clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Cheese Curds, 11/18: With Jaire Alexander’s star shining brightly, is Rashan Gary next?

The Packers already have one young superstar on defense at cornerback. It’s still too early to project Rashan Gary to follow in Jaire Alexander’s footsteps, but he has at least taken some big steps forward.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars at Green Bay Packers Appleton Post-Crescent-USA TODAY NETWORK via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Hopefully when the Green Bay Packers head to the practice field this afternoon, cornerback Jaire Alexander will be able to participate. The third-year cornerback missed the last six quarters of football after suffering a concussion against the 49ers, and although the defense did not seem to dip in effectiveness much, that surely would not be the case if he were to continue to miss time moving forward.

Indeed, Alexander is the top-rated cornerback in the NFL by at least one set of analysts, and he has been a true lock-down player in every sense of the word this season. Sure, he has just one interception and three pass breakups. But he’s getting the Darrelle Revis or Richard Sherman treatment from opposing quarterbacks — they simply are not throwing at him.

While Alexander’s star turn has already taken place, the Packers are getting a growing feeling that they are seeing something similar from second-year edge rusher Rashan Gary. Perhaps Gary’s finest game as a pro came last Sunday against the Jaguars, when he sacked quarterback Jake Luton once and was responsible for several more pressures, many coming in the final few minutes.

If Gary continues his ascent this season and looks like the consistent force on the edge that the Packers hoped he could become, that will portend good things for the defense moving forward. Matching up a young, elite corner with a talented young pass rusher and a veteran (but still only 25) at the top of his game in Kenny Clark should make for a tremendous core on that side of the football.

What You Might’ve Missed: Closing the door |
While the Packers' pass rush got home twice on the final series of Sunday's game against the Jaguars, those sacks weren't the only nice plays the defense made in the final five minutes. Check out some very good pass coverage and a tremendous play by Kenny Clark to sniff out a screen pass as well.

Rashan Gary ready for more playing time |
We mentioned Gary a bit in this week's snap counts, but he seems to be healthy and turning on a switch. Perhaps most importantly, he seems to be learning which pass rush moves work for him, and it wouldn't be a surprise if his development ends up making the team decide that Preston Smith is expendable in the offseason.

PFF has 4 Packers players ranked No. 1 at their respective positions | Packers Wire
Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams, Corey Linsley, and Jaire Alexander are all in line for All-Pro votes at this point in the season.

Green Bay Packer CB Jaire Alexander is NFL's next big thing – The Athletic
Alexander's emergence in particular is impressive, and he has made meditation a key to the mental part of his game. But there's so much more to this young man that should make him one of fans' favorite players for years to come.

A new Packers' Marquez Valdes-Scantling or same old MVS?: Only time will tell - ESPN
Meanwhile, MVS has seen this story before. Inconsistency has been his calling card -- he averaged more yards per game in the first seven contests of 2019 than he has this year, but he caught just five passes over the final nine games of last season. If he can avoid the drops and keep being effective on routes other than gos, he can be a real weapon.

Wisbech police officer on misconduct charge over Krispy Kreme donuts from Tesco | Wisbech Standard
An officer is accused of taking a 7-cent barcode sticker from a bag of carrots and putting it over the donut box's barcode, saving almost 10 pounds in the process. He now faces a hearing over his breach of "the standard of professional behaviour."