In 2014, there was little doubt about it: Colts cornerback Vontae Davis was among the very best at his position. He had a fantastic year in which he didn't allow a single touchdown and served as a lockdown corner for Indianapolis.
So what could possibly be the next step for Davis after his phenomenal effort last year? That was the question posed to Colts head coach Chuck Pagano today, and his answer was very interesting: by possibly covering opponents' top wide receivers.
"We have to be able to do whatever we want to do with him," Pagano said. "If that means putting him on somebody's best wide receiver instead of just playing one side of the football then maybe that's the next progression and we'll see. We have to pick and choose how we are going to defend people and stop people and identify their game records and the guys that are going to make plays and those type of things. He is going to continue to grow from a physical standpoint knowing the opponent. Once you get our scheme down and you're not thinking out there, you can spend a ton of time studying your opponent and the guys that he is going to go up against."
Now, for most people reading that statement, it would seem like a, "well, duh!" moment. Why wouldn't the team's best cornerback be on an opponent's best wide receiver? With the Colts, however, they've opted to keep Davis on the left side of the field, thus leaving Greg Toler on the right side. This is a strategy taken by other teams with top cornerbacks too, like the Seattle Seahawks with Richard Sherman. The idea is that Davis locks down one side of the field, which he did very successfully last year.
But what Pagano alluded to today was that the Colts might be willing to go away from that if need be - in other words, having Davis follow around a team's top receiver instead of staying on one side of the field - a strategy used with Darrelle Revis, for example. Whereas last year teams could just line up their top receiver to match up with Toler on the right side of the field (something the Dallas Cowboys did with Dez Bryant to tremendous success), having Davis follow around the top receiver would prevent that.
Of course, it's very important to note that Pagano didn't say anything is for sure right now but rather that it's something the Colts might consider. Even that comment alone is worth noting, however. It could mean that, if the Colts choose to go that route, Davis would be shadowing such top wideouts such as the Broncos' Demaryius Thomas, the Falcons' Julio Jones, and the Steelers' Antonio Brown in 2015, among others. It's still a long way from actually happening and at this point it's simply a comment that Chuck Pagano made in a press conference, but the Colts are considering it and it will be something to watch this year.