The Indianapolis Colts have been playing Darius Butler at safety quite a bit during training camp this year, and it’s a position change they might be considering making. That move could depend upon whether D’Joun Smith steps up as the third cornerback, however.
Smith was drafted by the Colts in the third round of last year’s draft, but his rookie season was mainly spent rehabbing from a knee injury. The team likes Smith, but they haven’t really been able to see him on the field much yet, as during the offseason program Smith was still rehabbing.
He’s back on the field at training camp, but the Colts are still taking it slow with him - as head coach Chuck Pagano said that even though Smith is impressing, he’s still not 100% recovered from his injury.
“Yeah, I think you’re seeing the same thing that we’re seeing,” Pagano said Tuesday when asked about the fact that Smith seems to be having a good camp. “He’s made some plays. He’s moving around. He’s not 100 percent. I think because he’s been out for so long it takes some time to get back into it, but he’s pushing through some things with the injuries that he’s had in the past. He’s made some plays, so you can see just from a confidence standpoint. Body language alone is totally different. And obviously when good things happen to you, and you make some plays that confidence is back. Your swagger usually comes with that. So you’re starting to see what we saw on tape coming out of college.”
Pagano’s comments aren’t as encouraging as many would like when it comes to Smith’s health, however, as it sounds like the corner still isn’t 100% and Pagano still referred to pushing through some of his past injuries. So is Smith truly past that knee injury?
“We’re just taking it one day at a time,” Pagano said. “We’re being very, very smart with not only him but with the rest of those guys that are coming off of injuries. The coaches are doing a great job. The trainers are doing a great job communicating with those guys and giving us an idea of how many reps these guys should take each and every day, and we stick to that plan. As long as we don’t abuse that and we stick to that plan, we’ll get these guys to where we need to get them by September 11th.”
It was a very vague answer and one he turned into a more general statement, but it sounds like D’Joun Smith still isn’t fully ready to go. You wouldn’t really be able to tell that from practice, however, as he’s been playing and receiving quite a bit of reps with the defense. He’s made some plays and has had a solid camp, and that needs to continue. He’s a guy that could perhaps fill the number three cornerback role, but it’s an unknown right now and will remain so until we see him on the field. Hopefully, he’ll be able to stay healthy through the preseason and get quite a bit of work in to show what he can do.