In 2018, it was Jaire Alexander. A year later, Gutekunst gave Alexander another speedy running mate to man the back half of the defense: Maryland safety Darnell Savage.
Like Alexander, Savage had a solid rookie season limited slightly by injury, as he battled through an ankle problem that sapped some of his speed. But with a long rookie season — and a nagging injury — now behind him, Savage is ready to dive head first into his second year in the league.
“I’m extremely excited for year 2,” he told reporters via web conference on Thursday.
It’s not like Savage didn’t have a solid enough rookie season, though. He recorded two interceptions, defended five passes, and forced two fumbles in 14 regular-season games, starting every one. He thinks there’s a lot more he can do, though, as he gains experience and grows more comfortable in Mike Pettine’s scheme.
“At times I may have been a little bit hesitant,” he said. “But as long as I continue to trust the process and watch film and play in this league, I think a whole bunch of improvements are going to be made.”
He’ll have to make some of those improvements without the mentorship of Tramon Williams, who Savage says was like an older brother during his rookie season. Williams remains a free agent, and though he’s expressed some optimism about returning to the Packers, Brian Gutekunst has been noncommittal about a reunion.
But with or without Williams, Savage is dedicated to making his second season a big one. Alexander doubled his interception from year one to year two, and Savage says he won’t stop working until he can make the same kind of improvements.
“I don’t want to stop until I’m on top of the world”