I think there's continuity with Kenny government in this: not doing or saying anything that could be interpreted as suggesting government is even contemplating border controls as a remote possibility.
Here he says what I think you want him to say. A welcome statement of the obvious.
I agree, but I think we should take the more recent statement more seriously. It may indicate that he is now taking threat of no deal very seriously and beginning to recalibrate the language to be as accurate as possible, and stress that full alignment is required to avoid border
I guess what he has been occasionally guilty of in the past (but no longer it appears) is refusing to contemplate in public the possibility of a no deal Brexit, or of HMG refusing to live up to the engagements on the backstop given in 12/18 and 3/18.