The Indianapolis Colts have one of the top cornerbacks in football in Vontae Davis. In 2014, he had the lowest opposing passer rating of any corner (according to Pro Football Focus) and he has made the Pro Bowl in each of the past two seasons. He has turned into a legitimate number one corner for the Colts, so what is there to work on for him?
The answer is clear to Colts head coach Chuck Pagano: playing consistent football.
“Consistency," Pagano emphasized. "Down after down after down after down. Game after game after game after game. Week after week. Consistency. No rollercoasters.”
That is often the next step for a lot of the top players in the game, as after proving that he can play at a high level the player must then do so consistently. That's true of some other players on the Colts too, and it's true of Vontae Davis.
Davis has proven over the past several years that he is as capable as any cornerback in the NFL of being a shutdown-level corner, but his biggest issue is doing so consistently. That doesn't mean he's a bad player, but it means there are times where he isn't quite as good as the expectations.
Over the past four seasons with the Colts, Davis has recorded 187 tackles, 53 passes defensed, twelve interceptions, two forced fumbles, and a sack in 57 games. He is the ideal fit for Chuck Pagano's 3-4 defense as he is a press cover corner who the team can trust to hold his own against an opposing receiver. After a stellar 2014 season, he took a step back in 2015 due to some lingering injuries, but Pagano is confident that his top corner will regain his 2014 form.
“Yeah, I think so. I think he played at a high level towards the end [of last season]," Pagano said. "If you look at his body of work the past couple of games of the season, I think he was back to where he was years prior. He looks like he’s in really good shape right now. He’s running around good. He’s doing a great job of taking care (of himself). They all figure it out at some point as far as what it means to be a pro and how to take care of yourself, how to take care of your body and the time you have to spend, not only to stay on the field, but the time you need to spend in the training room and to take care of yourself. These guys are like Maserati’s. If you don’t put the time in, as much time or more off the field, it’s hard to stay healthy, it’s hard to stay on the field.”
Davis is healthy and looking to build upon his success, and there's reason to believe he will in 2016. But for him to take the next step, Pagano says it's clear: become more consistent. That's the key for so many top-tier players in the league, and it's certainly true of Vontae Davis.