Kevin King did something perhaps more remarkable than intercepting Dallas’ Dak Prescott on Sunday.
The Green Bay Packers’ third-year cornerback hasn’t done nearly enough of that in his career. In his first two seasons, the team’s top pick of the 2017 draft played just 32.5 percent of the defensive snaps and 15 of a possible 32 games.
Video: LaFleur on giving up explosive plays
Against Philadelphia last week, King dropped out of the game with a groin injury. With the page turned to the Cowboys, he didn’t practice all week and was listed as doubtful on Friday. Players listed as doubtful might as well be listed as out. But there was King, part of the starting lineup for Sunday’s upset victory.
“I don’t think I have, to be honest with you,” Packers coach Matt LaFleur said on Monday of seeing a player go from doubtful to starting. “It was one of those deals where, as he was going through his rehab, he felt pretty good at the end of Friday’s practice. Our trainers kept him out afterward and put him through some one-on-ones. Shoot, he said he felt like he could go, so that’s why we upgraded him (to questionable) the following day.”
When King woke up on Saturday, he didn’t expect to be feeling so good, so he talked to the team’s training staff.
“I was doing stuff and it kind of surprised me, because I didn’t really feel (the strain) too much,” King told reporters after the game. “I thought it was just kind of taking its course, getting a little better. Then I started revving it up a little bit more, a little bit more. … I woke up Saturday, thought it might be sore just from doing stuff and everything, (but) it was good.”
King played 37 snaps. This game won’t be compared to Michael Jordan playing with the flu in the NBA Finals but King was solid. According to Pro Football Focus and its best reckoning of coverage responsibilities, King gave up 6-of-9 passing for 72 yards. He dropped one interception but came up with a big one in the fourth quarter, killing Dallas’ momentum and setting up a field goal that gave the Packers a 34-17 lead midway through the fourth quarter.
“It shows that he’s willing to put it out there for his team,” defensive backs coach Jason Simmons said. “He wasn’t in a position where we could play him the whole game but we were just happy that he was able to play. Of course you want a guy to practice. He missed all those reps, and they’re meaningful, particularly for our scheme, because of the way we change it and the way we’re so multiple. I was just glad he was able to play. Whenever we can have him, we’ll take him.”