Green Bay Packers cornerback Jaire Alexander said that not covering Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson was not his decision. It was the coaches’ decision.
The Green Bay Packers opened up their 2022 season looking to show the NFL world that they can still contend for the Super Bowl, even though they had high-profile departures such as wide receiver Davante Adams and linebacker Za’Darius Smith. They faced the Minnesota Vikings in Week 1, but they were beaten 23-7, and watched wide receiver Justin Jefferson record nine receptions for 184 yards and two touchdowns.
The performance of Jefferson was notable, because Green Bay’s top cornerback, Jaire Alexander, was not matching up with him. After the game, Alexander told The Athletic’s Matt Schneidman and ESPN’s Rob Demovsky that he was asking coaches to defend Jefferson, but said “it’s about the team.”
Jaire Alexander says decision not to cover Justin Jefferson was made by Packers coaches
That is certainly an interesting development as, usually, the top cornerback matches up with the top wide receiver.
On the day following the loss, Packers head coach Matt LaFleur spoke about now having Alexander matching up with Jefferson, saying that they would have to commit to man coverage. Meanwhile, Green Bay’s defense plays primarily in zone coverage.
Jefferson made an impact from the jump, scoring a touchdown on the very first drive of the game. The majority of the damage Jefferson did happened in the first half, as he caught six passes for 158 yards and two touchdowns. Overall, Jefferson’s nine receptions happened on 11 targets from Cousins.
The Packers wide receivers, meanwhile, had just 95 total receiving yards in the entire game.
For those wondering why Alexander was not covering Alexander, the cornerback and the head coach revealed the reasoning behind the decision.