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Colts About To Get Creative With How They Use Their Safeties

Intro: With the health improving at the back end of the Colts defense, expect the team to use safeties Mike Adams, Clayton Geathers and T.J. Green together in specific packages.


INDIANAPOLIS – It's a package that Ted Monachino has been dreaming about since T.J. Green became a Colt back in late April.

On paper, what was Green's fit going to be with an expected starting safety duo already in place?

The consistent Mike Adams was returning for a third straight season.

Clayton Geathers, a fourth-round pick from the year prior, was going to slide into the vacant starting spot that Dwight Lowery had occupied in 2015.

But you don't draft guys in the second round of an NFL Draft to have them sit and watch as a rookie.

Ted Monachino knew, that when all three safeties were healthy, he could employ a personnel grouping that had the physical Geathers, the ever-dependable Adams and the rangy Green on the field at once.

Is that going to be unveiled this weekend?

"It provides a great deal of versatility," the new defensive coordinator says. "Secondly, it gives us a chance to put 11 really good football players on the field. If you pigeon-hole guys and you had to play a position, then you limit yourself. If you have a guy that is a difference-maker at a position but he is not a starter, then you have to find a role for that guy.

"There will be things that we will do with all three of those guys in the game."

D'Qwell Jackson is an 11-year veteran of the NFL and has seen the league evolve into a time where smaller, quicker, versatile defenders are a must, especially on third downs.

Monachino says with how the NFL has changed, a base defense (normally with four defensive backs) is used less than 40 percent of the time.

With offenses looking to exploit any mismatch via a bigger tight end or a quicker running back, defenses have to counter.

The Colts believe they now have a grouping to handle those third-down looks.

"All three of those guys can run and hit and you can place them anywhere," Jackson says of having Adams, Geathers and Green working together.

"With all three of those guys on the field, it's only going to help us as a defense and help us as a team."

A great Wednesday afternoon practice getting ready for the Chargers.

What makes the Colts able to implement such a look comes from what Geathers can do.

Listed at 6-2 and 220 pounds, Geathers is a sound tackler that was seen in limited action against Denver.

Geathers had five tackles in 34 snaps last Sunday, before the foot injury that kept him off the field in Training Camp and the preseason started to flare up.

Watch the film though of when Geathers was on the field in Denver and you see why the Colts can use the second-year safety as a hybrid linebacker in passing situations.

"Clayton was a force," Chuck Pagano said of Geathers' 2016 debut. "He looked like one of the best, if not the best, players on the field. He was all over the place.

"As he gets more reps and more used to the foot and his conditioning and that thing doesn't become an issue anymore and he is not sore halfway through a game and he can play more significant snaps, then we will absolutely explore putting him down (into the box)."

That foot kept Geathers from practicing on Wednesday, but he returned to work on Thursday.

If Geathers can go on Sunday, and with T.J. Green back to practice this week, Monachino might have the ability to use a new part of his defensive call sheet against San Diego.

-Green using that 4.3 40-yard dash speed.

-Adams directing traffic and being the magnet around the ball.

-Geathers being an extra linebacker and offering an enticing matchup option against other tight ends.

That's what the Colts see coming. 

"It's going to be great to see all of us on the field at the same time," Green says.

"I feel like we can do a lot of things with that combination of guys back there."

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