GREEN BAY – The Green Bay Packers are watching rookie cornerback Kevin King closely this week, hoping the left shoulder injury that has required him to wear a support all season is strong enough for him to play against the Baltimore Ravens.
King practiced for a second straight day, but was limited and gave no indication if he thought he was going to play Sunday.
The Packers haven’t had stability at their corner position all season and not having King could prevent them from finally getting it now that Damarious Randall has settled into the slot position.
The defense still needs Davon House to play better, but if King plays the Packers at least would have their top three corners on the field for the majority of the game. King has been solid, allowing 3 ½ completions of 20 or more yards, including his only touchdown, and has tackled well.
“My mental (state) is good,” King said. “If it’s something I know, I know how to counter it. I’m going to know how to get it done. That includes when they throw at me, getting it done.”
If King can’t play, the Packer likely would go with Josh Hawkins so they can help counter the speed of Ravens receivers Breshad Perriman and Mike Wallace. Hawkins might play anyway just because he’s the fastest corner on the team.
If able, King will be on the field somewhere.
Last week, he came off the bench after starting the last five games he had appeared in. Coordinator Dom Capers went with House and Randall as his corners in the base defense and moved Randall into the slot with King entering on the outside in the nickel.
King wouldn’t say exactly what the injury was or whether he’d need it addressed in the offseason, but he said it was related to a torn labrum he suffered as a freshman at the University of Washington. He said it flared up on him as a senior and he has dealt with it ever since.
He missed his first bit of action because of it Sunday against Chicago when he landed on the shoulder while slipping off a tackle on the Bears’ final series. He went to the sideline in obvious pain but said he could have gone back in.
“It’s something we had talked about,” King said. “I knew what was going on.”
There were no major changes in the Packers’ injury situation.
Safety Morgan Burnett (groin) and running back Ty Montgomery (ribs) both sat out for a second straight day and appear to be long shots to play. Guard Lucas Patrick (back) was added as a limited participant.
Climate control: For a quarterback who grew up in Arizona and played his college football in California, frigid temperatures are not exactly part of the learning curve en route to the NFL. But come Sunday, when forecasts call for temperatures around 31 degrees with wind gusts up to 20 miles per hour, Packers quarterback Brett Hundley will need to adjust quickly.
“Have not played in it, but I’ve got my long sleeves on,” Hundley said earlier this week. “Hopefully, I’ll have some chicken noodle soup on the sidelines, a little bit of hot chocolate and I’ll be good.
“It’s a mental thing. I’m always thinking 72 degrees and an ocean breeze.”
Hundley would be wise to heed the advice of quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt, who learned that comfort is more important than pride.
Van Pelt, who played his college football at Pittsburgh, said he tried to be the player who never wore long sleeves. That quickly changed during an icy game against Penn State.
“I’ve learned the hard way you’ve got to be comfortable, warm enough, just get the right clothes on,” Van Pelt said. “The good news is he’s obviously been practicing outside here the last three years and we’ve had some really cold practices outside, so it’s not like it’s the first time he’s thrown the ball in the cold.
“I tried to be that guy who didn’t wear sleeves and changed real quick at halftime.”
Flagged: When he heard there was a penalty called in the fourth quarter of the Bears game, nose tackle Kenny Clark looked around to see who it might be on.
When it was signaled as holding, he still didn’t know who it was on.
“I was looking around like, ‘What’s the penalty?' I didn’t know it was me. I was thinking something happened way backside and I’m like, I don’t know what was going on.”
The call was defensive holding, a point of emphasis recently for NFL officials cracking down on defensive linemen grabbing blockers who are trying to move up to the second level and take on linebackers.
Clark admitted he got his hand on Bears guard Josh Sitton, but he said he didn’t intentionally grab him.
“I don’t play like that,” he said.
The penalty negated a 3-yard loss and gave the Bears a first-and-10 on their own 37. They scored one play later on a 46-yard touchdown pass from Mitch Trubisky to receiver Josh Bellamy.