After an excellent rookie season, as Adrian Amos and Mike Pettine point out, Green Bay Packers’ safety Darnell Savage is poised for that Year 2 leap.
The safety position for the Green Bay Packers during the 2018 season was a mess, to put it simply. However, the free-agent addition of Adrian Amos and the first-round selection of Darnell Savage in 2019 turned what was a weakness into a strength.
And now as we look ahead to the upcoming season with Savage entering the second year of his NFL career, after a successful rookie campaign he is poised to make that Year 2 leap that so many successful NFL players have made.
Including the playoffs last season, Savage would take nearly 1,000 snaps as a rookie and flashed that coverage and playmaking ability that led to Green Bay trading up for him. Targeted 26 times, Savage allowed a completion percentage of 61.5 percent but held pass-catchers to just 184 total yards according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required).
Additionally, he came away with two interceptions, two pass breakups, two forced fumbles, and opposing quarterbacks had three touchdown passes against him while recording a passer rating of only 89.3.
Savage’s ability to diagnose and react to plays is eye-popping and truly a breath of fresh air as he flies around the field like he’s been shot out of a cannon. He also brings versatility with his ability to play closer to the line of scrimmage and to provide coverage in the slot if needed.
Not to mention that the middle of this Green Bay Packers’ defense struggled when he was out with an injury, which tells you how important Savage was to their success.
From the moment Savage entered the locker room and stepped onto the practice field in 2019, he caught the attention of his coaches and his teammates. And that hasn’t changed. If anything expectations are now higher.
In a recent Zoom call with reporters, Adrian Amos specifically spoke about Savage and mentioned that he is ready for that Year 2 leap and that he can be that difference-maker in the secondary (via Packers Wire):
“The playbook, knowing what to expect to the following season. Being around your team and your situation, coming into Year 2, we have the same secondary, he knows where I’m going to be, who the corners are. He can make a big jump in that way.”
Similarly, when Mike Pettine was talking about Savage, he told media members that when it comes to what he can do on the football field, that “the sky is the limit.”
However, as is the case for just about any rookie who takes as many snaps as Savage did during his first season, there is going to be a learning curve. One area in particular that he must improve is as a tackler. Pro Football Focus credited Savage with 10 missed tackles in 2019 and that was the third-most among all safeties.
With that said, it’s nearly impossible to not get excited about Savage’s future when watching him. It’s already been said and may be considered by some a cliche, but it’s true, and that’s that the sky really is the limit for Savage and his potential.
With his skill-set and the simple fact that this is now his second year in Pettine’s defensive system, Savage is poised for a big step forward in Year 2. And I for one cannot wait to see it.