If there’s one major thing that didn’t go right for the Indianapolis Colts in training camp this year, it was that their young starting safety didn’t get a single rep.
Clayton Geathers was drafted in the fourth round last year and started two games, but this year he is stepping in to a much bigger role: the full-time starting safety spot alongside Mike Adams. He took the first-team reps in offseason work, but he unfortunately was injured working out away from the team during the summer. He suffered a broken bone in his foot, and he began camp on the non-football injury list. He was originally listed as week-to-week, and while the hope was that he’d be back in time for the regular season opener, it was very much uncertain.
It’s still very uncertain. Asked Wednesday whether the Colts have an idea on whether Geathers will be back for week one or not, defensive coordinator Ted Monachino said, “Absolutely not. We have no idea. Clayton is a warrior. He’s a guy that’s going to do everything that he can do to heal on time or even ahead of schedule. Right now, it’s going to be close. It’s going to be right there at the end. If we can get good practices out of him before we play obviously he’ll be up and ready to go against Detroit.”
Monachino also added that, while the Colts have to treat T.J. Green like a starter right now with Geathers out, the truth is that Geathers is still being kept very much in the mix.
“Well you take that approach, you do coach the guys that you have available to you, but Clayton is never put completely on the shelf,” Monachino said. “We’re moving him forward with the install, with his rehab and all those things. We’re going to get him as healthy as he can as quickly as we can. We’re starting to already figure out, okay, who will be and who may not be available come Week 1? We have to have those contingencies in place. Right now, we’ve done that. We’ve got that contingency plan in place, but if Clayton comes back, obviously he’ll fit right back in and he’ll be competing for those reps alongside T.J. and Darius Butler and whoever else we would align at safety, Winston Guy.”
Right now, it’s just a wait-and-see pattern with Geathers. Chuck Pagano joked the other day that the only time the safety is out of the boot is when he’s working with the trainers in the pool. In other words, Geathers is still wearing the boot on his foot like he has been all camp. He’s still on the NFI list as camp wraps up, and so we’re just left waiting regarding whether he’ll be back in time to start the season or not. The Colts are optimistic, but like Monachino said, it’s going to be close.