Cory's Corner: Darnell Savage Is Here

The second-year pro is making everyone take notice. 

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the name Darnell Savage?

Is it the painfully frustrating early season that saw Savage miss nine tackles through his first six games? Or is it the player that has taken this defense by storm since a trip to Indianapolis and is arguably its third-best player since then?

The Packers moved up nine spots in the 2019 NFL Draft to take what was tabbed as a franchise fit. After missing two games with an ankle injury in his rookie season he still had plenty of promise heading into his sophomore year. 

"He did some great things last year, and I think the more comfortable he is with our defense, the more detail-oriented he is, I think he's going to make more plays," said Packers coach Matt LaFleur in August.

It just took him a little bit longer to get there. He was the worst defensive starter in the season opener and things didn't turn much after that. Then came the Colts game in Week 11. Savage was all over the place and allowed a miniscule passer rating of 39.6 vs. Philip Rivers, who threw for 288 yards and three touchdowns. 

What Savage is doing is why the defense is playing much better as a whole. He has literally been omnipresent by hovering at the line of scrimmage while also being an anchor in the secondary. Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill threw at Savage four times. Savage broke up two passes, picked off one and only allowed one completion. With Jaire Alexander playing like the best cover corner in the NFC the last three games, combined with Rashan Gary blowing everything up at the line of scrimmage, this defense looks unbeatable. 

The Packers thoroughly dominated the Titans 40-14 on Sunday night — the only blemish was allowing Tannehill to amble 45 yards for a score right after the half. 

"I feel like we still haven't played our best game yet defensively," said Savage. "We're just continuing to keep trying to get better each and every week. Keep watching the film, try to improve stuff. But we still feel like there's a lot more out there for us to get."

That is a word of warning from an ascending safety and a player that is already turning into a leader. Savage was drafted to be the do-everything guy that this defense needs. 

He isn't just filling holes right now, he is causing problems.

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Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on "Clubhouse Live" and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He recently earned his Masters degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter: @Coryjennerjohn

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Comments (57)

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Bure9620's picture

December 29, 2020 at 06:28 am

Potentially having 2 erasers on the back end in Alexander and Savage is huge. Shrinking the field and making a QB hesitant or think twice forces mistakes. We have not had this presence at safety since Nick Collins. Having Collins and Woodson on the back end helped the Packers become a top 5 defense. Gutekunst drafts are turning out some All Pro level players.. He has really only made 4 bad decisions as GM, signing Jimmy Graham, cutting Lazard for Darrius Sheperd, and two busts Josh Jackson and Oren Burks. These were not catastrophic mistakes either just some misfires.

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Houndog's picture

December 29, 2020 at 08:49 am

Sorry Bure9620,
But, other than the '4 bad decisions' you mention, I'd have to say the jury is still very far out (and hopefully will be for a while) on last spring's, move up to get him, but always inactive, first round pick.

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Bure9620's picture

December 29, 2020 at 09:17 am

The jury is still out on that whole draft class. I realize people dislike the Love pick. To those, I would say, name a player available at 30 whom potentially is a big contributor right away? Maybe Claypool? Even he has had moments looking like a rookie. Yes, we will know in a couple years on Love as he will be the starter. And Yes Love WILL be the starter. That decision has already been made at 1265 Lombardi, it was made on draft day. First round QBs play at some point, they always do.. Sooner or later, this will be the Jordan Love show, Likely the year after next, I doubt they go the Rodgers route of 3 years sitting. Would you rather have the future inactive on the bench sitting or a 40 something year old QB in the future with no replacement like the Saints?? They will be unloading contracts left and right after Brees. I do not see Rodgers playing at this level into his 40s ,sorry. I realize everyone will point to Brady. Brady was awful last year with New England, he has got on with a win now team whom will be starting over soon. I don't want to hang on to Rodgers into his 40s only to realize he is in massive decline and then sell the farm. Frankly, I have not seen a QB playing at a really high level into their 40s ever. Rodgers will be traded Likely after next year.

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13TimeChamps's picture

December 29, 2020 at 10:09 am

No way in hell do they trade Rodgers after next year if he's playing at an MVP level like he is this year, and turn the keys over to a totally unproven Love. That would be insanity. And there is no reason to think Rodgers will have a significant drop off at 38. I believe Rodgers plays out his contract here at the bare minimum.

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Bure9620's picture

December 29, 2020 at 12:50 pm

So when does Love start? Name a QB drafted in the 1st round who never starts for that team....go ahead I will wait....

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13TimeChamps's picture

December 29, 2020 at 01:26 pm

I have no idea when, or if, Love ever becomes the starter for the Packers. And neither do you, or anyone else on this thread for that matter. Just because a player is drafted doesn't mean it's going to pan out. Do the names Rich Campbell, Akili Smith, Ryan Leaf ring a bell? All higher picks than Love.

The reason for my original response wasn't to predict how well the Love pick will pan out, but to dispute your claim that Rodgers will be traded after next year. You have no idea that will happen. It all depends on how things play out. My position is that if Rodgers continues to play at an elite level next year, and they make a deep run into the playoffs, why on earth would they trade him? ...go ahead I'll wait...

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Bure9620's picture

December 29, 2020 at 02:15 pm

You are just listing off QB busts. They also ALL played. My point is Love will be the starter at some point. That decision was made on draft day by Brian Gutekunst. This is not some kind of wait and see what happens, hopefully he works out, that decision was made and Love will be the starter. Of course I do not know when he is the starter only that he will indeed be the starter at some point. Do you actually think Gutekunst did not think there was a possibility Rodgers could play at a very high level this year??? Of course he did, he still drafted Love! The plan remains. I remember catching crap from so many Packer fans suggesting Aaron Rodgers will be the starter after he was drafted. "But Favre is playing well!, never!" There has never been a QB drafted in the first who did not eventually become the starter and Love will be QB1 for the Packers. Get on the wagon, I don't know why Packers fans hang on to the end the way they do.

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13TimeChamps's picture

December 29, 2020 at 02:56 pm

Once again, I NEVER said Love would never start for the Packers SOMETIME down the road. I was simply disagreeing with your earlier statement that the Packers are planning to trade Rodgers after next year. I'm not sure why you're having trouble comprehending that.

Have a Happy New Year.

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jannes bjornson's picture

December 29, 2020 at 07:08 pm

Probably by 2024, who knows? It depends on Rodgers' health. He stays in shape and still has the fastball. If he maintains, Love will have to wait. Big Bad Bill was none too happy moving Jimmy G for a two pick. He would have held on for a couple more years. Now he is in the QB hell scenario. Kraft blew the deal.

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HighPlainsDrifter's picture

December 30, 2020 at 06:19 am

Withdrawn - Not worth pointing out that 13Time mischaracterizes what he previously said.

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CoachDino's picture

December 29, 2020 at 07:45 pm

1) there's a few guys who were 1st rd draft pick Qbs that never player for the team that drafted them but its not for the reasons being debated. Favre's the closest guy I can think of a 2nd rd pick that never "Started" for Atlanta. I'm sure i've seen him in a few Atl jersey highlights.
2) Agreed with the "who knows statement", It's all conjecture.
- Sure Gute thought Arod might be great this year, also thought he might not be, might not get with the program, might want out if MLF didn't capitulate, might be great for another 2 years. He might still be good but not worth the contract. If Gute did his job he thought about these scenarios and many others, weighed them and made a decision. (who's available to draft, etc) This I do know, It wasn't based on 1 thought.
3) IMO Arod will be a Packer until he is no longer the best option to win a SB that year.
4) Arods "terrible contract" remember those fools on here.lol... is now a steal.
5) IMO fans and media want to judge the pick against the 100% maximized value. Starting his rookie year and being great while playing on a rookie contract. OK that's not happening.
Worst case scenario, they trade him for a #1 plus draft pick over the next 4-5 years.
6) My ultimate result. Arod wins two SBs and retires after 4 yrs and Love starts year 5 of his contract. If Arod wants to stay you have a good problem.

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Guam's picture

December 29, 2020 at 10:17 am

You are making one major assumption - that QBs drafted in the first round become starters and play well. Less than half the QBs drafted in the first round over the last ten years signed a second contract with the team that drafted them. The failure rate for young QBs is fairly high.

It is premature to anoint Love as the successor QB in Green Bay. Let's see how Love develops and how Rodgers plays over the next couple of years before that decision gets made - by us or by the Packer front office.

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Coldworld's picture

December 29, 2020 at 11:20 am

Love was a gamble just as Rodgers was. No QB is a sure thing to be good let alone Rodgers current caliber, but you have to prepare against injury or retirement and, precisely because of the above, expect to invest perhaps more than once .

Love was clearly seen as a value prospect with a high ceiling who would benefit from further coaching and they felt the upside justifies the wager. No idea if it is right, but that is their job and the future of QB is something no GM can afford to leave unattended. There is a good chance that if Rodgers stays healthy, Love was a way of kicking a high pick down the road.

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Guam's picture

December 29, 2020 at 03:42 pm

While I am not a fan of the Love choice because I thought the draft choices could have been used for more "win now" purposes, I understand why Gute chose Love - a point which you well elucidated.

However I still have a disagreement with Bure9620 about his point that the FO has already anointed Love as the successor and will trade Rodgers and start Love in 2022. The FO hopes Love will be the successor at some point when (1) Love has proven he can play in the NFL and (2) Rodgers is in decline. Right now Love has not taken a single snap in an NFL game and the FO has much to learn about whether he will or will not be a starting QB in this league. Further Rodgers is playing at an MVP level at age 37 and likely has at least two more good years ahead of him. The change will only come when Rodgers has declined and Love has proven he can play. To just assume the change will happen in 2022 just because the FO drafted Love is errant nonsense.

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Leatherhead's picture

December 29, 2020 at 12:49 pm

Guam and Coldworld....I agree with your points. No QB is a sure thing. I do know that the time to look for your QB of the future is before you need him, instead of after.

We tried to do it on the cheap with Hundley. If he had become Lamar Jackson, we'd have traded Rodgers for a gold mine of picks. It didn't happen. It probably won't happen with Love, either, but hopefully he can at least develop into a competent starter.

I'm pretty sure the plan is to put the strongest possible offense on the field in 2022 for whichever QB is playing. If the line is solid, the skills positions (Dillon, Deguara, etc.) producing, then if Love is ready to play after two years on the bench, you have some options.

Trading Rodgers after the 2021 season would create $25 million in cap space. He'd also bring some good draft picks and/or players, so if you think the offense can get it done with Love, you can really add a lot to the team with those picks and cap space. You'd have to consider it .

There's always the possibility, too, that Rodgers will have the "Elway Ending" and retire after winning consecutive Super Bowls. That's the scenario I'm looking at.

If the Packer Personnel and Scouting departments know what they're doing, then Love is going to be a good QB in this league, assuming you can put a good team around him and not throw him in the fire until he's been prepared.

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Guam's picture

December 29, 2020 at 02:51 pm

Succession planning is a huge part of Gute's job and he is doing well at it. If Love works out, then the Packers are already set with Rodger's replacement whenever that happens. If he doesn't work out, the Packers likely still have several years with Rodgers to draft another replacement. I think Gute is doing an excellent job even if I would prefer he be a little more "all in" on winning a SB some year.

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Leatherhead's picture

December 29, 2020 at 03:37 pm

Exactly, Guam. There is a plan to transition, and Love is part of it, unless you assume that Gutekunst will be driven solely by Rodgers performance. Not by financial considerations, or how Love looks on the field, just ‘Old Aaron can still play’””.

Of course he’ll still be a good player following 2021, unless he takes a bad injury. We should still have a very good offense on the field. But if you’re always looking to improve the team, you could improve several positions with the cap savings and his trade value.

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Bure9620's picture

December 29, 2020 at 06:46 pm

I mean the problem with that logic is a GM is not going to draft a QB that high and trade up for it to "not work out and hold on to the current starter. Their contracts are not that long. Gutekunst can't afford Love to bust, or he will be gone...

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Guam's picture

December 29, 2020 at 10:39 pm

So GM's can't make a mistake with their top draft choice? It happens every year. If Rodgers wins a SB in the next 2-3 years, very few will care if Love is a complete bust. Everyone would like Love to be the 3rd HOF Packer QB in a row and I give credit to Gute for taking a shot on a player he clearly believes in. But Gute's career is not wedded to Love just like it is not wedded to any specific draft choice. His career is married to the record of the Green Bay Packers.

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jannes bjornson's picture

December 29, 2020 at 07:10 pm

Rodgers will probably last longer than Jackson.

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jannes bjornson's picture

December 29, 2020 at 07:23 pm

He was picked where he was projected to land btw 26-30. I cannot see Queen as a better fill than Barnes. Jordyn Brooks for the seachicks is just starting to play more but I still prefer Barnes. The D linemen are not impressive.
The only guys to fill @ # 30 would be Hillaire, Tee Higgins, Winfield and Badger. If Funchess doesn't opt out the WR corps would be even more solid. No problem with the Love pick. He has already surmounted some heavy times in his young life. Andersen ruined his last season, but didn't last long in as he was shit-canned three games into the covid-20 year.

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Bure9620's picture

December 29, 2020 at 06:29 pm

Well that is not really an assumption. Of course they do not all play well, but 1st round QBs do eventually all play, weather you are Aaron Rodgers or JaMarcus Russell and everything in between, you play eventually.

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Guam's picture

December 29, 2020 at 10:55 pm

You are talking about trading away a HOF QB for a guy that maybe can play like JaMarcus Russell? Seriously??? The issue is not whether Love can take a snap from center, the issue is you don't give up on Rodgers unless you have a rock solid star in the making behind him.

Love may turn out to be a great QB or a complete bust, but NOBODY knows that for sure at this point in time. To arbitrarily choose 2022 to trade/cut Rodgers and play Love (ready or not) is nuts. Lets let Love play a bunch of preseason games and maybe some regular season snaps over the next couple of years and see what we have before we decide to move on from Rodgers.

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Bure9620's picture

December 30, 2020 at 02:00 pm

"To arbitrarily choose 2022 to trade/cut Rodgers and play Love (ready or not) is nuts"

It's abundantly clear you did not read my post. I was saying Love will be the starter at some point in the future for the Packers. He will be, all QBs drafted in the first play.

I said 2 years is more likely than 3. Never arbitrarily said it will be 2 years, though 2 is more likely than 1 or 3

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13TimeChamps's picture

December 30, 2020 at 04:31 pm

This is your exact quote:

"Rodgers will be traded Likely after next year."

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Stroh's picture

December 29, 2020 at 07:55 pm

Rodgers will almost assuredly be traded. My guess is he plays 2 more in GB after this season. Love is going to take awhile to develop and this year he didn't have an offseason to speak of. After 3 yrs as Rodgers understudy the Packers will know what they have. On the chance Love can't play, Rodgers could be around longer and into his 40s and the Packers would be in the market for another QB to draft or possibly a bridge QB for a season.

The Packers aren't going to be in a hurry to move Rodgers unless Love has a curve quicker but similar to Rodgers.

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Branden Burke's picture

December 31, 2020 at 11:05 am

I think it is pretty far fetched that green bay cut bait with an MVP QB for an unproven guy simply because he was a first rounder. The reality is, the Packers knew what they had in rodgers before they moved on from favre. Everyone talked about it from practice. He dazzled on the rep team. The same thing with pat mahomes. They knew what they had in theory from practice. And russell wilson who knocked out the expensive Matt flynn addition as a rookie did it in practice. And Steve young when he pushed out joe montana did it at practice. Green bay doesn't make that move with rodgers unless they are all but certain Love is the real deal from practice. And they still invested heavily in QB when they made the change to rodgers for insurance purposes. Love is insurance. On a team that is overly cautious. If he can force rodgers out, we should welcome him with open arms unlike many did with rodgers because recent history suggests they earned it. The most recent case of forcing out a star QB for an unproven player I can think of was manning for luck. Only money or incredible development by love makes that transition happen. Anything else is internet/media fodder.

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Coldworld's picture

December 29, 2020 at 11:14 am

Graham was driven by the contract negotiator, Russ Ball pulling out of discussions with the TE we all wanted. I’d go with you on retaining Graham throughout perhaps, though it worked out in the sense it gave Tonyan time I suppose. Shepherd/Lazard worked out fine and was driven by ST needs I’m guessing.

Burks is definitely a bust and Jackson certainly seems one. All GMs are going to have those though. This team has come a long way in part because our roster is much deeper and stronger since Gute took over. Not perfect by any means, but the Swiss cheese he inherited would not have enabled us to get us here,

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Doug_In_Sandpoint's picture

December 29, 2020 at 06:31 am

I think we should rush 9 on every play and just let Savage and Alexander cover everyone who goes out. Covering 2-3 players each would make it a little more fair for the receivers.

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Cheesehead_in_Boston's picture

December 29, 2020 at 08:27 am

Thanks for pumping the brakes in the most entertaining way possible ...

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Houndog's picture

December 29, 2020 at 08:40 am

LOL Doug,
That might work against Trubiskey, but I doubt it would stop Mahomes. :)
Thanks for the laugh.

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Packer_Fan's picture

December 29, 2020 at 06:40 am

Gute's draft picks are finally hitting home. We knew Alexander was a star for this year. But now Savage and Gary are beginning to play at high levels. Jenkins has shown his abilities and now Dillon has shown his abilities. Good things for the playoff run. And I hope Pettine keeps this more aggressive style of defense. I wonder if Lafleur told Pettine he had to do something different to stop the run. I also think this more aggressive style will inspire the players. Go Packers

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Pack88's picture

December 29, 2020 at 08:02 am

I often puzzle at the tendency for rookie season and or draft position to define a player. Each of Gutekunsts drafts have had not good ratings - even though the selection of Alexander was considered a win in year one. Year two the Gary pick was panned and Savage considered a reach. The rookie seasons were roasted and Gute was panned. Yet at the time I tried to point out Davante- Nick Collins- Darren Sharper and even Leroy Butler (remember he played CB his first year in GB) as players who took time to develop.

I also at that time tried to point out each GM/Coach have a vision and it takes time to tool the roster to that vision. Thus, when many of my friends went off a cliff with the sections of QB, RB,FB I reminded them again of fulfilling the vision. Now suddenly everybody is on the AJ train where 9 months ago it was all gloom and doom. So maybe patience and vision is the key! Another thing I believe is great rookie seasons do not ensure great or long careers. Each pathway to an NFL career is unique. Afterall just remember Antonio Freeman excellent player first year - 3 great years and then a journeyman!

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jannes bjornson's picture

December 29, 2020 at 09:06 am

They whined about a lack of a power running game, he brought in Dillion, Deguara and Runyan. If Boyle or Rodgers went down who was going to backup the QB spot, Callahan?

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Michael Nault's picture

December 29, 2020 at 10:52 am

Everybody wants instant gratification these days. They all want everything NOW

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Coldworld's picture

December 29, 2020 at 11:25 am

The adage that most players take time to develop doesn’t seem to sit well with fan thinking. It’s simply reality. Our best players all took time. Rodgers, Adams, Jones. Moreover the NFL is designed to endure really good players don’t all fall to one wealthy team in recruitment Ir development. All teams have to find cheaper and developmental players that can contribute and in some cases become elite, if they want to win.

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jannes bjornson's picture

December 29, 2020 at 09:17 pm

Key word: thinking.

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HankScorpio's picture

December 30, 2020 at 04:53 am

"I often puzzle at the tendency for rookie season and or draft position to define a player"

It's asinine. In the end, all draft picks are for the future. Any guy that can play will get better with experience. Even the number of guys that are solid in year 1 is a much smaller list that guys that are solid in years 2 and beyond. We see it time and again with the Packers and every other team in the league.

Savage is great example. He probably was a default starter based on the competition and his draft status last year. Maybe even to start this year. But the last month or so, he's been a new player which makes for a new defense that is different than what they had in Sept-Oct. Throw in that Gary is on the same arc and it amplifies the effect.

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jannes bjornson's picture

December 30, 2020 at 03:39 pm

Ask the fans if Bart Starr and Ray Nitschke started as rookies.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

December 29, 2020 at 08:13 am

It's great to see Savage succeeding. Gary too. They seam like great young men as well.

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Guam's picture

December 29, 2020 at 08:21 am

The entire secondary is playing better - not only Savage and Alexander, but Amos has come on strong during the second half of the season. King has been hampered by injuries, but is playing adequately. I think the quality of our secondary has allowed Pettine play a bit more man-to-man and reinforce the front seven against the run. An improving defense plus the #1 offense has me dreaming about a Super Bowl!

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Stroh's picture

December 29, 2020 at 08:14 pm

If the D continues this trajectory or even plays like it has the lsst month the SB is a legitimate and reasonable goal. The Defensive performance vs Tenn was the best I've seen since our last SB. That was an outstanding performance!

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HankScorpio's picture

December 30, 2020 at 04:55 am

"not only Savage and Alexander, but Amos has come on strong during the second half of the season"

I firmly believe that Savage's rise has allow Amos to be used more effectively. It's cause and effect. Amos is not any better than he was. He's being used in more impactful ways because they can do that.

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Houndog's picture

December 29, 2020 at 08:37 am

"With Jaire Alexander playing like the best cover corner in the NFC the last three games, combined with Rashan Gary blowing everything up at the line of scrimmage, this defense looks unbeatable".
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Jeez Cory,
Like many others I was thrilled to see the "D" perform the way they did on Sunday night, and your article is a pretty good assessment. Finally, a game where I must tip my hat to Mike Pettine, the game plan was fabulous. But unbeatable, I'm not near ready to go that far. Not yet!

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WestCoastPackerBacker's picture

December 29, 2020 at 05:35 pm

Well they did just put on a show against the number one offense in the league. They've been stopping the run; they can rush the passer and they have good cover guys in the passing game. They can make it really tough on any team if they keep this up.

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Since'61's picture

December 29, 2020 at 08:44 am

The only issue that I had with Savage was his tackling. Now that is improving and he is evolving into a complete player. He seems to be more confident every week.

A new core of younger players is beginning to emerge with Gary, Alexander, Savage, hopefully Keke and Barnes on defense with Jenkins, Tonyan, Dillon, and hopefully, MVS, ESB, Runyon and Deguara on offense. Maybe a few others who need another season as well. We’ll see.

In any case, the defense seems to be coming together at the right time. If we can secure the #1 seed and bring the playoffs through Lambeau I like our chances with what I see as a very confident defense playing at home. Thanks, Since ‘61

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Doug_In_Sandpoint's picture

December 29, 2020 at 08:53 am

Right you are ‘61. Bring the playoffs to Lambeau and let Lambeau bring the snow.

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

December 29, 2020 at 09:01 am

We have lots of upcoming young talent many of which you mention, plus several more rookies on OL that have been injured.

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Coldworld's picture

December 29, 2020 at 11:26 am

Savage’s problems were mostly credited to bad angles. Common with younger safeties. It could be that his role has been tweaked as well as him just reading things better.

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jannes bjornson's picture

December 29, 2020 at 07:32 pm

He had to cover for Jackson earlier when King was down. Now he has the freedom to range.

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Stroh's picture

December 29, 2020 at 08:24 pm

Its true he had to help Jackson but it's also true his role has changed slightly. Whether that is directly due to King returning isn't known to us. But his play has also warranted a larger role and more varied responsibilities.

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jannes bjornson's picture

December 29, 2020 at 09:20 pm

Got Amos back in the box where he is secure. Savage is the free bird, let him do his thing. Insane acceleration on the break up and following pick, especially on the snow-covered field.

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gkarl's picture

December 29, 2020 at 09:26 am

No doubt Savage has improved his paly as the season as progressed. Others and the defence in general have, and its what the Packer faithful have been waiting/hoping for. In spite of the running game problems of the past this defence with the draft capital investment and FA's pickups have always had the talent to perform better. I hope that talent is finally starting to show itself and our coaches take advantage of the improvement and let the boys play.

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Kevin's picture

December 29, 2020 at 11:20 am

Most players these days have to spew some corporate name when mentioning their home field. Arrowhead is an exception but when Rodgers says “Lambeau” its more than a name, even more than a place, its a presence.

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marpag1's picture

December 30, 2020 at 05:14 am

Pffft..... Naming rights on new stadiums, even for crappy teams like the Raiders or Chargers, are going for about 25 MILION PER YEAR, and provide stable income for at least a decade and likely for much more.

How much of a competitive disadvantage do you want to lay down on the Packers organization in return for some nostalgic idea of a "non-commercialized" stadium? And we all know perfectly well that NO ONE AT ALL will stop calling it Lambeau Field regardless of what name might get printed on the side of the building.

Are you willing to penalize the Packers by 25 million US dollars every year for that?

Take the money.

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4thand10's picture

December 29, 2020 at 08:13 pm

Savage and Alexander have been good/ great players all along. I wouldn’t say this like it’s an epiphany or something . He was ballhawking and making interceptions his very first year. The difference....the defensive line played better and PETTINE actually and Finally put an extra DL in for a 5 man front ....which made a HUGE difference. If you’re stopping or slowing the run and getting pressure on the QB...the playmakers can shine on the back end. Which is exactly what everyone had seen against the titans. Yes, players make plays....but scheme helps out a TON.

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PatrickGB's picture

December 30, 2020 at 01:18 pm

Before I tout our defense as being fixed, I will have to see how they perform the next two games.

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