Prior to the Week 14 match-up with the Titans, I listed third-year corner Cassius Vaughn as one of my unsung players for the 2012 season. After the Titans game, I guess we can say his contributions aren't so unheralded anymore.
The NFL has chosen to reward Vaughn as the Defensive Player of the Week for his 8-tackle performance against Tennessee, including a HUGE pick 6 of Jake Locker that acted as the catalyst for Indianapolis' second half comeback after being down 20-7 at halftime.
Vaughn was traded to the Colts this offseason in a player swap with the Broncos. Fullback Chris Gronkowski went to Denver. While Gronkowski has been on and off Denver's roster and has played sparingly, Vaughn has developed into a solid corner ideally suited best as a slot coverage man. Because of a season-ending injury to Jerraud Powers, Vaughn has been pressed into a starting role, and has played admirably.
As we noted earlier this week, the play of the corners (Vaughn, Darius Butler, and Vontae Davis) picked up significantly in the second half of the Titans game. Bruce Arians noted in his Monday presser that Davis, in particular, was "coming on like gangbusters." Darius Butler won this same award after the Colts Week 10 dismantling of the Jaguars.
The Colts next opponent is the division-leading Texans and Andre Johnson. Johnson will be a great test for this secondary.