INDIANAPOLIS — Colts cornerback Vontae Davis will be back at practice this week, coach Chuck Pagano said on Monday.
But what isn’t a lock is Davis’ starting job. When asked about Davis starting against Pittsburgh on Sunday, Pagano said, “Everybody has to earn everything around here.”
Pagano wouldn’t have made that comment about a player of Davis’ caliber in previous seasons. But at the same time, though, Davis isn’t playing like he did in previous seasons.
The Colts announced Saturday that Davis would not make the trip to Houston. The team didn’t give a reason for Davis’ not playing other than saying it wasn’t injury-related despite reports indicating that the cornerback was dealing with groin issues again.
Pagano repeatedly said it was a coach’s decision when asked about Davis following the Colts’ 20-14 victory over Houston.
Davis, whose four-year, $36 million contract expires after this season, was said to be the subject of trade talks as the deadline approached. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that at least two teams had contacted the Colts about possibly trading for the defensive back’s services.
Davis, a two-time Pro Bowler, has struggled this season. It started when he injured his hamstring in the team’s third preseason game at Pittsburgh. Davis didn’t return to the lineup until Week 4 of the regular season. He has only 16 tackles with just two passes defended this season.
Complicating the situation for Davis, the Colts are high on cornerback Pierre Desir, who started in his place against Houston on Sunday. Desir played a significant part in helping to hold Houston receiver DeAndre Hopkins to six catches for 86 yards and a touchdown. Desir knocked down a pass intended for Hopkins in the end zone on the Texans’ final drive of the game.
“Loves ball, great competitor,” Pagano said about Desir. “Obviously not afraid to go out there, lay it on the line and put himself out there. Played well, challenged. He’s fast and can run. He has confidence.”