Jaire Alexander Wanted to Shadow Justin Jefferson; So He Conveniently Claims

Photo: USA Today

The Minnesota Vikings put on a clinic in how to stomp an improperly prepared opponent, on Sunday, when they ripped the Green Bay Packers apart at US Bank Stadium to open the 2022 NFL season. For whatever reason, the Packers didn’t center their coverage around Justin Jefferson and that allowed Kevin O’Connell to move him around and create massive mismatches throughout the day.

There were many plays where JJ was matched up against defensive backs not named Jaire Alexander and even snaps where he was covered by linebackers. LINEBACKERS!!! The result was 184 yards and 2 touchdowns, on 9 catches for the best wide receiver in the league.

Where was Jaire Alexander?

Jaire Alexander is propped up as one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL. PFF ranked him as the 2nd-best outside CB in football, entering the season. One ability that sets some of the best CBs apart from everybody else is their ability to matchup with the opponent’s WR1 on a game-in, game-out basis; shadowing them no matter where that receiver lines up. Only a handful of defensive backs each year are capable of such a task. For everyone else, it’s just abuse.

So, if Jaire Alexander is a top-5 defensive back, why wouldn’t the Packers have used him to tail Justin Jefferson on Sunday. He’d be better than a linebacker, right? These are the question everybody was asking after the game. Even Jaire, himself, apparently…

Monday Morning Cornerback

What a weird answer. If Jaire Alexander really did want Justin Jefferson 1v1, wouldn’t he, at the least, know why he isn’t getting that matchup? Sure, I can see Green Bay deciding not to shadow JJ. I think it’s a dumb decision, but it’s possible that a defensive coach, in week one of the season vs a new offensive play-caller, would rather not adjust his schemes for a constant 1v1 matchup in the passing game.

But wouldn’t Alexander have asked for an explanation? ‘Hey coach, I thought I’d be going against Jefferson in week one? I was kind of looking forward to it.’ That way, when JJ torches your defense for nearly 200 yards and two scores, you’ll know why you didn’t get your 1v1 matchup?

He was asked by Packers reporters on Friday if he was going to shadow Jefferson. His exact words were, “Wherever he wants to go, we’ll have the best guy on him.”. Well, now we know that “the best guy” to have on JJ probably wasn’t everybody not named Jaire Alexander.

It’s easy to say you wanted Justin Jefferson mano e mano, after the fact. But if you really wanted the challenge, you’d at least know why you didn’t get it.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan