How Kevin King's Injury Impacts the Packers Season
The Packers have placed rookie cornerback Kevin King on season-ending injured reserve Wednesday. In his place, Green Bay activated cornerback Demetri Goodson from the physically unable to perform (PUP) list.
A shoulder injury suffered early in training camp doomed King's rookie season. This particular injury is related to a torn labrum he suffered as a freshman at Washington, and it's unclear whether he'll have surgery to repair the shoulder.
Head coach Mike McCarthy praised King's toughness before the team's loss against the Steelers.
"I can't give [King] enough credit for fighting through what he has," McCarthy said. "There's week where he has to prove it each week in practice, and when he does that he's afforded the opportunity to play. I think that's a real credit for him to battle back each and every time."
King finishes his rookie campaign appearing in nine games. He failed to record an interception, but did breakup eight passes.
What Kevin King’s injury means for the Packers
King’s unusually tall height (6-3) for a cornerback gave Green Bay the ability to mix and match other corners on defense. His arrival through the draft signaled a departure from last season’s patchwork defensive backfield, and now his injury likely means a return to the team’s previous form.
Additionally, the pressure remains on cornerback Damarious Randall.
It’s been a roller coaster of a season for Randall, a former first round pick. In October, Jon talked about how his season was spiraling downward after being sent into the locker room in the second half of the team’s Thursday night win over the Bears.
Long-time Packers beat writer Bob McGinn went as far as to call for Randall’s trade or release following the Thursday night incident. “Four players among the last 12 selections in the first round of the 2015 NFL draft have been traded in the past 40 days,” McGinn wrote on October 7. “Cornerback Damarious Randall of the Green Bay Packers should become the fifth.”
One month later following the team’s blowout loss at home to the Lions on Monday Night Football, Randall called the Packers’ defense “very predictable.”
Randall’s balanced a fine line as a cornerback between being considered lucky or good. He leads the team in ballhawks (interceptions + passed defended + forced fumbles + sacks), a measure that showcases a defensive player’s ability to get his hands on the football.
If Randall struggles, the margin for error at cornerback is slim to none. Behind Randall is Davon House, Josh Hawkins, Lenzy Pipkins and Donatello Brown. House and Hawkins are the only two who have seen considerable snaps on defense this season. It's worth noting that Morgan Burnett played 28 snaps against the Buccaneers in the slot playing corner, too.
The return of cornerback Demetri Goodson
Goodson was drafted by the Packers in 2014’s sixth round and has struggled to stay healthy throughout his professional career. He’s appeared in just 28 of a possible 67 regular season and postseason games, though he did start in three contests in 2016.
It’s encouraging that Goodson is physically able to play again after a horrendous looking injury against the Redskins in late November ended his 2016 season.