INDIANAPOLIS -- T.J. Green was ready to take the practice field at his normal position of safety for the Indianapolis Colts when coach Chuck Pagano approached him with an idea about an hour before the session was scheduled to begin Tuesday afternoon.
“He asked if I wanted to play corner,” Green said.
“I’m all for it,” Green said. “I don’t think it’s a one-day thing. I feel like I can play the position. They want me out there.”
Green has never played cornerback in a game at any level, but there he was on the practice field closing in on receivers while mixing in some first-team snaps opposite fellow cornerback Vontae Davis.
So in a matter of just a few years, Green has gone from starting his college career at Clemson as a receiver, to switching to safety while at the school and being selected in the second round of the 2016 draft to play that position, to now potentially moving to cornerback.
“It was exciting to me,” Green said. “[Pagano is] trying to get me on the field. Whatever it takes to get me on the field, I’m going to do.”
It’s uncertain if Green will transition to being a full-time corner. The Colts put him out there Tuesday partly because they have a shortage of bodies at that position due to injuries. But also because they want to have the best defensive backs on the field at all times.
“We have a tall, fast guy who is a good football player. At the end of the day, we’re going to find the best four guys,” Pagano said. “T.J. is coming on. He had a real good game [against Detroit]. It wasn’t clean, it wasn’t perfect. But he’s a big physical guy. The game is starting to slow down for him. Again, the more you can do, the better off you’re going to be.”
Green’s rookie season was inconsistent. He found himself taking bad angles on plays, which often led to missed tackles to go with foolish unsportsmanlike penalties during the 2016 season. Now he’ll spend time in the film room learning the defensive plays at cornerback as well as safety.
“I feel like if I put the work in, work on the details -- I know the playbook," Green said. "I can already play fast, just work on the technique part. I feel like I can be a solid corner in this league.”
Davis has some advice for Green about playing the position.
“Short-term memory,” Davis said. “It’s part of the position. Corner, you have to be wired a little differently. Mentally, that’s the last line of defense. A corner gets beat and the whole world sees it. It only takes one time to mess you up in the head. That’s why you have to have short memory.”