There wasn’t a lot to like from the Colts defense this year. In fact, in 2016 they were the worst Colts defense in the Indianapolis era in terms of yards per game. They need to add a lot of talent this offseason on the defensive side of the football, but there’s also a concern about a player they drafted last year.
Second round safety T.J. Green had a really rough rookie season. According to Pro Football Focus, he ranked dead-last in their safety grades in both overall grade and coverage grade. Yeah, 91st out of 91 safeties. That’s not good. Neither was the Colts secondary, as per PFF they ranked 31st out of 32 teams.
When it comes to their grading system, Mike Adams, Darius Butler, and Clayton Geathers led the way, while Vontae Davis “earned a below-average coverage grade for the first season in his career; he actually only had two above-average games in coverage, coming against Brock Osweiler in Week 6 and Blake Bortles in Week 17.” And then, when it comes to Green, they wrote that he “had a terribly rough rookie season, as he finished dead-last (91st) among safeties in overall and coverage grades.”
When the Colts drafted Green in the second round last year, he was viewed as a big project player and his weakness was viewed to be coverage. He was a pick that excited Chuck Pagano and the Colts, but it was pretty clear that the Colts drafted him based on his physical skills and potential. And that’s exactly what people said of the pick after the draft, too. PFF listed it as one of the worst picks of the draft in large part due to Green’s struggles in coverage, while Shakin’ the Southland - SB Nation’s Clemson site - told us that “it wasn’t a smart decision by the Colts.” So in his rookie season, we saw the same concerns about Green that were there when the Colts drafted him surface once again.
It was a very rough rookie season from Green, and while it’s not time to give up on a guy after just one year, he’s going to need to improve quite a bit entering his sophomore season. And the Colts need to ensure that they have a plan for next season in case that doesn’t happen, because the way Green played this year was really discouraging. But hey, at least he’s handling the criticism well.