It is no secret that Green Bay Packers safety Darnell Savage is struggling this season. In fact, it can be argued that he has been struggling for the past year and a half. Last season, Savage gave up eight touchdowns after giving up just four in his first two seasons combined. This year, opposing quarterbacks have a 131.2 passer rating when targeting him. Clearly, a change needs to be made, but it has not happened yet. Earlier this week, though, the Packers signed safety Jonathan Abram, who had be released by the Las Vegas Raiders. There is some speculation that this move could mean that Savage would move to the slot position on defense. In fact, defensive coordinator Joe Barry said that a player like Abram gave him “options.” When asked about a possible position change, Savage had, perhaps, a not-so-surprising answer.
Darnell Savage Feels More Comfortable Playing in the Slot
This may not be a surprise to many students of the game, but Savage stated that he feels at home playing in the slot:
#Packers safety Darnell Savage said he's happy to play wherever coaches want, but he's definitely open to lining up in slot now that Johnathan Abram is here: "Certain things just feel like home. That's one of those things."
— Ryan Wood (@ByRyanWood) November 10, 2022
With Eric Stokes possibly missing the rest of the season with an injury, the time may be ripe for Savage to make the move to the slot. Rasul Douglas will move outside to the role previously held by Stokes, which makes room for Savage to play the slot position. Newly acquired Abrams or Keisean Nixon would take the second safety spot alongside Adrian Amos.
Can Savage Do Well in the Slot?
Prior to the season, the Packers picked up Savage’s fifth year option. Despite his struggles over the last season and a half, they obviously see something there. Perhaps a move to the slot will make him worth it.
Of course, we have seen Savage play the slot before, albeit in a small sample size. In his few snaps at the position, he did quite well as my colleague Sam Hollman points out:
Savage playing seam-flat in fire zone blitz coverage. Reads the Out coming from #3, gets his hips turned back around, and nearly gets the pick. Pretty nice play from the slot! 🤔🤔🤔 pic.twitter.com/ZUToUHm5yP
— Sam Holman (@Sam_DHolman) November 10, 2022
With the Packers at 3-6 and in desperate need of some playmakers, what do they have to lose by moving Savage to the slot? The worst case scenario is that he continues to struggle. However, the best case scenario is that he provides a lift to the defense playing a role in which he is more comfortable.