Quincy Wilson Continues To Work To Earn More Playing Time

Posted Dec 5, 2017

Intro: Indianapolis Colts rookie cornerback Quincy Wilson on Sunday played in just his third game of the season after a nagging knee injury, among other factors, landed him on the inactives list for most of the year. Wilson hopes to get the opportunity to get more opportunities moving forward.

INDIANAPOLIS — Making the jump to the NFL from college football can be a humbling experience, as young players, especially high draft picks, become “the new kid” once again.

Indianapolis Colts 2017 second-round pick Quincy Wilson — the 46th-overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft — is a young cornerback navigating the ups and downs that can come with making the transition to the professional game.

And after not appearing in the Colts’ previous 10 games, an injury to No. 2 cornerback Pierre Desir on the first play of the second quarter of Sunday’s 30-10 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars would finally pave Wilson’s way back to the field.

Desir, who suffered a torn pectoral muscle, would not return the rest of the afternoon, giving Wilson a prime opportunity to play some meaningful snaps for the first time since Week 2.

“Yeah, I mean, Pierre went down, so it was my time to get in there, make some plays and do what I can to help the team win,” Wilson said to a crowd of reporters at his locker on Monday.

After re-watching game footage on Monday, however, Wilson knows he has room to improve — and that it starts in the classroom and on the practice field this week, as the Colts prepare to take on the Buffalo Bills this Sunday at New Era Field.

“No, I wasn’t happy,” Wilson said about his performance against the Jaguars, which included four tackles. “I felt rusty out there, but I just have to go back to practice and keep preparing.”

Colts head coach Chuck Pagano echoed Wilson’s sentiments on Monday, but said they applied for all the young defensive backs when he was asked about the play of the rookie from Florida specifically.

“Like all of them, I thought there were some bright moments and some plays that weren’t so bright, but that’s part of playing the position out there,” Pagano said. “It’s tough.”

Just 21 years old, Wilson generated interest from the fans and media alike after initially getting some time in the Colts’ season opening loss to the Los Angeles Rams, and then earning his first-career start the following week against the Arizona Cardinals, a 16-13 overtime loss for the Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Wilson played 98 percent of the defensive snaps and contributed two tackles and a pair of passes defensed against veteran quarterback Carson Palmer & Co., but played through a knee injury he suffered in that game, and the cornerback’s rookie season has taken a major detour since that point.

At first missing practices due to the knee injury, Wilson slowly worked his way back into the fold, but he continued to be listed as inactive on gameday, a designation he would carry in Weeks 3-9, and then again in Week 12; he was active Week 10 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but didn’t play a single snap.

Wilson’s defensive coordinator, Ted Monachino, said prior to the Colts’ Week 8 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals that the staff was waiting for the young cornerback’s defensive and special teams practice intensity and consistency to match his obvious talent level, and that other players had been able to step up in his place at the position.

“When Quincy practices and plays better than the other guys, he’ll be up and he’ll be playing,” Monachino said.

Working his way back
Wilson paired with Teez Tabor, selected 53rd overall by the Detroit Lions in the 2017 NFL Draft, in college at Florida to form one of the most feared cornerback duos in all of college football last season, but both have struggled to supplant teammates for playing time to this point of the season.

Tabor didn’t dress for the Lions’ first three games this year, and only saw a total of three defensive snaps total during the first seven weeks of the season. He has recently played in the Lions’ past three games in a limited role, however, giving him six games played so far this season.

No player appears to travel the same exact path to success in the NFL, and Tabor joins Wilson as high-pedigree players who are still finding their way.

“He’s got to practice and prepare well. That’s part of him being young and it’s also part of him being a little immature,” Monachino said at the end of October. “It’s also a function of he’s got guys that are pretty good pros that are working their tails off to keep him where he is right now. I think that hopefully that’s a motivator for him, just to hear me say that. When he practices better and prepares better, he’ll play more.”

The message from his coaches appears to have sunk in for Wilson, who is taking things in stride as he continues his way through this process.

“I can just keep going to practice, practicing hard and executing the game plan and try to make plays and help our team win,” Wilson said on Monday.

At this point, it appears Wilson will get many more opportunities to do just that moving forward. The Colts on Monday placed Desir on Injured Reserve, ending his season, and the team’s top cornerback Rashaan Melvin, continues to be week-to-week with a hand injury.

That currently leaves the cornerback position open for five young Colts players — Wilson, Kenny Moore II, Nate Hairston, Chris Milton and D.J. White — none of whom have more than two years of NFL experience, and have a combined five NFL starts among them.

After trying to shake the rust off on Sunday, however, Wilson repeated the mantra of any successful cornerback.

“We have to have a short memory,” Wilson said of the Jaguars game. “It’s over with and (we’ll) get back to work, move on and get ready for Buffalo.”

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