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Here’s what Chuck Pagano needed to say after the Colts held on for a 20-14 win in opposition to Houston.
Matt Kryger/IndyStar

An damage in the course of the preseason appears to have derailed Vontae Davis’ 2017 season. But is that the entire story?(Photo: Robert Scheer/IndyStar)

HOUSTON – Five days after discovering no takers on the commerce marketplace for their slumping Pro Bowl cornerback, the Indianapolis Colts boarded their group airplane Saturday, certain for a date with AFC South rival Houston, whereas Vontae Davis stayed house.

Why?

A fuller clarification stays elusive 24 hours later, and the conflicting narratives which have emerged have forged a shadow over the connection between the group and a participant who was as soon as their high expertise on protection. Most vital, although, is that this: The obvious rift is a powerful indication that Davis’ days with the Colts are numbered. The 29-year-old, nine-year professional and two-time Pro Bowler is about to grow to be a free agent come March, and it’s very tough to see the Colts ponying up once more and badembly the price ticket that Davis might command on the open market.

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The Colts discovered a option to win. Kind of. Let’s not give them an excessive amount of credit score. T.Y. Hilton although? Doyel referred to as him excellent. Also, what about Vontae Davis?
Matt Kryger/IndyStar

Both Pro Football Talk and the NFL Network reported that Davis wants extra therapy on the groin damage that price him the primary three video games of the common season. In a dialog just a few weeks in the past, Davis revealed that the groin damage is one thing he’s battled off-and-on for years, and may be very probably one thing he’ll need to take care of lengthy after his NFL profession is over.

But he hasn’t been listed on the damage report for the groin since Week three, and Davis has routinely been a full participant in apply, together with Thursday and Friday final week. And even after the commerce deadline got here and went Tuesday, with Davis’ title floated as a participant the Colts may very well be prepared to ship out of city, he spoke extremely of Indianapolis – town he’s routinely mentioned saved his profession – and remained intent on enjoying Sunday in opposition to the Texans.

The Colts, formally, aren’t calling this an damage matter, and the group doubled down on that stance once more Sunday. “Non-injury related,” the group wrote in its launch of the information, and a league supply confirmed as a lot Sunday, regardless of the a number of reviews that contend in any other case.

So did Chuck Pagano, the person who made the choice. When requested if Davis would return to apply this week and be energetic for Sunday’s recreation in opposition to the Steelers, Pagano mentioned, “Yeah.”

That’s a powerful indication that Davis, in truth, isn’t battling a lingering damage, and the choice was made by Pagano to go away him at house for one thing totally different altogether. A participant with a lingering groin damage usually isn’t anticipated to return to apply and play every week later. Pagano mentioned Davis was.

The Colts’ coach supplied no additional clarification.

“Did he aggravate his groin?” Pagano was requested.

“Coach’s decision,” Pagano mentioned.

“There are a lot of conflicting versions (of this story)…”

“Coach’s decision,” Pagano interrupted.

“Is he healthy?”

“Coach’s decision,” he mentioned as soon as extra.

Davis didn’t reply when requested for remark. 

It’s believable that Davis was merely demoted. His play in latest weeks hasn’t been clbadic Davis – removed from it. He was burned every week in the past in Cincinnati by a rookie fourth-rounder grabbing his first profession landing, a fly ball from Bengals QB Andy Dalton that dropped into Josh Malone’s lap in the long run zone whereas Davis was sluggish and late to get there. It was apparent then, because it’s been apparent many of the season: Davis merely hasn’t been himself.

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WRAPPING UP COLTS VS. TEXANS, NOV. 5
Here’s what T.Y. Hilton needed to say after his huge day in opposition to Houston | 1:15

The Colts receiver had 5 catches for 175 yards and two touchdowns.
Matt Kryger/IndyStar

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WRAPPING UP COLTS VS. TEXANS, NOV. 5
Chuck Pagano on Colts win: ‘Much wanted to say the least’ | 2:52

Here’s what Chuck Pagano needed to say after the Colts held on for a 20-14 win in opposition to Houston.
Matt Kryger/IndyStar

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WRAPPING UP COLTS VS. TEXANS, NOV. 5
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Here’s what the Colts QB needed to say in regards to the Colts’ 20-14 win over Houston.
Matt Kryger/IndyStar

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WRAPPING UP COLTS VS. TEXANS, NOV. 5
Here’s what Gregg Doyel and Stephen Holder consider the Colts win in opposition to Houston | three:14

The Colts discovered a option to win. Kind of. Let’s not give them an excessive amount of credit score. T.Y. Hilton although? Doyel referred to as him excellent. Also, what about Vontae Davis?
Matt Kryger/IndyStar

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    Here’s what Gregg Doyel and Stephen Holder consider the Colts win in opposition to Houston

And that’s not good for an getting older cornerback in a contract yr.

Three seasons after ending as Pro Football Focus’s second-rated nook in all of soccer – Davis allowed opposing QBs only a 38.eight ranking – his play has dipped dramatically. In 175 snaps this yr he is allowed 16 catches for 226 yards and a landing, and an opposing pbader ranking of 98.7. PFF ranks him 82nd amongst corners.

Complicating issues for Davis, in Rashaan Melvin and Pierre Desir, the Colts (surprisingly) have two succesful cornerbacks, each of whom are enjoying higher than him in the meanwhile. Might Pagano have made the decision to bench his former Pro Bowler, and may it have been a choice Davis didn’t like? That might clarify a choice to go away Davis at house that wasn’t injury-related.

Pagano, whose personal future in Indianapolis stays unsure at greatest, has little to lose. Perhaps he felt prefer it was the time to place his foot down and echo a sentiment first-year General Manager Chris Ballard has emphasised for the reason that day he arrived on the town: The group will play the fellows who should play.

It’s been a nightmare of a season for Davis, a pointy digression from late this summer time, when he was stellar each day in coaching camp. He was trying just like the Davis of outdated, the very best participant on the defensive facet of the ball, the spine of a rebuilt secondary. Pagano mentioned greater than as soon as that he’d by no means seen Davis play higher on a constant foundation. Davis, himself, gave the impression to be ingesting within the optimism. “I’m healthy and I’m ready,” he mentioned as camp commenced. “If you ask me, I feel like a rookie all over again. I’ve never been this excited for a season.”

But an premature damage – Davis aggravated that groin within the third preseason recreation – derailed his quick begin. Davis returned to the beginning lineup in Week four however hasn’t been wherever close to the identical since.

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Back in August, he was dominant. In video games this season, he’s been a legal responsibility.

Also vital to this mess: Davis and Pagano are shut. The head coach and his spouse traveled all the best way to Puerto Rico for Davis’ 2015 marriage ceremony, the summer time after Davis wrapped up his most interesting yr as a professional. Back then Davis was a real shutdown nook, the man quarterbacks have been too scared to throw at. At one level, he went greater than 1,000 consecutive performs with out giving up a landing.

He was a Pro Bowler in 2014 and ’15, wi to confess the commerce from Miami to Indianapolis in 2012 was the impolite awakening he so desperately wanted. Pagano, Davis usually repeated, performed a pivotal position.

“I’ve never had a coach like him,” Davis mentioned within the midst of his greatest season. “The little things he’s taught me have gone a long way. He taught me the things you do outside the building carry over to what you do in the building.”

But that looks as if endlessly in the past. Now he’s getting left at house for a division recreation in Houston, now not an instrumental piece to this protection, his future in Indianapolis seeming to fade with every pbading week.

Call Star reporter Zak Keefer at (317) 444-6134 and comply with him on Twitter: @zkeefer.

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