Rookie Jaire Alexander sees game through the eyes of a veteran

Rob Demovsky, ESPN Staff Writer

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Jaire Alexander doesn’t like to sit still. That much has become evident in the first-round pick’s short tenure with the Green Bay Packers.

So imagine how difficult it was for the energetic young cornerback to have to watch last week’s preseason opener from the sideline while he nursed a groin injury.

That’s where a veteran like Davon House proved invaluable.

The eighth-year veteran played just 10 snaps against the Tennessee Titans and when his night’s work was done on the field, he went to work on the sideline. House stood at Alexander’s side often, helping the rookie see the game through the eyes of a veteran.

“I learned a bunch,” Alexander said. “Got to experience what a game is like — just trying to pay attention to the calls and the formations. See what the offense likes to run, and things like that. There were a lot of moving parts for me, so I was really concentrating on getting the play call and try to see myself in those positions.”

It left Alexander with an interesting conclusion.

“He says he can tell that the game isn’t as hard as everyone says it is — from watching it live,” House said. “Jaire isn’t a regular rookie. He’s kind of already in the flow of things.”

That may come across as cocky and perhaps even foolhardy; then again Alexander was the one who earlier in camp picked off Aaron Rodgers and started to call it a confidence builder only to stop himself and admit he has “plenty of that.”

It also could rub a veteran player the wrong way, but House said that’s not the case with Alexander.

“Everyone likes him; very likeable kid,” House said. “He’s eager, very coachable. We feed off of him. The energy he brings to the locker room, to the field when he makes plays, it’s always positive.”

There’s some merit to Alexander’s stance about the difficulty of the game, especially considering what he’s used to in practice.

“It is hard, but it isn’t as hard as what we’re going against in practice,” House said. “You’re going against A-Rod, Davante (Adams), Jimmy Graham, and then you see other teams and it’s not even close to what we go through in practice, which makes it easier.”

At some point, perhaps as soon as Thursday’s second preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Alexander will get his chance to show just how easy the game comes to him. He returned to practice in a limited capacity on Sunday but couldn’t guarantee he would play against Pittsburgh.

Until he does, expect him to be at the side of House or one of the other veterans.

“That’s something we’ve always promoted,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “It makes you proud, but that’s something our guys do a really good job of. … Our younger players closing that gap with the veteran players is vital to the success of our football team and getting ready for [Week 1 against] Chicago, and our guys do a great job of that.”

Photo: Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire