After suffering a calf injury against Las Vegas that took him out of that game, Savage was a full go out of the bye week against Denver. Unfortunately, he aggravated a calf injury and this one is more severe.
Compared to last season, we have seen an improved version of Savage this year. He is playing a lot more faster and free as he flies around the football field, oftentimes in the mix near the line of scrimmage. Savage ranks 17th out of 57 eligible safeties in PFF’s run stop rate this season. However, he is still somewhat limited as a player. In coverage, he has allowed eight catches on 10 targets with only one forced incompletion. He’s done a decent job limiting pass catchers to 10.3 yards per catch but does rank 16th in terms of highest-missed tackle rate.
With Savage on IR that opens up a roster spot for the Packers to utilize on the 53-man. I expect that in Savage’s absence, we will see Jonathan Owens take over next to Rudy Ford with Anthony Johnson mixed in potentially when the Packers are in dime. Owens has played 79 defensive snaps this season, oftentimes in dime where he lines up in the slot or in the box.
As far as that roster spot goes, Bill Huber of Packer Central reported that cornerback Corey Ballentine was signed to the active roster from the practice squad. Ballentine has already been elevated three times this season with none remaining, which means that the only way for him to be active on game days is by being signed to the 53-man roster.
Adding Ballentine to the team accomplishes a few things for the Packers. One is that it gives them added cornerback depth, something they do need right now with Eric Stokes exiting the Denver game with a hamstring injury and Jaire Alexander still dealing with a back issue. The timetable for either players’ return right now is unknown.
In Weeks 3 and 4, Ballentine played 80 total defensive snaps as a boundary cornerback, making five tackles and allowing 12.5 yards per catch on four receptions.
The second thing that Ballentine provides is special teams help. This is where he’s made his greatest impact in Green Bay, emerging as a core special teams player during the second half of last season. With Owens likely taking on a larger defensive role for the time being, Ballentine can take some of the special teams responsibilities off his plate. Owens has currently played the third-most special teams snaps on the team.
To fill the open practice squad spot that was left by Ballentine, the Packers have signed cornerback Zyon Gilbert, who was in for a workout last week. Gilbert went undrafted in 2022 out of Florida Atlantic. He spent last season with the New York Giants, playing 73 defensive snaps, most of which came from the slot and allowed seven receptions on eight targets at 11.1 yards per catch. Gilbert also played 27 special teams snaps as well.