Even going into the 2022 NFL season, the Green Bay Packers’ safety position was one of extreme concern. That proved to be true as both starting safeties, Darnell Savage and Adrian Amos, had down years. Savage was even benched in favor of special teams standout Rudy Ford.
However, one current Packers player who is not a safety, Rasul Douglas, has declared himself the other starting safety and, in doing so, could solve two problems on defense,
Rasul Douglas Declares Himself the Other Starting Safety
The idea that Douglas could play safety for the Packers in 2023 was initially discussed early in the offseason. While he has taken some reps at the position during offseason activities, he has not taken as many during training camp.
However, that does not mean he hasn’t taken any reps there during training camp. And if you ask him, which Bill Huber of Sports Illustrated did, Douglas believes that he will be the team’s starting safety on Week One:
“I think it’s I’m just a ballhawk, so people want to see me roam and be like Ed Reed. They want to see that. You see somebody with a lot of picks, you’re like, ‘All right, if he was at safety, we know he could be more.’ It’s one of those. Now they want to see it.”
On the day that Huber asked the question, he did not see Douglas practice at all with safeties, and asked him if he was a starting safety, why he wasn’t lined up with them. Douglas accused him of enjoying the sunny weather too much and said “You didn’t watch practice.”
Ed Reed, of course, is a Hall of Fame safety who spent all but one season of his career with the Baltimore Ravens. Reed led the NFL in interceptions three times and was the 2004 NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
Moving Rasul Douglas to Safety Solves 2 Problems for the Green Bay Packers Defense
If Douglas can play safety as well as he plays cornerback, he is an immediate upgrade at the position and the solution to a problem that the Packers have had, truthfully, for two seasons. However, the move would also make sense for a position group that has an embarrassment of riches: cornerback.
Having too many talented players at one position is the best problem to have, and Green Bay certainly has it at cornerback. In addition to Douglas, there is Jaire Alexander, Keisean Nixon, Eric Stokes, and 2023 seventh round draft pick Carrington Valentine.
Of course, Stokes is still coming back from that awful foot injury he suffered last season, but he should be ready to play by early in the regular season if not by Week One. Fortunately for Green Bay, Valentine has been lighting up training camp and played extremely well in the preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals, where he broke up multiple passes and had an interception.
Valentine has been play so well that he has been getting reps with the starting defense as well. Moving Douglas to safety would allow Nixon to stay in the slot position where he is best suited and open up for either Stokes or Valentine to be the other starter on the outside along with Alexander.
A defensive backfield that boasts (a hopefully improved) Savage, Douglas, Alexander, Nixon, and Valentine/Stokes would be fast enough to keep up with any wide receiver in the league and aggressive enough to make life difficult for opposing offenses.
Now, Matt LaFleur has final say, of course, over who is starting, and he has entertained the idea of using Douglas at safety. The next two preseason games will be good indicators of what he has planned going forward.
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