GREEN BAY, Wis. — Green Bay Packers cornerback Jaire Alexander has as much respect for Justin Jefferson as he does any NFL wide receiver.
He just doesn’t think the Minnesota Vikings star will repeat his season opener performance — 11 catches for 184 yards and two touchdowns in the 23-7 win over the Packers on Sept. 11 — when the two teams come together. meet at Lambeau Field on Sunday.
“You just have to be real: he doesn’t jump without a great suit and gets dressed and jumps outside, you hear me?” Alexander said Thursday. “Me neither, sometimes. But he [is] human, that’s what I say. We don’t put too much on anyone.
“He’s a very good receiver. But at the end of the day, I’m a very good corner. We have very good corners, we have very good linebackers, the D line, whatever. I don’t want to focus too much on that person because it’s like the first game was a fluke.”
Alexander, who was named to the Pro Bowl this season for the second time in his career, said Jefferson was among his top three receivers.
“Davante Adams No. 1, and I think [Miami’s Jaylen] Waddle may have snuck in there last weekend,” Alexander said. “I think he’s a really good receiver.”
Alexander and teammate Rasul Douglas played down the first meeting of this season. In fact, they said they didn’t spend time watching the footage of what Jefferson did when he had six of his catches for 158 yards and both touchdowns in the first half.
“I don’t really remember that game,” Douglas said. “I sort of eliminated all the games in the first half of the season.”
However, it’s not like Packers defensive coordinator Joe Barry ignored that first meeting. Defensive coaches included several of those plays in their movie clippings this week.
“In an NFL football season, that was a long time ago,” Barry said. “But we studied it and we watched it and of course there are things that they did that they still do. So, of course, we looked at those things. But you live and learn from every experience, and that’s certainly one we learned and on to the next.”
Since then, Douglas has moved from the lunging position to an outside cornerback berth, and Alexander has been used on occasion to track a specific receiver throughout a game – a strategy Barry has not employed against. Jefferson in Game 1.
“Well, [Jefferson] going to get his touches,” Packers coach Matt LaFleur said. “It’s actually funny you ask that question because I was watching his game-by-game production, and they’re doing a great job moving him around. That is why it presents certain challenges. Unless you just want to lock him up and play man, which opens a new Pandora’s box with every snap of your fingers, it’s hard to figure out where he’ll be. I think you have to do a great job of giving him different looks, but you still have to be aware of where he is on the pitch.”
The Packers (7-8) would be knocked out of the playoffs with a Sunday loss combined with a Detroit Lions (over the Chicago Bears) or Washington Commanders (over the Cleveland Browns) win. Even if they win their last two games, they will need help in the form of a Commanders loss or two Giants losses to get in.