Jaire Alexander Injury Creates Serious Problem for the Packers

The Green Bay Packers beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 4, but the victory came at a terrible price. Pro Bowl cornerback Jaire Alexander suffered a shoulder injury that will sideline him indefinitely.

Besides quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Alexander is the player the Packers can least afford to lose over the long term. Alexander is a shutdown cover cornerback, a rare commodity in the NFL in 2021. Last season, the former Louisville star made the Pro Bowl despite intercepting only one pass all season.

Why? Because in a league where quarterbacks complete roughly two-thirds of their passes, opposing quarterbacks completed only 51.3 percent of the passes they through to receivers covered by Alexander according to pro-football-reference.com. Alexander only allowed two touchdowns all season and opposing quarterbacks had a quarterback rating of just 67.4 when targeting receivers covered by “Ja’Money.”

There are only a handful of cornerbacks in the NFL who can take a receiver out of a game or prevent a quarterback from even trying to throw to his side of the field. Alexander is one of the few who fit that description.

Wide receiver Davante Adams told reporters, “It’s obviously big shoes to fill. Jaire’s all over the place. He makes a lot of plays. It’s not often that a play is made on him.”

“He prepares the right way, he’s a pro,” Packers head coach Matt LaFleur added. “Not to mention, he’s pretty damn good at corner, as well. I just think he’s the complete package.”

The other reason the Packers can ill-afford to lose their top cover corner is the lack of depth behind him on the current roster. The next two players on the depth chart don’t even come close to matching the skills of Alexander.

Veteran Kevin King has struggled again this season when he’s been in the lineup. King missed the last two games due to a concussion and has yet to play 16 games in a season during his five-year NFL career.

In the first two games of the season, King was beaten often by opposing pass catchers. Quarterbacks completed 75 percent of their passes to receivers covered by King and their quarterback rating was 156.2. The University of Washington alum got beaten deep several times and was caught out of position on plays that led to big gains by both the Saints and the Lions.

King is expected to return to the lineup against the Bengals but after missing the last two games and struggling in the first two, can he help Joe Barry’s defense contain the potent Cincinnati passing game featuring rookie wideout Ja’Marr Chase?

The other likely starter at boundary corner in Alexander’s absence is rookie first-round pick Eric Stokes. The former Georgia star was pressed into a larger role on the defense when King suffered his concussion.

Stokes has outstanding speed and is gradually adjusting to the NFL game. He has spent training camp and the early part of the season learning about life in the NFL the more complex defensive schemes and offensive playbooks of this league.

The potential is clearly there and at times, Stokes has made outstanding plays. He made his first career interception last week off Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger and he has already broken up six passes through his first four NFL games.

But like most rookies, Stokes has moments where his inexperience causes problems. He still needs to work on his ball skills and technique before he is truly ready to be an elite cornerback.

Chandon Sullivan will remain the Packers slot corner but depth becomes a real issue with Isaac Yiadom and Shemar Jean-Charles the next two players available for duty at boundary corner. Yiadom struggled throughout the preseason when he was called upon to cover receivers while Jean-Charles is a rookie making the big jump from Appalachian State to the NFL. While Jean-Charles also has potential, he is far from a finished product who the team can count on right now to be a major contributor or starter on defense.

It is still not clear how long Alexander will miss. The Packers are essentially going to give his shoulder a chance to mend and hope that it heals correctly in a few weeks and won’t require surgery. Alexander may also need to wear a harness or some other device to protect the shoulder when he finally does return to action. It’s not clear if that will limit his effectiveness when he does return to the lineup.

The loss of Jaire Alexander is a big blow to the Packers defense. The team does not have any player on their roster who can do what Alexander does. This will be a real test for the team’s depth and for the coaching staff to figure out a way to continue to play at a high level on defense without their top cover corner and their most effective pass rusher (Za’Darius Smith who remains on IR after undergoing back surgery).

If this season is the last dance and the Packers are all in, the challenge just got tougher. But championship teams overcome obstacles like this. The first game without Alexander is Sunday in Cincinnati. We’ll see how the Packers respond.

You can follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers

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3 points

Comments (57)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
Fabio's picture

October 09, 2021 at 12:16 pm

At the beginning of the season I said we should acquire Gilmoure. I know the CAP did not allow this, but we should have opted for Scherman so that Stokes could advance calmly, but in case of injuries (not necessarily as serious as Jaire) we would have been covered anyway. Now we would have had a very experienced CB as a replacement and that inspires even more of a fear in the opponent Qs.
Instead we have King ........
Greetings from Italy
GPG

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croatpackfan's picture

October 09, 2021 at 02:28 pm

Sherman is not elite corner anymore. He is not even good.

5 points
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NickPerry's picture

October 09, 2021 at 02:58 pm

I hear you Fabio but there's that think called the salary cap that made that more less a impossibility. I'm with you, a secondary with Alexander, Gilmore, Savage, and Amos would have been the BEST in the NFL. But the cost to do so would have made the Packers have difficulty signing some of their own. Guys like Alexander, Savage, Jenkins, & Gary to name a few.

6 points
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Fabio's picture

October 10, 2021 at 04:50 am

Hi Nick!
I'm with you.
Signing Gilmoure was now impossible. At the beginning of the season it would have involved other choices (extensions, cuts ....). This is why I think Scherman would have been a good compromise! It could have been done early in the season (and now we would be at least at the same level as we are with King), it certainly had to be done now.
We will see how King behaves with us and RS with Tampa
Greetings from Italy
GPG

2 points
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NickPerry's picture

October 10, 2021 at 11:36 am

I actually liked the idea of Richard Sherman coming to GB for at least a try out to see what's left. Clearly not the same player, but compared to King or any other depth pieces he may have been worth it. Then the tape of him being drunk and banging on the door demanding to be let in the house. Once that surfaced, there was no way he was coming to GB...LOL

I'm excited about Rasoul Douglass and even more excited about Jayln Smith. The Packers just need to get by Cincinnati somehow despite all these injuries. King needs to play like the King of 2 years ago when he was at least serviceable.

You have to wonder how much MORE damage Jenkins did to his ankle while continuing to play on it after injuring it in Detroit. He said it was injured during the game, but played every snap. With Bakhtiari out and now Meyers, the starting line is getting a little scary.

0 points
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ImaPayne's picture

October 10, 2021 at 11:33 am

Hate to disagree but I think we needed him and few others beside and get rid of the money to King and others. This is cheap ball. They paid King because they knew no one else would want him so he was a Rodgers discount.
The Pack Org is not serious about a SB team.

0 points
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PatrickGB's picture

October 09, 2021 at 12:35 pm

There was no way this team could have afforded Gilmore without cutting someone. The whole thing was a BB ruse.
Alexander is great but all his backups have to be is good. Some of them will fail and some of them will step up.

11 points
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JohnnyLogan's picture

October 09, 2021 at 12:52 pm

"There was no way this team could have afforded Gilmores..." What if we'd never signed King, Lowry, Lancaster, Patrick, Summers, or Burks?...

-7 points
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CJ Bauckham's picture

October 09, 2021 at 01:18 pm

Ok guys here's the plan. We're gonna just not sign any guys to fill holes on the roster cause my crystal ball says Jaire's gonna get hurt and Gilmore will become available in week 5 of the regular season. Sound good? Ready, break!

...seriously?

4 points
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dobber's picture

October 09, 2021 at 02:47 pm

...for the win!

2 points
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JohnnyLogan's picture

October 09, 2021 at 05:28 pm

We don't have the money, the oft-used cliche excuse. Do you really think King, Lowry, Lancaster, Patrick, Summers, and Burks, can't be replaced by cheaper versions? All six of those players are not only useless they're liabilities. The kind of players who you shouldn't play even if they pay you.

Tampa Bay has a Hall of Fame QB, four great receivers, a great O line, and a fairly good defense. Yet they still tried to sign Josh Gordon. Who got him?... KC.

During the Thompson years, the excuse for not filling holes was it wasn't wise to give up draft capital, so we passed on Marshawn Lynch and Randy Moss, both of whom wanted to play for the Packers. Lynch led Seattle to a SB and Moss caught 20 TD's from Brady.

Yesterday it was draft capital, today it's we don't have the money.

It's about choices.

-4 points
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MWendlandt's picture

October 09, 2021 at 09:14 pm

Considering that Burks and Summers are on rookie contracts, Lancaster is on a very cheap deal, and Patrick is on a good deal for a guy who provides depth and versatility, no you can't replace them with cheaper versions. And argue all you want about King and Lowry, but while they're not up to the lofty standards of Packers social media, they also have a role to play on this team whether you like it or not.

5 points
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Alberta_Packer's picture

October 09, 2021 at 07:13 pm

5 down votes - really! Have all the amnesiacs replied to JLs comment? I don't recall too many, if any, commenters saying that King was a good signing. And Lowry at 7m ' yr. for just making 1 or 2 good plays a game (if that). While Lancaster is strictly a depth or rotational player - not of a starting calibre. As for Summers and Burks - that is why the Packers just signed J. Smith.

Meanwhile the Packers could have signed Casey Hayward for 2.5m this year.

2 points
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Coldworld's picture

October 10, 2021 at 10:03 am

Go in with 47 players? Even vet minimums mount up and eat into the savings.

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ImaPayne's picture

October 10, 2021 at 11:34 am

You hit the nail pal. Dump King, dump a few others and get some real play makers on D to support Jaire.
King plays today, Burrows will be drooling all over himself and thanking his God.

0 points
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Coldworld's picture

October 09, 2021 at 12:48 pm

I’d elevate Ento. I’d rather have an extra player who can cover on the perimeter than rely on King staying healthy or competent or on SJC, who really lacks the speed to profile as a boundary corner at this level. No option is ideal, but I think it’s better to be armed with alternatives than just hope.

7 points
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dobber's picture

October 09, 2021 at 02:49 pm

...a guy who's a willing tackler, but can't cover, or a guy who covers but can't tackle.

Get Rod Serling to read it and it sounds like the start of a Twilight Zone episode.

6 points
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LeotisHarris's picture

October 09, 2021 at 04:08 pm

Excellent take, dobber.

Serling had quite a life. It's definitely worth the trip down the rabbit hole to read about him.

4 points
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Since'61's picture

October 09, 2021 at 11:10 pm

Cookie! Thanks, Since ‘61

1 points
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Since'61's picture

October 10, 2021 at 10:09 am

Double post.

1 points
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Coldworld's picture

October 10, 2021 at 10:13 am

Rod Sterling aside, I would go with coverage ability every time.

2 points
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Since'61's picture

October 09, 2021 at 12:54 pm

Hopefully we get Jaire back at some point. If not his loss could be the factor for not achieving an SB victory yet again, especially once we’re in the playoffs. The drop off behind him and Stokes is just to severe.

The only possible remedy could be a ferocious pass rush. That has yet to evolve but may be feasible to achieve as the season goes on. GPG! Thanks, Since ‘61

3 points
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Kevin Carpenter's picture

October 09, 2021 at 01:41 pm

With our outside linebacking injuries, I don't see that happening either. Rivers just got sent to IR and while not an all-pro, he did get pressure on the QB when he was called upon. I'm not sure the combination of Smith, Gary and Garvin will be enough. They're really going to have to start pushing Keke and Clark.

0 points
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croatpackfan's picture

October 09, 2021 at 02:30 pm

Packers signed Hamilton to fill the hole made by Rivers IR.

1 points
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Bearmeat's picture

October 09, 2021 at 02:18 pm

61,

Z needs to come back before the playoffs if we are going to win it all. We don't have a good pass rush right now. Not good enough to win tough games on the road in January anyway. We need a pass rush for that.

7 points
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Since'61's picture

October 09, 2021 at 11:17 pm

Agree Bearmeat. We need Gary and P. Smith to step up. Plus our new ILB may be able to generate pressure from the inside. If either Heflin or Keke can contribute that would help Clark get to the QB as well. Add Z back into the mix hopefully and we could develop consistent pressure.

If the front 7 can’t get the job done we’ll be playing in shootouts without Jaire. Thanks, Since ‘61

1 points
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dobber's picture

October 09, 2021 at 02:51 pm

Packers are going to have to work harder to manufacture pressure. Think back to Burks and Harris blowing through the A gaps in preseason. That's largely gone away...gonna need to see more stuff like that.

3 points
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TheBigCheeze's picture

October 09, 2021 at 01:01 pm

Pass rush has to be more aggressive......especially NOW!!!....🧀🧀🧀

5 points
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DTowleJr's picture

October 09, 2021 at 01:03 pm

Since the option of surgery is being considered for the AC Joint injury, we can assume that it's a Grade 3 injury. Therefore, you have to ask the question: when Jaire gets back on the field, is his tackling going to suffer, is the injury going to get into his head and maybe change how he tackles? Alexander's psyche is a big part of his game, so if doubt creeps in, how will he handle that? Is he strong enough mentally to shed the bad plays that inevitably will occur? Those are some pretty hefty questions - I hope the #Packers and Jaire Alexander have the correct answers.

0 points
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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

October 09, 2021 at 08:17 pm

True but as much as I want Jaire back I hope they are thinking about his long term health

2 points
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Coldworld's picture

October 10, 2021 at 10:09 am

It certainly affected Tramon. This would alter usage of the surrounding S and DB players, but one has to have coverage first if it is available.

1 points
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EnemyTerritory's picture

October 09, 2021 at 02:03 pm

Trade for an elite CB and a pass rusher for a player to be named (Rodgers) later….

-8 points
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TarynsEyes's picture

October 09, 2021 at 02:17 pm

The Packers' secondary has one arm tied behind their back which places high pressure on the front 7 to get the job done that it really hasn't been able to do or been built to do. They can still survive, but the offense scoring 30+ isn't such an advantage or counter to the defensive woes old or new.

-2 points
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Bearmeat's picture

October 09, 2021 at 07:02 pm

Of course it's a big blow. I'm just thankful that he might be able to heal up in a few weeks. If he can come back by AZ, we very well could/should be 6-1 by that point. Tomorrow will be dicey, but CHI and WAS are truly awful. We will win those games.

1 points
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jhtobias's picture

October 09, 2021 at 02:23 pm

Except for the loss of jaire or rodgers overcoming anything is possible.

Well if joe berry can overcome zadarious and jaire and also having to play kevin king .. he should be defensive coordinator of the century..

Packers 2011 here we come

-1 points
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Packers0808's picture

October 09, 2021 at 02:29 pm

This just might be the thing needed for King to come out and really start playing well with him knowing relying on his play is now pretty much the key to winning in the passing game!

1 points
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LeotisHarris's picture

October 09, 2021 at 04:00 pm

If only the Packers had thought to drop this wisdom on Kevin in the NFCCG....

Jerry Gray: "King!"

Kevin: "What, Coach?"

Jerry Gray: "Your play is now pretty much the key to winning in the passing game!"

Kevin: "Got it!"

4 points
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Packers0808's picture

October 09, 2021 at 05:31 pm

And you just never know! Maybe he will make many eat crow, never know when it all clicks and on from there. Happens for many player 3-4 years into their career!

4 points
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Fabio's picture

October 10, 2021 at 04:57 am

For now, DONG has done more than clicking! (LOL)
It's just a joke !!
I hope he can do it too!
Greetings from Italy
GPG

1 points
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Coldworld's picture

October 10, 2021 at 10:12 am

If I wanted to maximize King I’d use him in press. It is pretty pointless hoping he can suddenly become an off coverage corner. SHC and the guy we picked up this week lack top end speed. Yiadom seems to lack instincts. My choice would be to let King press and take any adverse calls as the cost of doing so.

1 points
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ImaPayne's picture

October 11, 2021 at 09:07 pm

ya he got hurt again. this guy is a China doll. i saw the so called hit and it looked like nothing but he held hus shoulder and ran off the field
Blame Ted the doofus Thompson who ignored Kings two major shoulder injuries in college and all the games he missed and drafted this turd.

0 points
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Lphill's picture

October 09, 2021 at 02:32 pm

Almost a week since the injury and all we get is wait and see , that didn’t bode well for Z Smith , I wonder if 13timesachump has any insight ?

-3 points
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dobber's picture

October 09, 2021 at 02:53 pm

Nobody gives any more information than they have to. To expect any different is to not be paying attention.

5 points
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Fabio's picture

October 10, 2021 at 04:44 am

I apologize if I was not clear .....
Gilmoure at the beginning of the season was a consideration to be made in consideration of the CAP (so any cuts and extensions ...), it was difficult, but it could also be a total risk to try to win. However my biggest regret is Scherman! This was a choice that could certainly be made without salary cap implications !! Someone says that it is not even good anymore, I say that I will prefer it to King at any time (and the cost would have been even lower !!!).
My regret is having King now and not RS.
Even if I follow
the Packers for more than 30 years, I cannot consider myself a great connoisseur of this sport so I hope I have not offended anyone by saying a stupidity.
Anyway we will see how it will behave with Tampa. (I doubt the GOAT is stupid enough to call a player who is not needed !!)
It's just my thought
Greetings from Italy
GPG

0 points
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Johnblood27's picture

October 10, 2021 at 08:06 am

In Paul Newmans voice from the movie Slapshot -
"Don't ever say Shermans name again!"

1 points
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TarynsEyes's picture

October 10, 2021 at 08:29 am

Never apologize for your opinion offered to a bunch of arses who quickly say you know nothing with their opinion saying they know all.

The moment King makes a play, all these people will love him again and boast how good he is and how smart the FO was in keeping him. You're dealing with fence sitters.

-1 points
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Johnblood27's picture

October 11, 2021 at 11:01 am

I'd rather be a fence sitter than a pole sitter, just sayin...

0 points
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Johnblood27's picture

October 10, 2021 at 08:07 am

https://www.orthoaustin.com/our-services/shoulder/separated-shoulder

Jaire's injury must be a Grade 1 type or surgery would be needed without waiting.

Web site says full range recovery in 2-3 months. Maybe for a well trained athlete 4-6 weeks? Maybe 2 weeks after that to get in football shape? he is gonna be out 8 weeks. He comes back after the Bye for duh bares game in GB.

1 points
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Rebecca's picture

October 10, 2021 at 08:22 am

He’s probably done for the season, so is Z Smith. Back and shoulder injuries don’t just disappear. This defense is on the ropes right now. The defense is an injury away from, oh wait, NEXT MAN UP! Lot of season left! GO PACK GO !

1 points
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Archie's picture

October 10, 2021 at 08:35 am

To lose your best rusher and your best CB is quite the 1-2 punch for any NFL defense to take. The Pack's heretofore tepid pass rush and lack of CB depth only compounds the problem.

As long as game is close, MLF will likely counter with heavy dose of run game and short passing. If GB falls behind and has lots of 3 and outs, Katy bar the door.

Being a 3 point road favorite today seems optimistic. Bengals seem a well balanced, if young, team. Will be an interesting game for fans of both teams.

1 points
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ImaPayne's picture

October 10, 2021 at 11:30 am

Here's the real problem, Jaire is kind of a one trick pony pass d. Without him we have what? The rest of these guys are just out there to play prevent, let them catch the ball and you tackle them. Ya thats a plan.

I read something today that may have been old but the article said Jaire had several different opines on his shoulder -that makes sense and that the decision was to see what happens in two weeks. If his status says the same then they will recommend surgery and season will be over?
Thus, I aint buying he is okay and coming back in a couple of weeks. We've been fooled by the pack org and injury reports too many times to just buy this

0 points
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ImaPayne's picture

October 10, 2021 at 11:36 am

I say Burrows breaks his own career passing mark today. Hell maybe Mixon his career running Mark. All I know is Mr Rodgers will be playing catch up all day and it wont work today.

0 points
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4thand10's picture

October 11, 2021 at 03:19 am

I thought Yiadom played better than king this game

0 points
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4thand10's picture

October 11, 2021 at 03:19 am

I thought Yiadom played better than king this game

0 points
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4thand10's picture

October 11, 2021 at 03:19 am

I thought Yiadom played better than king this game

0 points
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4thand10's picture

October 11, 2021 at 03:19 am

I thought Yiadom played better than king this game

0 points
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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

October 11, 2021 at 06:10 am

And here I thought you were going to tell me how to earn $1M per hour online, and despite the huge pay/hour I only have to work 6 hours per week.

0 points
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