3 Burning Questions: Safeties

Moving towards the completion of this ongoing series that focuses on each position group for the Green Bay Packers, the group of safeties that this team has looks to finally be one to write home about. Offseason addition Adrian Amos is an absolute baller, rookie first-round draft pick Darnell Savage has put together a solid camp on his way to being named a starter and the team has enough depth to deal with the release of Josh Jones.

With Josh Jones having been released, who is the most likely candidate to fill his in-the-box safety role?

When Jones saw time on the field, he mostly roamed in the box, which is an integral part of Mike Pettine’s defense. With that role opened up to anyone now with Jones not apart of this team anymore, there needs to be a look made to see who is likely to take on that role.

Ibraheim Campbell comes to mind, as he was recently resigned a few weeks ago and has a ton of familiarity with Pettine’s defense, having been a Packer in 2018. Both Amos and Savage are both suited best if playing center field for the defense, but both have the capabilities to play up in the box if need be.

The main player who should see his playing time increase by filling Jones’ snaps is Raven Greene, a mostly-unheralded player who has become an integral part of this Packers defense. Playing his way up through training camps and preseason showings, Greene is easily the team’s third-best safety, and to get him more playing time, he should be the sub-package linebacker.

With Pettine needing to improve upon his schemes for 2019, look for Greene to fulfill this role and be the guy that Pettine can throw at the defense as a Swiss army knife this season.

What does Adrian Amos need to do to show he is the defensive leader he was signed to be?

It is one thing to be a bigger free-agent signee for the Packers, especially with our penchant to never spend big money on any free agents, unless they are our own. However, it is another thing for this big-time free agent to come from a divisional rival, especially the Chicago Bears. 

Amos has put together a really solid body of work suiting up in the blue and orange, and we have had first-hand experiences seeing him play, so the team was very comfortable with making that upgrade from HaHa Clinton-Dix. Being one of the largest free-agent signees in a long time for this team, Amos has high expectations attached to his every movement.

Ranked in the top-six best safeties from 2015-18 by Pro Football Reference, Amos is the guy in the defensive backfield, one that rookies can go to for guidance and one that veterans can go to for judgment calls. Opening night for Amos and his fellow Cheeseheads will be a telling sign for how they gel together, especially playing against Amos’ former employer.

In terms of stats, Amos has averaged around 65 tackles per season and picked off two passes last season. In no terms is he a ball-hawk, but for Amos to be successful, he may need to put up 70+ tackles and 3+ interceptions to try and quell the fair-weather fans that feel as though price tags must be justified by spreadsheet-notable stats.

Bigger workload this season: Raven Greene or Darnell Savage?

Both Greene, the second-year pro from James Madison, and Savage, the first-round selection out of Maryland, will be counted on to produce big-time results this season for Pettine’s unit, in a year that caution should be thrown to the wind to try and avoid any season that even closely resembles the dumpster fire of 2018.

As previously stated, Savage is being plugged in as the team’s starting strong safety opposite Amos, which looks like a solid 1-2 grouping on paper. But combining the knowledge of Amos with the ball skills but youth of Savage can lead to an interesting set of results.

For Greene, his role looks to resemble something of a utilityman, looking to be plugged into both the third safety and inside linebacker mold that has recently taken over the league. Greene is not overly more experienced than Savage, but what he does know can push him to threaten Savage even more in terms of playing time for that starting safety role.

In terms of playing time, they should both resemble each other, as while Greene is more seasoned, Savage was taken as a first-round selection for a reason. Needing in-game results to truly prove who is suited for more playing time, the end of the season should see Savage earning his regular starting reps, while Greene settles in nicely as the sub-package ILB with safety coverage abilities.

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Mike Johrendt has been an avid fan of the Packers ever since he can remember. He is now a writer at PackersTalk and you can follow him on Twitter at @MJohrendt23

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