Jaire Alexander, Kevin King talk (and play) a good game for Packers' D

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Aaron Rodgers made a proclamation after the Green Bay Packers gutted out a low-scoring win at the Chicago Bears in the season opener.

"We've got a defense," Rodgers said.

In many more words after the Packers' 21-16 Week 2 win over the Minnesota Vikings at Lambeau Field on Sunday, he essentially said: "We've got two cornerbacks, too."

Those words rang true -- even if Rodgers didn't say it directly -- after Jaire Alexander and Kevin King helped hold Packers-killing receivers Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen more than in check.

A year ago, Diggs and Thielen combined for 37 catches, 461 yards and five touchdowns in two games against the Packers. To equal that this season, they will have to combine for 31 catches, 337 yards and four touchdowns in the season rematch in Minnesota on Dec. 23.

Like safety Adrian Amos did against the Bears, King helped seal the game with a leaping fourth-quarter interception in the end zone.

"The thing that jumps out is ball skills," Rodgers said of the two corners. "Going against them for a couple years now, you have to be very accurate and smart about the type of ball and type of air you put on certain routes, because they're really good when the ball's in the air. Ja is fast; he's faster than Kev. But he can really go and track the ball in the air. And then Kev is just so physical. I think the thing that separates them from maybe other corner tandems is the football IQ, just understanding route concepts and break points and tendencies."

For Rodgers' money, the best cornerbacks the Packers have fielded during his time in Green Bay were Al Harris, Charles Woodson and Tramon Williams.

"They just knew based on splits, alignments, situations, the one or two routes to expect, and they would sit on those and anticipate," Rodgers said. "Al was obviously big and powerful and strong, and Kev is the same way. Long-armed, good in press, comfortable in press. And then Wood and Ja are very similar. I'm not going to compare them because Charles in my opinion is the greatest player I've ever played with and one of the greatest of all time. The ability to diagnose stuff quickly, like Charles, Ja does. He's got really good ball skills."

Save for a 45-yard deep-ball touchdown Diggs hauled in after he outran King in the third quarter, the Packers' cornerbacks stood proud -- and loud -- in the victorious locker room.

Even on that touchdown, Alexander, who appeared to be in position to pick it off only to whiff on the ball, said it never would have happened had he not lost the ball in the sun.

"You check out my one-on-one coverage, I was on them boys all day," Alexander said. "I'm going to make them plays."

That touchdown was Diggs' only catch of the day on seven targets, while Thielen was targeted eight times and caught five for 75 yards. Among Alexander's two pass breakups was a goal-line swat of a would-be 13-yard touchdown for Diggs late in the second quarter on a drive that ended with a field goal.

"We're putting everybody on notice," Alexander said. "This is a really good defense. This is a really good secondary at that. So we're just putting people on notice. It feels real good, though."

The Packers eased King back last week, limiting him to 58% of the defensive snaps coming off a hamstring injury that sidelined him for a month of the preseason. Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine took any restrictions off King in Week 2.

Last season, the Packers barely got to see their preferred cornerback duo on the field together. Because of injuries -- mostly to King, whose hamstring injury ended his season after only six games -- they played fewer than 200 snaps together. King, the 33rd overall pick in the 2017 draft, played only nine games as a rookie.

"Kevin King, he's a baller," Alexander said. "He's hot right now. Shoot, I mean, he's putting everybody on notice as well. Me and him, shoot, the best tandem in the league, I feel like. Go watch the play-by-play. We strapped them boys up. So, yeah, Kevin King is really good."

Though Alexander's claim about the tandem seems far-fetched -- remember, they've faced Mitchell Trubisky and Kirk Cousins so far this season -- perhaps all that matters is that they believe it.

"That's the feel; that's gotta be the feel," King said. "That's always the feel. You know what I'm saying? We've been doing that. We've been doing that. We've been preparing for that. We've just got to go out there and show that, to prove ourselves right."

Alexander hasn't lacked for confidence since the day he showed up after the Packers picked him 18th overall in the 2018 draft.

"The thing that all great corners have is confidence," Rodgers said. "You'd think every NFL player has confidence, or every corner has confidence. But we've had some guys over the years when that big stud receiver was coming to town they might not be up for that challenge. Not Jaire, and definitely not Kevin."