INDIANAPOLIS —T.J. Green's transition to cornerback could see a new, and very important, chapter as soon as three days from today.
After getting his first-ever reps at the position during Tuesday's practice, Green could very well be in a position to play some actual in-game snaps at cornerback Saturday, when the Indianapolis Colts take on the Dallas Cowboys in their second preseason game of the year, defensive coordinator Ted Monachino said.
"Oh yeah, we would hope," Monachino told reporters Wednesday when asked if Green could possibly play as soon as Saturday. "If there is a chance for him to get in there in a situation where we feel like he can hold up, we wouldn't be afraid to put him in. It is still the preseason and we are still scratching around trying to find the best combination."
Green's move came Tuesday after he said he was approached by head coach Chuck Pagano, who asked his opinion about giving cornerback a try about an hour before practice began. Though Green had never played cornerback at any point of his football career, the coaching staff immediately threw him in for some first-team reps to see how he'd react.
The test continued Wednesday, when Green was seen out at cornerback with the No. 1 defense for a good portion of the day's practice.
Monachino said the staff feels comfortable giving Green the opportunity not just because they feel he has the skills that can translate well to the position, but because the move "allowed us to balance some things" around the rest of the secondary.
"We are at the point in camp where it is important to manage all of their reps," Monachino said when asked about Green potentially taking away cornerback snaps from other players at the position. "Just because of what we did, the number of reps we played on Sunday and the number of reps we get each day in practice. We are just trying to level out as many reps as we can by position."
Monachino acknowledged the move can be difficult — "it's a big transition," he said — but Green's increased confidence playing safety should help him in this endeavor.
"From an understanding standpoint, he gets it now," Monachino said. "Last year, he was kind of a one-man show. He didn't understand the whole structure. Now he understands the structure, knowing where he needs to pour things. Knowing where he needs to help us in the run game. That transition from safety to corner, that's a transition, but he still understands the structure so he has a chance. He has a fighting chance."
Here are more takeaways from Monachino's weekly session with reporters on Wednesday:
• Acknowledging all the changes to his unit this offseason is "a little bit of a broken record to this point" to Monachino. Yes, there's been a great deal of turnover — eight players who started Week 1 for the Colts' defense in 2016 are no longer on the roster — but the players who have filled into those roles, and those behind them, have essentially made it a seamless transition.
"We are so much more typical from a roster standpoint that there is not a huge drop off from one to the next," Monachino said. "Our three techniques are competing like three techniques. Our nose tackles are competing like noses (tackles) and our inside linebackers are doing the same. I think we can see what we are doing and where we are and each guy is taking coaching whether they're on the tape or not."
• Rookie cornerback Quincy Wilson is "right where he needs to be" in his development, according to Monachino. While Wilson was in coverage on one touchdown pass in Sunday's preseason opener against the Detroit Lions, his defensive coordinator praised his play overall, which included a team-high 50 defensive snaps.
"Quincy had the guy covered on the touchdown throw. He just didn't locate the ball," Monachino said. "There have been a lot of young guys that it takes time to realize that it is an eyelash. That is the only thing that separates open and not open. I think he learned a lot in the game. I was pleased with a lot of the things he did. He knows he has to play better and he is determined and focused on getting better."
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