Just In: Darnell Savage activated from IR, set to start for the Packers Sunday night…

Darnell Savage may have been one of the Green Bay Packers’ eight questionable players for Sunday night’s bout with the Kansas City Chiefs, but there doesn’t appear to be anything questionable about his status.

The fifth-year safety has officially been activated off of injured reserve on Saturday after a week of practice where he was never anything less than a full participant. Barring any setbacks between Saturday night and 90 minutes prior to kick-off when the inactives are released, Savage should be back in the lineup for the first time since Oct. 22.

His return would presumably bump Jonathan Owens out of the lineup after a Thanksgiving performance against the Detroit Lions that marked his best of the season. He finished with a team-high 12 tackles, including a fumble recovery that he returned for a touchdown late in the first quarter.

“I just think he’s a guy that has played a lot of football for us,” said head coach Matt LaFleur on Friday. “He’s got a great grasp of what we’re trying to accomplish, he’s a hell of a communicator and he’s a rangy guy. That’s what he’s brought for a long time.”

Savage sustained a calf injury in the Oct. 9 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders and the ensuing bye week didn’t necessarily do him any favors. 13 days later, he aggravated the injury against the Denver Broncos and was placed on injured reserve the following week. He’s missed five games while out of commission and the Packers have won three of them while managing to stay afloat in the race for the No. 7 seed in the NFC playoff picture. He was designated to return from injured reserve following his return to practice on Nov. 20.

In the six games Savage has played this season, his coverage has been targeted 10 times and he’s surrendered eight receptions for 82 yards. He hasn’t allowed a touchdown, however, he also hasn’t registered a single interception or pass breakup. He’s missed 16.7 percent of his tackle attempts, which is down from his career number of 17.3 percent and his lowest since his sophomore campaign of 2020, according to Pro Football Focus.

After the Packers picked up Savage’s fifth-year option last off-season, 2023 has since become a contract year. The Packers have just a brief glimpse of the heights Savage can ascend to in year five, but there are questions around whether or not it’s sustainable. His play has been too inconsistent and too unreliable at times for someone the Packers expect to be a starting-caliber safety; he was even benched at one point last season after a string of poor performances.

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