One of the cardinal rules of covering a team’s offseason program is this: don’t overreact to what happens.
We can’t base our opinions on a player just by how he does in OTAs, and similarly we can’t say definitively how a team will line up by how they do in OTAs because sometimes they might just be mixing things up trying out different things. But with that said, it’s always interesting to note trends and depth chart tidbits that could be things to watch, and there’s a very intriguing one developing right now in Indianapolis.
According to the Indianapolis Star’s Zak Keefer, Matthias Farley “spent the bulk” of Tuesday’s mini-camp practice with the first team - meaning that T.J. Green was with the second team. Colts.com’s Kevin Bowen followed up on that by saying that it happened last week too, which would suggest that it might not be a scenario of simply switching things up.
Here’s why that’s so significant: both Malik Hooker and Clayton Geathers haven’t participated at all in OTAs as they recover from injuries, meaning that there are opportunities for other guys to step up. Darius Butler has been working with the first team at one safety spot, and then at the other has been Matthias Farley. So with arguably the best two safeties on the team out, T.J. Green still isn’t with the first team in practice.
Again, we can’t overreact to offseason workouts, but we’d be stupid to ignore them. The way the Colts line up, especially if it’s something that becomes a trend in these workouts, gives us a working knowledge of what the Colts might be thinking and alerts us to what we should pay attention to in training camp. And the status of T.J. Green seems like it might be a big thing to pay attention to.
It’s no secret to Colts fans that Green really struggled in his rookie season after the Colts drafted him in the second round last year. And while it’s too early to truly give up on him yet, here’s the caveat to that statement: with a new GM in town, the same rules don’t always apply. There’s no reason for Chris Ballard to be tied to T.J. Green if he’s not high on him, which means that it’s absolutely possible for the Colts to move on from Green if he doesn’t impress. While a GM keeping a second-year player hoping he improves is usually expected, it’s different when that GM is new and doesn’t have those same ties.
I’m not suggesting that Green will for sure be cut, but it’s something that I think must be paid attention to as we move forward into training camp. Assuming everyone is healthy, Hooker, Geathers, and Butler all will likely for sure be ahead of Green on the depth chart. While Green might be fourth, the fact that Farley has been seeing first team reps in practice suggests that at the very least Green is in a competition for that spot - and if it comes to competing for a roster spot, Farley’s ability to contribute on special teams could give him an edge.
Again, we’ll just have to wait and see what happens. But the fact that Farley is seeing first team reps over Green is pretty interesting and gives us a clear indication of something to be monitoring in training camp this year.