Alexander’s Safety Comes with Word of Warning
GREEN BAY, Wis. – Green Bay Packers stars Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams dominated Sunday’s matchup against the Minnesota Vikings. However, it was cornerback Jaire Alexander who provided the two plays that turned Sunday’s game permanently in Green Bay’s favor.
The first was Alexander’s second-quarter sack of Kirk Cousins. The safety pulled the Packers within 7-5 and they turned the ensuing free kick into the go-ahead field goal. Later, his interception at the end of the first half set up a 45-yard touchdown pass to Marquez Valdes-Scantling that gave the Packers a commanding 22-7 lead.
The sack/safety was, in defensive coordinator Mike Pettine’s words, a play that was, “No, no, no; yes, yes, yes.”
“He’s ultra-prepared,” Pettine said on Thursday evening. “He saw something and he triggered on it. And we tell those guys, if you’re going to make a mistake, make it full speed. In the coverage we were in, he was responsible for the flat and he did not have deep responsibility. If he had had deep responsibility then, obviously, it would be much more of an issue.
“He knows we have to perform within the structure of the defense but, at the same time, he thought he saw something and he triggered and, as fast as he was going, in his mind, he kept going. Like I said, he did not have deep responsibility so that was a very calculated risk on his part that was much higher reward than potentially giving up a big play.”
Incredibly, it was Green Bay’s first safety recorded by a defensive back since Doug Hart in 1971.
“I was anticipating run because of the motion by (Adam) Thielen, so once I anticipated run, I shot my shot. I slid in the DMs, basically,” Alexander said after the game. “And when I saw it wasn’t a run, it was too late to turn back, so I just kept going.”
Alexander became the fifth player since 2000 with a sack, interception and a safety in the same game, and the first since Arizona’s Calais Campbell in 2016.
“You look at it,” defensive backs coach Jerry Gray said on Wednesday, “and that’s one of those, ‘Oh no!’ and then ‘Yay!’ You see that and then you talk to him about being disciplined and understanding the consequences of not making that play and them having that blocked up and then there’s no one in the flat. Just so he could understand it’s a two-headed sword. This time it happened and worked out for us. We just don’t need it to happen and work out against us.”