INDIANAPOLIS – A position group filled with storylines in 2017 was dealt another question last week.
Clayton Geathers is on the mend after off-season surgery on his neck.
With Geathers out this time of year, the Colts are down their expected safety starters for the 2017 season (Geathers and Malik Hooker, who is aiming towards Training Camp for his NFL debut in a practice setting).
The Geathers' news came after Chuck Pagano had already made it clear that anything is possible in the secondary.
"It's wide open, wide open back there," Pagano said of how the defensive backfield might look come September.
This week sees the Colts hitting the field for their first OTAs of the offseason.
While the first media availability to those OTA sessions will come Tuesday, a safety duo of Darius Butler and T.J. Green is the likely starting combination.
A sidelined duo of Hooker and Geathers means vital reps for Butler and Green over the next four weeks.
Pinpointing exact roles for Butler and Green here in 2017 is difficult.
Is Butler a full-blown safety? Or did the drafting of Hooker mean we could see some cross-training from Butler, the eldest member of the secondary?
"What will happen is those best five guys will be out there in nickel," defensive coordinator Ted Monachino says of Butler possibly going back to being a slot cornerback. "If Darius is the nickel corner, if he is one of those best five, he will be playing."
For Green, this time of year offers opportunities needed to show that the mental hurdle from last year is no longer impeding his development.
Looking at the cornerback group, Quincy Wilson appears to be the favorite opposite Vontae Davis.
Behind those two, answers need to be found to complete the corner depth, and find out how to handle the nickel positon.
- Who is the nickel corner?
- How quickly do Geathers and Hooker get up to speed?
- What are the roles for Green and Butler?
All questions that remain for a wide-open position group.
"We haven't really crossed some of those bridges yet, but it sure is fun to start looking at the depth chart and seeing where we can use guys and what skills they can bring on a down-by-down basis," Monachino says.
"We did that last year with several different packages and we'll do the same this year."
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