Packers rookies King, Jones standing out on defense

GREEN BAY, Wis. — The Packers got a glimpse of what their top two draft picks are capable of during Sunday’s win over the Cincinnati Bengals, with hybrid safety/linebacker Josh Jones and cornerback Kevin King making their first NFL starts.

And they did not disappoint.

“Anytime you can get your young players in there and get that experience, (it’s valuable),” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Monday, one day after the team’s 27-24 overtime victory over the Bengals.

“The plan is to win the game but you’re always, always very cognizant — I always have been — of getting these young players in.

“Let’s face it, when we get to November, December, there’s a very high probability that these guys are going to be playing major roles in these game plans and these big games.”

King and Jones had an impact on an unseasonably hot September Sunday, too.

Also among those impressed by the two youngsters, especially with Jones: Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who led a 75-yard fourth-quarter touchdown drive that forced overtime, then hit Geronimo Allison for a 72-yard catch-and-run to set up Mason Crosby’s game-winning field goal.

Jones, who didn’t play a single snap on defense against Seattle in the Sept. 10 regular-season opener for his NFL debut, registered a team-high 12 tackles and had two sacks and three total tackles for loss.

“He was fantastic, he really was. It’s fun to watch him play and get confident,” Rodgers said of Jones. “(That’s important) for young players like that, and for Josh especially.

“He got a lot of action and he made the most of it. He was huge for us with the sacks, with the stops, with the coverage. I’m really happy for him. It was the stuff that we saw in training camp.”

Jones played the hybrid linebacker position as one of four safeties the Packers played for most of the game Sunday.

With safety Kentrell Brice (groin) and inside linebacker Jake Ryan (hamstring/concussion) out, Jones played the linebacker role, veteran Morgan Burnett worked in the slot and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Marwin Evans served as the traditional safeties.

The approach worked, as the Packers limited the Bengals to just 109 second-half yards and did not allow them to convert a third down (0 for 5) after halftime.

“It’s satisfying to know that your preparation paid off, but this is a long season,” said Jones, who made a crucial tackle on a third down to end the Bengals’ only possession of overtime,…

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