Over the last few practices following the Green Bay Packers first preseason game in Cincinnati, it has been Tarvarius Moore starting alongside of Darnell Savage at safety.
A few weeks ago, Matt LaFleur said that we would see a rotation at this position as the Packers try to determine who will see the bulk of the snaps next to Savage, at least early on this season. Initially, it was Rudy Ford lined up with the starters. Then over the last two-ish weeks, it has been Jonathan Owens. And now, it appears to be Moore’s turn.
Against the Bengals, Moore may have been the best safety on the field for the Packers. In only 23 snaps, he totaled four tackles, a stop in the run game, and he limited pass catchers to just nine yards on two completions when he was in coverage, according to PFF. Moore also played nine special teams snaps on five different phases as well.
"“I thought he did a good job,” said Matt LaFleur. “Thought he was physical. He was the second man in in many cases and being very physical. I thought it was a good first step for him and he has to continue to do it, not only on defense but on teams as well.”"
Moore was signed as a free agent in the offseason after spending his career up to that point in San Francisco. In 2022, he was a core special teams player. He would miss all of 2021 with an Achilles injury. In 2020, he played over 500 defensive snaps, really performing well as a tackler and a run defender.
At this point for the Packers, any sort of playmaking at the safety position would be a bonus. Coming off of last season where missed tackles and coverage breakdowns were the norm, what the team is really in search of is consistency.
"“When you have a vacancy,” said Joe Barry during offseason programs, “especially with a starting spot and you have a number of guys in competition for that, the biggest thing I look for as a coach is the overall consistency every day. Then obviously you have to get into your job, making plays, and being productive, but it starts with being a consistent guy every day to be one of those 11.”"
The safeties in Barry’s defense are asked to do a lot. Of course, there is the responsibility of preventing the big play in the passing game, but with how often light boxes are utilized, safeties also play a key role in the run game, filling gaps, taking on blockers, lining up in the box, and making tackles. Being better against the run is a must for this defense if they are going to improve in 2023, and while it starts with the defensive front, as run game coordinator Jerry Montgomery pointed out, to be successful it really does take all 11 players doing their job correctly.
There are still quite a few questions that remain at the safety position. Most notably, who will be starting next to Savage, along with on the back end of the roster, who is going to make the final 53. In terms of making the team, special teams contributions are always going to be important, but defensively, consistency from day-to-day and down-to-down is going to be crucial, and Moore has put on tape that he can provide that as a tackler and in the run game.