and prove he can be a starter if King departs after 2020.

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