Tyjuan Hagler, essentially, benched in favor of Buster Davis

Tyjuan Hagler has had a rough 2008 season. After stupidly injuring himself lifting weights in the off-season, he lost his starting SAM backer job to Clint Session. Hagler spent the first 6 weeks of the season on the PUP, and since coming off PUP has played mostly special teams. With Gary Brackett going down with a leg injury, everyone assumed Freddie Keiaho would slide to MIKE, Session to WILL, and Hagler would regain his old job at starting SAM. According to Phil B at the Indy Star, Hagler himself was excited about the prospect of playing more.

Then, Tony Dungy did something unexpected:

Colts coach Tony Dungy reversed his Monday position [Wednesday] in naming Buster Davis as the middle linebacker to replace Gary Brackett, who has a broken fibula in his lower right leg and is probably out for the month (my conservative guess). The Colts say he's out at least two games.

I have no clue about this. I'm actually flabbergasted, as I'm sure Hagler is. Hagler was jacked up about the chance to play more. Instead, it looks like the nine-game starter these past two seasons is headed back to playing special teams.

One of the excuses Dungy gave in having Buster Davis start instead of Hagler is that Hagler is somewhat injured. Turns out, that isn't the case. Hagler is fine. Apparently, more lies beneath the surface. See below (emphasis mine):

Dungy said Hagler was nicked up, but I respectfully disagree it has anything to do with this. I spoke to Hagler Tuesday and he repeated he was fine, he was sound, he was ready to go.

I'm rewriting my final summation because it was a bit confusing the first time. First, it's obvious the Colts have soured on Hagler. Maybe it's because he's in a contract year and won't be back, so they want to look at other guys. Another reason could be that because Freddy Keiaho is already dinged up and wears a knee brace, they don't want to go into the game with a MLB who could exit early, then that requires thrusting Davis or somebody else in there who isn't prepared. This way, Davis prepares to play from the get-go. Plus, there's the radio in the helmet deal. They will have one for Davis and another for Keiaho, should he need to replace Davis at MLB for some reason.

So you get Davis ready. You tell Hagler to be ready if Keiaho is hurt or can't go at weak side. You leave Clint Session alone on the strong side. Like I said, I don't understand how Davis emerges as the guy, but that's the way they are handling it. And I guess we could end this by saying the Colts should beat the Bengals with anybody playing MLB.

Very interesting, indeed.

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