Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator Ted Monachino was impressed by how much rookie safety T.J. Green learned during offseason workouts.
Granted, coaches typically gush about players drafted early — Green is a second-round draft choice out of Clemson. From day one, he’s been learning from 13th-year pro Mike Adams, who has gone to the past two Pro Bowls.
“I think he’s doing really well,” Monachino said. “I think that this is a lot of football for a lot of young guys and T.J. is no different. It takes some guys a little longer to grasp some concepts, but T.J. is a good football player and he’s going to come quickly once he figures some things out.
“He’s already made a quantum leap from when he first got here. We would expect another quantum leap by the time we get to training camp.”
When the Colts report to training camp July 26 at Anderson University, Green will be slotted as a backup safety behind Adams and second-year pro Clayton Geathers. Adams is 35 and entering a contract year. The Colts drafted Green with an eye on the future. Barring an injury to a starter, he’ll play primarily on special teams as a rookie.
Green was asked during the recently completed offseason training activities about what he has been focused on.
“Really just the details of things and just getting things that we’ve made mistakes on, correcting them and not doing them again,” he said. “It’s just making sure that we go out there and do what we’re coached to do and play how we’re coached to play.
“I came in here pretty much with the mind-set that I can learn from everybody, but mostly from Mike Adams and Clayton Geathers. I’m learning from those guys as well. It’s a new defense for all of us so just to learn the details of the game. Mike Adams’ knowledge of the game is really helpful for me.”
At 6-3 and 205, expect Green to add some muscle, i.e. some weight, as he develops in the NFL. He switched to playing safety before his sophomore season at Clemson, where he started out as a wide receiver, and didn’t become a full-time starter until last season as a junior, so the position is still somewhat new to him. He made 95 tackles in his final college season, then elected to leave college early.
He ran a 4.34 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine, so he has tremendous speed.
“I’m just going to go out there and be me and compete like I’ve always competed and just go out there and be T.J. Green,” he said before three-day mini-camp.
Head coach Chuck Pagano was asked how the team will be looking to use Green. It’s still a bit early to have a definitive answer — offseason workouts are in shirts and shorts. When the shoulder pads come on at training camp, that’s the time to more accurately assess where he is in his transition to the pro game.
“It’ll kind of iron itself out as we go,” Pagano said. “Again, we’re a long, long ways away from trying to figure out who is going to do what and he’s doing a nice job just picking up the safety stuff right now; try to get him as comfortable as we can with that and then progress from there.”
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