Pagano: 'Consistency' Is The Next Step For Vontae Davis

Intro: After career years in 2013 and 2014, Vontae Davis battled injuries and other issues throughout an up-and-down 2015 season. Davis’ head coach believes his offseason approach will help him get back among the league’s top corners in 2016.


INDIANAPOLIS — To hear Chuck Pagano describe it, all football players should treat their bodies like Maseratis.

The Italian sports luxury vehicles, like NFL players, require constant time and attention in order to be at their best when they're needed the most.

Pagano used this comparison specifically when asked about his No. 1 cornerback, Vontae Davis, who is coming off an up-and-down and, at times, injury-plagued 2015 season.

Despite any issues, however, Davis played — and started — in all 16 games last year, collecting 50 tackles, four interceptions and leading the team with 16 passes defensed, earning his second straight Pro Bowl appearance in the process.

Those are certainly numbers any cornerback would be proud to hang their hat on, but Pagano said Davis wasn't really even at 100 percent until later in the season.

"I think he played at a high level towards the end," Pagano said earlier this week. "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 in years prior."

One prior year in particular, 2014, put Davis on the map as one of the top shutdown corners in the entire league. He didn't allow a single touchdown throughout the entire season, and, eventually, some teams just stopped even looking Davis' way throughout the game.

Davis, who earned his first Pro Bowl selection in 2014, that year had 44 tackles, four interceptions, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and tied for third in the NFL with 18 passes defensed.

"It's the hard work — you can never put your finger on it," Davis said of his 2014 season. "You just have to prepare yourself the best way you can and then when your opportunity comes, make the best of it. I just made the best of my opportunity."

Pagano said Davis' improvement and his maturation as a player were no coincidence.

"I think it's a process for everybody and I think from a maturity standpoint becoming a good pro and understanding what it takes during the season, during the offseason, putting the time in, putting the time in the playbook, understanding the scheme, the development of your fundamentals and your techniques," Pagano said of Davis last August. "But really it's just a maturation process."

Some of my favorite images from Vontae's 2015 season.

So what's the goal for Davis in 2016?

"Consistency," Pagano said. "Down after down after down after down. Game after game after game after game. Week after week. Consistency. No rollercoasters."

For the Colts' coaching staff, meeting that goal starts with a solid offseason workout program. Pagano said Davis has answered the call.

"He looks like he's in really good shape right now," the head coach said. "He's running around good. He's doing a great job of taking care (of himself)."

In other words, the Maserati is ready to hit the road.

"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," Pagano said. "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."

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