It’s no secret that T.J. Green had a rough rookie season with the Colts.
Last year’s second round pick played in 15 games and started four during his rookie season, recording 43 tackles and two passes defensed. He really struggled during his time on the field, however, and he was bad enough that Pro Football Focus ranked him dead last among NFL safeties last year in their grading system.
So it’s safe to say that Green has a lot of areas where he needs to improve moving forward, and the Colts realize that - but they’re not giving up on him after only one year.
“I think you figured out that young players are always going to be young players no matter how talented they are,” defensive coordinator Ted Monachino told Colts.com recently when asked for his thoughts on Green’s rookie year. “T.J. made quantum leaps in some areas; [he] needs to continue to grow in a lot of different areas. Obviously I don’t think he played to the level that he believed he could have, and I think that with the time that Greg has spent with him starting right after the season this year all the way through the season last year - and he’s another role guy too. We can do a lot of things with T.J. So I see the arrow way up on T.J. Green and I think in his second year, you look at a guy like Landon Collins [and] the jump he made from year one to year two, we would hope T.J. could make a similar jump.”
Landon Collins, like Green, struggled mightily in his first year in the NFL. Collins was drafted by the Giants in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft and had a bad rookie season, but then in his second season he was absolutley tremendous. He was named a first-team All-Pro and Pro Bowl selection in 2016 and was in the running for the Defensive Player of the Year award. The leap that Collins made from year one to year two was huge, and that’s what the Colts are hoping for from T.J. Green.
Of course, there are differences - such as the fact that Collins was a much more well-regarded prospect coming out of college than Green was. But you don’t have to look far to find a safety making a huge jump in his second year, as Collins did it just last year. That gives them reason for hope that he will improve, and that’s why they can’t just give up on him yet. Green likely won’t turn around to become a first-team All-Pro next year, but there’s reason to hope he’ll be much improved.
But as the Colts continue to work with Green, they brought back Darius Butler to play safety along with Clayton Geathers, which should help take some of the pressure off of Green. Hopefully, he makes that second-year jump like the Colts seem to think he can.