Packers think rookie CB Eric Stokes did ‘outstanding job’ in first start

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His first NFL start was marred by two questionable pass interference calls, but the Green Bay Packers were happy with the way rookie cornerback Eric Stokes played on Sunday night against the San Francisco 49ers.

“I thought he competed and did a really nice job,” coach Matt LaFleur said Monday. “Yeah, I thought he did an outstanding job.”

Stokes was targeted five times but allowed just two catches for 22 yards, both to Brandon Aiyuk. He had perfect coverage and contested an incompletion thrown to Deebo Samuel in the second half, and he was in decent position against George Kittle on Jaire Alexander’s interception in the first quarter.

LaFleur didn’t agree with either pass interference penalty called on Stokes. The second – against Aiyuk on a deep throw on third-and-long in the second half – was especially egregious. The coverage was good and the contact was minimal. What should have been a key stop ended up extending a touchdown drive.

Overall, Stokes played all 70 snaps on defense. He started in place of Kevin King, who was ruled out with an illness on Saturday.

Through three games, Stokes has been targeted 10 times but allowed only three catches for 27 yards. He has three pass breakups, and opposing quarterbacks have a passer rating of just 72.9 when targeting him.

It will be hard for the Packers to keep Stokes off the field moving forward. He made big plays in his first extended action against the Detroit Lions in Week 2 and was solid in his first career start against an explosive offense in San Francisco on Sunday night.