Things were looking good earlier in the week for Darnell Savage Jr.’s status for Monday Night Football.
Then the Green Bay Packers rookie safety walked out of the locker room early this week with a walking boot on his left foot, projecting an ankle injury that had knocked Savage out of last Sunday’s game against the Dallas Cowboys.
Now Savage has been ruled out for Monday night’s game against the Detroit Lions, joining tight end Robert Tonyan (hip) and wide receiver Davante Adams (turf toe) as Packers who will not suit up in prime time at Lambeau Field. Cornerback and special teams asset Tony Brown is also doubtful with a hamstring injury.
The absence of Savage deprives the defense of one of its starting safeties who, through his first five games, has been among the NFL’s top new defenders. He has started every game at safety alongside Adrian Amos, racking up 15 solo tackles, three defended passes, an interception and a forced fumble that has helped elevate the Packers’ pass protection.
Without Savage, Will Redmond is expected to fill the void after spending the last few weeks as the backup to both him and Amos. Safety-linebacker hybrid Raven Greene was another promising option before an ankle injury landed him on the injured reserve list.
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Savage Tops Packers’ Rookie Class
If there was an adjustment period for the former Maryland safety, it came and went without a groan. From the start of training camp in late July, Savage has been running with the Packers’ starting unit and has done nothing to risk losing his early opportunity.
Savage’s early success is a long shot from how Rashan Gary has started his NFL career. The Packers’ top pick has been slow to transition from his edge-rushing days at Michigan, logging just two games with multiple tackles and only one for a loss on the season.
Other talents have been sturdier, such as offensive lineman Elgton Jenkins in his newly inherited starting role helping keep Aaron Rodgers safe. Keke Kingsley saw his role increase with an injury to defensive tackle Montravius Adams, but it has lessened now that Adams is healthy again. Meanwhile, cornerback Ka’dar Hollman and inside linebacker Ty Summers have shown flashes of potential but nothing substantial enough to challenge for a starting job.
Packers Secondary Will Get Tested Monday Night
The strength of the Lions offense comes from Matthew Stafford’s arm, even with the big-play potential of running back Kerryon Johnson. That puts the Packers in a little bit of a bind when approaching Monday night without Savage and likely without Brown.
The cornerback position is far better off with starters Jaire Alexander and Kevin King, who have combined for three interceptions and been crucial pieces in helping the Packers achieve the league’s 14th-best Packers defense (238.6 yards per game). The optics weren’t good, though, in last week’s 34-24 win over the Cowboys.
Quarterback Dak Prescott threw for 463 yards and two touchdowns last week, despite three interceptions, as he engineered a comeback attempt that chipped away at the Packers’ lead that grew as large as 24-0 in the road matchup. The defense managed to get just enough done to leave Arlington, Texas, with a victory, but it raises some eyebrows moving forward.
Redmond, though, isn’t just some questionable backup for the Packers. He has seen a regular number of snaps through five games while his 21 total tackles on the season rank fourth best among the Packers. He also is just one of four Packers with at least two tackles for a loss.