From the side of the coaching staff, it is imperative that Joe Barry coaches a much better game this year for the Green Bay defense. But from the player side of things, there is no more important position than safety.
Struggles have been aplenty from this position, but another draft went by without significant draft capital invested into it. While the history of Green Bay for drafting safeties has been pretty abysmal, it still would have made sense for them to add another player into the equation.
Last year saw the likes of Adrian Amos, Rudy Ford, and Darnell Savage earn the majority of snaps at this position. Of these players, Amos departed for the New York Jets, leaving Ford and Savage as the top safety options moving forward.
Outside of Ford and Savage, Innis Gaines, Jonathan Owens, Anthony Johnson Jr., Dallin Leavitt, Tarvarius Moore, and Benny Sapp III are all fighting for roster spots this summer, and all eight options could very well make the final roster. What is more likely is that Green Bay keeps all but one safety, leaving Gaines, Johnson Jr., and Sapp are the most likely players to be on the bubble.
Expecting this position group to have a big turnaround with less talent is highly unreasonable – but getting back to being around the league average is a reasonable target that should be the goal this season. While Savage is the clubhouse favorite to be the top safety of this group, early takeaways are that he is fully jumping into that role.
A leadership role was vacated when Amos departed, and so far, it looks like Savage is assuming that role, as well as some special teams work as well. The team is likely waiting to see if Savage is fit to be the long-term guy, but it seems as though Savage is buying into Barry’s defense, a great first step.
There will be plenty of growing pains for this position group in 2023, but there are plenty of players that can help add an influx of talent moving forward. If Savage continues on his path to assuming a leadership role and playing like a leader, then this group should be able to hold on with its current talent until next year’s NFL Draft or free agency period.뿓뿓뿓
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