It seems every week in the NFL there’s a storyline which makes you scratch your head. Maybe it was Martavis Bryant bashing his teammate via social media, or the recent WWE matches—I mean scuffles—which took place in Week 9 throughout the NFL.
One of those storylines would certainly be the Indianapolis Colts deciding to bench arguably their best cornerback before the team’s Week 9 game vs. the Texans. Vontae Davis, the aforementioned talent, didn’t make the trip to Houston, and when head coach Chuck Pagano was asked whether Davis would participate this week in preparation for the Steelers, he was very non-committal.
This from the CBS 4 Station in Indianapolis:
Davis became significant news over the weekend when the team announced its two-time Pro Bowl selection would not make the trip to Houston, only noting it was not related to an injury. He was a full participant in practice Thursday and Friday.
After the 20-14 win over the Texans, Pagano said it was a “coach’s decision’’ to leave Davis in Indy. He used the same response to several follow-up questions.
Davis was not available for comment on Monday during the 45-minute locker room session open to the media.
Late in the day, Pagano did little to clear things up.
Will Davis practice this week?
“Yeah, he should,’’ Pagano said.
Will he start Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Lucas Oil Stadium?
“Everybody has to earn everything around here,’’ he said.
It’s been a rocky season for Davis, one that opened with him missing the first three games after suffering a groin injury during training camp. He’s been credited with 21 tackles and only two defended passes in five games.
Pagano was in full evasive mode when asked to access Davis’ season.
“It’s been a hard year for everybody,’’ he said. “We’re fighting. We’re scraping. We’re going to keep our heads down and we’re going to keep working. Always. Everybody’s going to keep working.’’
At Mike Tomlin’s weekly press conference, he was quite glowing about Davis as a player, and mentioned how Davis’ overall availability will be a huge factor in the upcoming game. He’s right, to a point. Davis is still a very solid cornerback in the NFL, but if you’ve watched the past matchups between Davis and Antonio Brown — it hasn’t been pretty.
Dating back to the 2014 season, check out what Brown has done vs. the Colts, and mainly Davis:
2014 - 10 rec. / 133-yards / 2 TDs
2015 - 8 rec. / 118-yards / 2 TDs
2016 - 5 rec. / 91-yards / 3 TDs
And, of course, who could forget this:
AB REALLY DID VONTAE DAVIS LIKE THAT pic.twitter.com/sbjMA99Dt6— Football Posts Media (@FballPosts) November 26, 2016
Davis is a very good cornerback--a Pro Bowl cornerback in fact—but the two years he was selected to the Pro Bowl were two of the years it seemed as if Brown was just toying with him throughout the game.
Davis’ availability will be a factor, but how big of a factor is certainly up for debate.