If there’s one position Packer fans haven’t been too worried about this offseason, it’s the Safety position. Why should they? Adrian Amos and Darnell Savage both started all 17 games of the regular season and started the lone playoff game. They both rank 1st and 2nd for the most snaps logged by a defensive player on the squad as well. That’s not to say however, that the rest of the squad will just be sitting on the bench. The options are plentiful for utilizing those players outside the standard safety position. This will make the Packers Safety competition a good one to watch.
Adrian Amos and Darnell Savage
So, without question, barring injury, Amos and Savage will be the starters. They’ve been starting together, when healthy, ever since they both joined the team in 2019. Of course, they’ve both had their ups and downs. Amos being the veteran has been a little more consistent than the younger Savage, whom has been up and down at times. Both of them seem to always have a knack for the big play though. For Amos, it seems he tends to come up with these big plays when up against his previous team, the Chicago Bears. I have to admit, I love his taste for revenge. For Savage, his 2021 campaign wasn’t quite as productive as 2020 where he registered career high INTs with 4 and was also part of the pass rush registering 1 sack and 2 QB hits. Whereas 2021 he had none of those pass rush stats, and two INTs. Some could say he dropped a little, but that could be argued over whether or not Savage was really put in a playmaking position in 2021. While Savage could be lined up at his listed position, Safety, he can also be placed as a slot defender where his playmaking ability could be put on further display. If Savage is in the slot, this opens the Safety position for another player on the rise.
Safeties to keep an eye on
The other members of the Packers Safety’s room aren’t exactly flashy names, but they’re definitely ones to keep an eye on. Rookie seventh round pick Tariq Carpenter is already turning heads due to his size and athletic ability. He’s not the average build for a safety at 6’3 230 lbs, but his size, and speed to go with it, have given coaches “hybrid safety” vibes. He could drop into coverage, play man-to-man, or even assist in the box with the rushing attack. Innis Gaines will be a name to watch as well. Gaines’ energy impressed coaches during camp last year, along with his Special Teams play in the preseason. This earned him a spot on the Practice Squad and an eventual elevation week 16 vs the Browns where he registered one tackle. The production of Shawn Davis practically mirrors that of Innis Gaines. Elevated to the active roster from the Practice Squad in December and registered one tackle vs the Browns in week 16. Davis’ athletic ability will also put him in the running for a roster spot this season.
There are two safeties left on the current roster that I believe will have to really impress coaches in camp, to stick around. The first is 2020 seventh-round pick, Vernon Scott. In 2021, Scott player zero snaps on defense, and 17 snaps on special teams registering one tackle. For a 2nd year player, on the roster the entire season to basically match the stats of two Practice Squad elevations who played one game, that’s not ideal. The second is Undrafted Free Agent Tre Sterling. Before having his 2021 season cut short due to injury, Sterling was solid on Oklahoma State’s defense. Sterling could be a name to watch, but with the experience of those ahead of them, he might really have to impress to make the Packers roster.
So, what about Free Agents?
Given the lack of experience after Amos and Savage, I wouldn’t at all be surprised to see the Packers go after a bargain Veteran Free Agent Safety. Landon Collins was asked to take a pay cut in Washington, and instead decided to test Free Agency. So far, however, it hasn’t quite worked out for the 28-year-old, former second round pick as he remains without a home. Coming off a torn Achilles may have hampered the former three-time Pro Bowler, and if the price is right, he could be a very interesting addition. Collins though might be a pipedream as chances are he will still command a decent price that the Packers may not be willing to pay a player that’s essentially a depth addition. But at this point in Free Agency, the Packers could get lucky. If Collins decides he’d rather play on a good team for some, than not at all, a little less cash could get the job done. In a previous PackersTalk article, Jordan Wolf listed Jackquiski Tartt as a possible depth addition. Tartt would indeed provide depth at the position, probably serving as the number 3 safety. And possibly unlike Collins, Tartt would likely be a cap-friendly option.
Either way, the Packers Safety Competition shall be very exciting to watch when camp starts.
Greg Meinholz is a 24/7/365 Packers fan. When he’s not spending time with his family, he can be found meditating in his Packers shrine with a good beer. You can follow him on twitter at @gmeinholz.
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