With Clayton Geathers Sidelined, It’s Time for T.J. Green To Step Up

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INDIANAPOLIS, IN - NOVEMBER 20: DeMarco Murray #29 of the Tennessee Titans catches a pass for a touchdown in front of T.J. Green #32 of the Indianapolis Colts during the first half of a game at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 20, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

With Clayton Geathers Sidelined, It’s Time for T.J. Green To Step Up

Clayton Geathers Placed on PUP List to Begin 2017 Season

Word coming from the Indianapolis Colts as training camp is about to begin is that third year safety Clayton Geathers will begin the regular season on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list. Geathers opted for neck surgery in March to repair a bulging disk he injured in a week eleven matchup against the Tennessee Titans last season. The recovery timetable should have given Geathers adequate time to prepare and heal for the 2017 season. Unfortunately, the PUP designation means that he will miss at least the first six games of the new NFL season. With Clayton Geathers sidelined, it’s time for T.J. Green to step up and show the Colts why he was worth a second-round pick in 2016.

The Colts Have Options

There are options other than Green to start at safety opposite of 2017 first-round pick Malik Hooker. Recently re-signed eighth-year safety (recently converted from cornerback) Darius Butler has the experience to fill the role. Butler would take the lead if Green can’t step up and fill the void left by Geathers. Butler and Green don’t have the tenacity or hitting power that Geathers brings with his hybrid safety/linebacker build, but they should be adequate stopgaps while Geathers heals from his surgery.

The biggest issue will come in the form of substitution packages. The Colts routinely enjoyed using Geathers’ playmaking ability to stack the box and come closer to the line in run defense situations. Reminiscent of former Colts safety Bob Sanders, Geathers ability to close the gap and consistently tackle was a boon to an otherwise mediocre defense against the run.

Green Must Perform To Retain Roster Spot

The Geathers injury, while definitely a blow to the Colts defense, should be seen by Green as an opportunity. One of the last potential “draft blunders” of previous general manager Ryan Grigson, Green is on his last leg if he wants to continue to wear a Colts uniform. The expectation of a second-round draft pick is to come in and contribute immediately. Which is an expectation that Green has exceedingly failed to live up to.

If he fails to show his value during the six games that Geathers is sidelined, then expect Chris Ballard – and the Colts – to look elsewhere for a long-term answer at safety. Green has already been graded as one of the worst safeties in all of professional football; there’s nowhere to go from here but up.

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