After Green Bay had a somewhat surprising inactive during last week’s home game, Packers head coach Matt LaFleur seems optimistic his team will have both of its starting cornerbacks available come Sunday.
LaFleur sounded optimistic about the status of Kevin King ahead of Sunday’s noon CT kickoff against the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field after the starting cornerback was ruled out for Week 14’s game against the Washington Redskins with a shoulder injury. King was limited in the first two practices last week before becoming a full participant on Friday, only to be downgraded from questionable to out before kickoff.
“I think he’s in a good spot right now,” LaFleur said Thursday afternoon of King, who was limited in Wednesday and Thursday’s sessions this week. “We’ll see how he progresses, still got another day and then three days until game time, but I like where he’s at right now.”
It stands to reason the Packers (10-3) were extra cautious with King’s injury against a two-win team on their home field, especially given their postseason aspirations, but a final stretch of three games against NFC North rivals increases the need for them to be at full strength.
The Bears (7-6) are still in the hunt for the playoffs after winning three of their last games and are likely hungry for revenge after the Packers defeated them in Chicago in the season opener. Meanwhile, the Vikings (9-4) are just one game back in the division with a prime-time game against the Packers in Minnesota looming in Week 16.
“Those games are so meaningful,” LaFleur said of his team’s NFC North bouts. “We made a big emphasis on winning those division games, and it just so happens where we are in the season and where we sit in the division and what’s at stake, it’s a huge game (against Chicago).”
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Veteran Cornerback Has Been Pleasant Surprise
In the second year of his contract, 36-year-old Tramon Williams has been something of an unsung hero for the Packers defense and continues to be effective in the slot as a complement to King and Jaire Alexander on the outside. His versatility and veteran knowledge of the game have even been deployed at the safety position a few times this year.
Williams, who is in his 13th NFL season, might not just off of the stat sheets with just 30 tackles, but he also has five passes defended, two interceptions and a forced fumble. Both picks have come during the Packers’ last four games, with one coming in the end zone against the Carolina Panthers in Week 10 and the other helping put away the New York Giants in Week 13.
So, what’s been the veteran’s motivations for staying hungry? Analyst Larry McCarren posed the question to Williams heading into last week’s game against Washington.
“A little bit of everything,” Williams said. “I’ve got kids at home who are watching me now. I’ve got young guys in the DB room who continue to challenge me every day. And people see it differently. I’m the older guy, I’m teaching these young guys, but I’m learning from them at the same time. I always feel that you never get (too old) to learn.”