Grading 2022 Packers: Adrian Amos, Darnell Savage and Safeties

GREEN BAY, Wis. – For the past few years, safety was the least of the Green Bay Packers’ worries. Between steady veteran Adrian Amos and talented first-round pick Darnell Savage, the Packers were set at a key position.

That wasn’t the case this year, though. Adrian Amos, who will turn 30 when the draft concludes, might have shown some signs of age by allowing more touchdown passes than he had defensed passes. Savage was benched.

With Amos and valuable addition Rudy Ford headed to free agency and Savage’s career reaching a tipping point, an interesting offseason awaits for a team that spent the ninth-most money on the position in the league but didn’t get enough return on investment.

Here is Part 10 of our annual series of player grades as viewed through the lens of the salary cap. All cap figures are from OverTheCap.com. Analytical stats are from Pro Football Focus and Sports Info Solutions.

Remember that time a longtime Bears beat writer said Chicago got the better end of the safety swap between Adrian Amos and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix? Yeah, that was pretty funny.

Amos was worth every penny of the four-year, $36 million contract that he signed in 2019. “Smash” has started all 66 games in a Packers uniform. After three consecutive seasons of two interceptions, he had one in 2022 but also set career highs with 102 tackles and six tackles for losses. Focusing only on defense, he was second on the team with 97 tackles. His five passes defensed were his fewest since 2017. Was he ever in the wrong spot on defense? Probably, but it wasn’t often.

According to PFF, 81 safeties played at least 400 snaps on defense. Amos ranked 19th with a missed tackle rate of 7.8 percent (eight misses). It was typical Amos from that perspective. Gauging coverage responsibilities is difficult on most plays but especially so at safety. So, for what it’s worth, PFF charged Amos with six touchdown passes allowed – tied for the most among safeties. (SIS charged him with only two.) He was tied for fifth on the team with seven stuffs (a tackle at or behind the line vs. the run).

Grade: C-minus.


Remember that time when Darnell Savage was named to the All-Rookie Team? Or that time when the general manager flipped the switch on Savage’s lucrative fifth-year option?

Savage recorded 57 tackles, including two for losses, with one interception and five passes defended in 16 games. He was demoted twice – from starter to nickel and then nickel to dime – but was back in the starting lineup for the final two games. During the first of those starts, against Minnesota in Week 17, he grabbed Rasul Douglas’ deflection and raced 75 yards for a touchdown.

Savage was tied for the NFL lead among safeties with 21 passes defensed the previous two seasons but his five in 2022 matched his career low. He tackled terribly, as usual, ranking 78th out of the aforementioned 81 safeties with a missed tackle rate of 17.6 percent (12 misses). PFF charged him with two touchdown catches while SIS charted only one. They were in agreement that he allowed six last year. He had two stuffs vs. the run.

Adrian Amos might not be back in free agency. Savage will be back at a guaranteed $7.9 million. Next season might be a make-or-break one for a player who looked like a future star a couple years ago.

Grade: D minus.


Released by the Raiders just before the start of training camp, Dallin Leavitt joined Rich Bisaccia in Green Bay. He was a player who came highly recommended.

“When you get in the huddle with Aaron Rodgers on offense, I think the hair on the back of your neck stands up and you have to know what you’re doing,” Bisaccia said. “I like to think when you get in the huddle with Dallin Leavitt, the hair on the back of your neck better stand up. You have to know what you’re doing, and he’s been through the process.”

Only tight end Tyler Davis played more snaps on special teams than Leavitt, who tied linebackers Isaiah McDuffie and Eric Wilson with a team-leading 13 tackles on the coverage units. He was partially to blame for the sometimes-shoddy punt protection. He didn’t play at all on defense.

Grade: C


The Jacksonville Jaguars released Rudy Ford at the end of training camp and the Packers were thrilled to get him. In five NFL seasons, he started six games on defense and had one interception. In 17 games for the Packers, he started six games and intercepted three passes. He had as many interceptions against Dallas as starters Adrian Amos and Darnell Savage had combined for their seasons. His play faded down the stretch and the coaches went back to Savage.

Ford’s first path to playing time came on special teams, where his four tackles hardly speak to his contributions. It’s hard to make tackles on the punt team, for instance, if you’re the first player down the field and force a fair catch.

PFF charged Ford with six missed tackles (13.3 percent; 53rd out of 81 at the position) and three touchdowns.

Ford is headed to free agency and would make a tone of sense to re-sign.

Grade: B minus.


Tariq Carpenter, a safety by trade but with the size of a linebacker, was drafted in the seventh round. Could he earn immediate playing time in a hybrid role as the dime defender? As is typically the case, statements of instant impact are typically hyperbole when it comes to late-round draft picks.

Carpenter was a total nonfactor on defense – he worked with the outside linebackers during at least one late-season practice – but really blossomed into a standout on special teams. He finished sixth on the team with eight tackles on the coverage units. All eight came during the second half of the season, with back-to-back games of two stops vs. Miami and Minnesota. He also did good work as a blocker on punt returns.

Grade: C-plus.


Innis Gaines was released with an injury settlement during training camp but rehabbed the injury in Green Bay in hopes that the Packers would give him another shot. They did. After a short stint on the practice squad, Gaines played in seven games – including each of the last six. He played 44 snaps on defense (all in the final three games) with one start and 99 more on special teams, where he contributed three tackles (and two penalties; tied for most on the team).

Gaines is big, fast and full of personality. The man they call “Thump” has an intriguing future.

Grade: C-minus.

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