“This guy is a really good football player, and I think he’s got a great future in the league. I think he’ll be one of the top corners in the game for quite a while here. He’s a great kid. He’s got great energy. He loves football and has great football skills; fast, athletic, good hands, good ball skills, can tackle, can play inside in the slot, can play outside on the perimeter, good zone vision, break on the ball, good man-to-man coverage, has good quickness, can match up with fast receivers, can match up with quick receivers.” – Bill Belichick on Jaire Alexander
What a ringing endorsement. When the best head coach in NFL history says something like that, it gets the blood going. Belichick said that in 2018 in the week leading up to the Packers-Patriots game, when Alexander was a rookie. The talent has always been there and now in his 3rd season, Alexander looks to continue his hot start to 2020 and be among the leagues best DB’s.
Last week against the Vikings, the University of Louisville alum made his presence felt in gargantuan fashion. The Vikings scored a Touchdown and took a 7-3 lead against the Packers. That’s when Aaron Rodgers and Co. responded with a 12 play, 74 yard drive that took over 6 minutes off the clock….only to be denied on 3 straight plays from the Vikings 1 yard line and ultimately give the ball back to Minnesota.
The momentum had swung and you could feel it. Although early in the game, those were points you were really hoping the Packers would get and they had failed to capitalize. That’s when Jaire Alexander took the game into his own hands and came to the rescue.
The Vikings were backed up on their own 4 yard line, and on 2nd and 7, ran a play action pass in hopes of taking a deep shot down the field. Alexander was lined up on the far right side of the field and when he saw WR Adam Thielen in motion, it signaled to Jaire that this was a run play. He dismissed his coverage assignment and shot like a cannon into the backfield.
Before Cousins could even buy half a second to scan the field after his play-fake, he was met with a crunch by #23 in white and toppled to the U.S. Bank turf. Alexander took a gamble… and incorrectly guessed that a run play was coming; it was a pass. Nonetheless, the star-studded Cornerback found himself in the perfect position to sack Cousins in the end-zone, giving the Packers 2 points and the ball back on a safety that instantly turned the wave of momentum back to Green Bay.
The 23 year old, Charlotte, NC native wasn’t done. With 34 seconds to go in the 2nd quarter, the Packers were leading 15-7. The Vikings offense was attempting to push the ball down the field to get some points before halftime. On 2nd and 10 from their own 25 yard line, Adam Thielen ran a route that I’ve burned my brother on many times playing backyard football. Fake the (In) Post, do a flag. Alexander, playing off coverage, was in perfect position to take advantage of a pass thrown slightly behind Thielen. When the football arrived, both Thielen and Alexander did some hand fighting on a contested pass and as the ball fluttered in the air, it was the young CB that came away victorious with the football and an interception.
The season remains young, with 1 game down and 15 to go. Alexander will have many opportunities to continue his climb in play and show the world on a National Level that he’s one of the best CB’s in the NFL. He made the NFL All-Rookie Team in 2018 and was 4th in the league in Passes Defended in 2019. Could we see even a bigger jump in 2020? His opening day performance is a great sign for the Packers.——————
Alex grew up in a family of Chicago Bears fans in the suburbs of Chicago but was always a Packers guy. Alex\'s AIM name when he was in elementary/middle school was PackerAlex. He now lives in Nashville, Tennessee and you can follow him on twitter at @Alex_Mayer93.