Colts move T.J. Green back to safety again
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – It would be understandable if T.J. Green experienced occasional bouts of vertigo.
One day, he’s a safety. The next, he’s a cornerback. Another day, he’s back at safety.
Dizzying. Make it stop!
Less than a month after making a safety-to-corner transition during training camp, Green started the season opener against the Los Angeles Rams. He was on the field for 62 of 65 snaps and, not surprisingly, earned mixed reviews.
Green’s encore consisted of one defensive snap against Arizona and one against Cleveland. In the win over the Browns, he handled 21 special teams snaps.
Now, Green is on the move again.
“He’s a safety. He’s a safety,’’ defensive coordinator Ted Monachino said Thursday. “The thing about T.J. is we’re still going to continue to force-feed him the cornerback stuff, but corner takes time. If we’re going to make him a corner full time, it’s going to take time.
“Right now he’s most comfortable at safety, and right now that’s where we need him based on the health of the group.’’
So for now, Green, the Colts’ physically-imposing 2016 second-round draft pick, is back at what represents his natural position.
Asked whether he’s a safety or cornerback, Green responded, “I guess both.
“It’s challenging mentally to switch your mind back from corner to safety, back and forth each week, but it’s good for me to be diverse. They can plug me in anywhere. That’s the main thing. They know I can play both.’’
Green appeared in 12 games as a rookie safety, starting four. And it was clear he still was something of a neophyte at the position. He began his Clemson career as a wide receiver before switching to safety after the 2013 season.
When the Colts opened their offseason program without incumbent starting strong safety Clayton Geathers – he’s still on the mend from offseason neck surgery – Green worked with the first unit. It wasn’t long, though, before he was supplanted by Matthias Farley.
In mid-August, the Colts were dealing with injuries at cornerback and one of their remedies was to move Green.
“I talked to coach Pagano an hour before practice today and he asked, ‘You want to play corner?’’’ Green said at the time. “I said, ‘I’m all for it. That’s why we’re here.’ That’s where we’re at.’’
Chuck Pagano’s rationale at the time was determining the best four or five defensive backs and sorting out the best combination in the base and sub packages. In Green, he saw a 6-3, 211-pounder who would offer a physical presence at corner.
Six weeks later, Green is back where he started.
“I prefer corner just from the time I was playing it,’’ he said. “I adjusted and enjoyed it. But I still enjoy playing safety as well. It’s really whatever they need from me.
“Patience is just something I’ve got to practice I guess. Just patience with the defense and waiting for when my time comes.’’
That might be Sunday night at Seattle.
Farley appeared on the injury report for the first time Friday with a quad injury. He’s questionable.
Ruled out of Sunday’s game because of injury: quarterback Andrew Luck (right shoulder), center Ryan Kelly (foot), wide receiver Chester Rogers (hamstring), cornerback Quincy Wilson (knee), running back Marlon Mack (shoulder) and linebacker Anthony Walker (hamstring).
Two players are questionable: Farley (quad) and cornerback Chris Milton (hamstring).
No one will be more anxious for Sunday’s kickoff at CenturyLink Field than Vontae Davis. The two-time Pro Bowl cornerback has missed the first three games with a groin injury suffered during training camp. While Davis has been in rehab mode, some of the younger defensive backs – rookies Hooker, Wilson and Nate Hairston – have gotten extended work.
“I told Malik, ‘Man, I’m excited to get back and play . . .’,’’ he said. “He’s a young talent. I look forward to playing with him in the secondary and those guys and look forward to picking back up where I left off.’’
Rehabbing and watching, Davis added, is “always tough. Of course I want to be out there. But injuries are a part of the game. You can’t control it. Nothing can control it.
“Now I’m able to get back and excited to be with my teammates.’’
First for Vinatieri
Adam Vinatieri’s career spans 22 seasons, 325 regular-season games, 634 field-goal attempts and 805 PATs. Incredibly, he’ll make his first visit to Seattle Sunday. His only three games against the Seahawks have come at home – twice with the Colts and once with New England.
“That’s crazy,’’ Vinatieri said. “It’s just the way things have worked out.’’
Pagano said Geathers, who’s been on the physically unable to perform list since Sept. 2, is scheduled for a medical evaluation to determine his progress from offseason neck surgery.
“As soon as we get the information back from this checkup and he has a visit with the doc, we’ll know more,’’ Pagano said.
“Looks good. He feels good. His rehab is going great. He’s right on schedule. He’s right where he’s supposed to be. Until we have some information coming off this next doctor’s visit, it will be hard for me to put a timetable or timeline on it.’’
Geathers must remain on PUP for the first weeks of the season. The team then has a three-week window during which he is able to practice. During or at the end of the three weeks, Geathers must be added to the active roster or miss the remainder of the season.