INDIANAPOLIS – Before March rolls around, the Colts would be well served to decide how they view the future for Clayton Geathers.
Is the third-year safety an enforcer from the safety position, with the versatility to move down to linebacker on passing downs?
Or would the Colts be wiser to put Geathers permanently at linebacker, adding some speed to the front seven?
Those are questions the Colts will ask of themselves this offseason.
"That's an excellent question," defensive coordinator Ted Monachino said during the 2016 season when asked about Geathers possibly moving to linebacker for good. "Is he a guy that we grow into a full-time linebacker at some point down the road?"
When Geathers was healthy in 2016 he was the soundest tackler the Colts had on defense.
"Clayton is a fine football player," Monachino said. "We have to find ways to continue to keep him going and being productive because he has the ability to make a bunch of plays."
Currently, the Colts have their own questions at safety and inside linebacker.
At safety, the team is seeing Mike Adams and Darius Butler enter free agency. T.J. Green, a rookie from last season, did not secure a starting spot exiting 2016.
At inside linebacker, D'Qwell Jackson has been released, opening up a starting spot. The Colts must decide if youngsters Edwin Jackson and Antonio Morrison are starting caliber players in 2017.
All of these factors will play into how the 220-pound Geathers will be used in his third NFL season.
Geathers heads into 2017 recovering from a neck injury that ended his 2016 season after just nine games.
One player who is really eager to see the development of Geathers is the recently retired Robert Mathis.
"He means what Bob Sanders meant to us," Mathis says of Geathers.
"He's got a lot of nasty in him and he will show up real ugly to every play. He brings bad intentions. He will strike and he will not say a word about it, too. Next play, he will just strike you again.
"He's the real silent assassin on the team."
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