Packers notes: Cornerback Kevin King once again ending season on injured reserve
GREEN BAY – Green Bay Packers cornerback Kevin King’s career has taken another detour and where it winds up going won’t be known until after the 2018 season.
For the second year in a row, King was placed on injured reserve Wednesday.
Last year, a left shoulder injury that required offseason surgery bothered him throughout the first half of the season and he wound up playing in just six games. He missed most of the offseason conditioning program while rehabbing.
This season, King injured his other shoulder in training camp and missed two exhibition games.
In the regular season, he injured his groin in Week 2 and missed the next two games. He started the next four games, but in the final one, against New England, he pulled his hamstring and has been out ever since.
It’s possible the Packers are shutting him down now so that he can heal the hamstring and have surgery on his right shoulder. King has not said for sure he would need surgery but given that both injuries affect his range of motion, it certainly wouldn’t be a surprise.
King will finish with nine games played this year and 15 for his first two seasons. He played 36.4 percent of the defensive snaps last season and has played 38 percent this year, a number that will go down as the Packers play their final four games.
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When healthy, King, a second-round pick out of Washington, has played at a starter’s level. He gave up only one pass of 20 or more yards and was at fault for one touchdown completion and shared fault on two others.
The Packers used their first two draft choices on cornerbacks Jaire Alexander and Josh Jackson and are interested in seeing more of veteran Bashaud Breeland, rookie Tony Brown and untested Will Redmond. They could bring back veteran Tramon Williams as insurance in case King can’t get over his injury bug.
King’s bad right shoulder dates to surgery he had as a freshman at Washington, but other than that he missed only a couple of games due to injury. A couple of weeks ago, King said he was not injury prone and that he was doing everything he could to get on the field.
“I’ve had some problems with my shoulders,” King said then. “But soft-tissue stuff, everybody has that. I’m not worried about that. You come into the league and you miss a few games early, that’s just, they jump to the conclusion: injury prone.”
The Packers may get Breeland (groin) back this week. He practiced some last week and is ramping it up this week to see if he can get back on the field. He missed four games with the groin injury but made it back for three straight before aggravating it Nov. 15 against Seattle.
He hasn’t played since.
Jackson has been the beneficiary of all the playing time with King and Breeland out. Heading into the Atlanta game, he has played 67 percent of all defensive snaps.
And as hard as it has been for him playing a different style of coverage than he played in college and going up against top-flight receivers such as Adam Thielen, Stefon Diggs, Doug Baldwin and Larry Fitzgerald, he’s logging minutes that can do nothing but help him later.
“It’s been a great learning experience,” Jackson said. “I’m taking everything in and trying to get better. I just haven’t made the plays I want to make.”
The Packers also put running back Tra Carson (rib) on injured reserve and claimed cornerback Natrell Jamerson off waivers from Houston and defensive lineman Fadol Brown off waivers from Oakland.
The 5-11, 201-pound Jamerson played at Wisconsin and was a fifth-round pick of the New Orleans Saints in April, but he was cut after training camp. The Texans claimed him off waivers and he played in 10 games, mostly on special teams.
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Jamerson ran a 4.4-second 40-yard dash and registered a 35-inch vertical jump at the scouting combine. The Packers have a need on special teams and will probably start him off there.
The 6-4, 282-pound Brown was an undrafted free agent out of Mississippi in 2017 and spent all of last year on the Raiders' practice squad. This year he played in eight games and had 17 tackles and a pass break-up.
The Packers had 15 players on their injury list. Among those who did not practice were tackle Bryan Bulaga (knee), guard Byron Bell (knee), tight end Jimmy Graham (knee/thumb) and safety Raven Greene (ankle).
Guard Lane Taylor (foot), receiver Randall Cobb (hamstring) and linebacker Clay Matthews (ankle) were limited. Long snapper Hunter Bradley injured his foot in practice but was a full participant.
Safety Kentrell Brice (ankle/concussion) returned and was a limited participant.
For the Falcons, receiver Julio Jones (foot), defensive tackle Grady Jarrett (shoulder) and tight end Logan Paulsen (knee/ankle) did not participate.
Falcons coach Dan Quinn said he would miss the match-ups he had against former head coach Mike McCarthy both as head coach and defensive coordinator.
“I was bummed just because of my adoration and respect for him through the years,” Quinn said. “Coaching against Green Bay with Mike has been as challenging and fun and difficult as you’d imagine it. I’m bummed for him.
“I know in the profession sometimes that takes place. But (he’s) really a coach that I have a respect for and we’ve had some good battles over the years.”
'Playing for Joe'
The playoffs are not on the line in the final month of the 2018 season, but quarterback Aaron Rodgers recognized one thing that could provide motivation.
Rodgers stopped short of giving Joe Philbin an endorsement for the Packers to remove the first word from his “interim head coach” job title, but he acknowledged the Packers' final four games will be important for his longtime offensive coordinator.
“I think, doing things the right way,” Rodgers said, “and playing for Joe and giving him the best opportunity moving forward is important to a lot of us.”
Rodgers was then asked if he would like to continue playing for Philbin as his head coach. Team president/CEO Mark Murphy, who will make the hire, called Philbin a “legitimate candidate” Monday.
“That’s a decision that is not going to be made with my expert opinion,” he said. “It’d be great to play great for him and give him an opportunity. Like I said, that’s important. We all love Joe, especially those of us who have been here for a long time and know what he went through in ’11, and then all of us were excited to have him back.
“It’d be nice to give him an opportunity.”