INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts made a bold move on August 26, 2012 by sending a second-round pick to Miami for cornerback Vontae Davis.
Davis was the Dolphins' first-round pick in 2009 and had opened 36-of-44 games over his first three seasons.
Ryan Grigson liked Davis' size and physical abilities and saw him as a solid component in Chuck Pagano's 3-4 blueprint.
Davis opened five games at each corner for Indianapolis after arriving so late last year. After closing the final five games on the right side, he is entrenched there now in a unit that also has Grigson acquisitions in Greg Toler and LaRon Landry. Antoine Bethea is the final component in a secondary bursting with promise.
Sunday represents the present for Davis, not the past.
"It's another game. This is the NFL," said Davis. "I'll prepare for Miami like I did for our first game against Oakland, so it's another game. I'm an Indianapolis Colt, and it's an opportunity to go into Week 2 with a lot of momentum after coming off a win against Oakland."
Almost every NFL Sunday offers such sub-plots, and Davis' teammate Darrius Heyward-Bey had one like it last week against Oakland. Davis, like Heyward-Bey, had friends in a prior location, but game days are about moving forward.
"It's fun because I actually was in the locker room with some of those guys, so I know a couple of guys there," said Davis. "Still, it's still NFL Sunday. We have to go out there and compete like any other Sunday."
Davis came to the Colts with experience and youth. The younger brother of San Francisco tight end Vernon Davis, Vontae is but 25 years old, and the club hopes he continues to make himself a force in the secondary.
"We expect greatness from Vontae," said Grigson earlier this year. "Everyone knows what he is capable of. We saw glimpses and impressive flashes last year. We expect him to put it all together."
Davis proved to be a game-changing force in last year's second outing with Tennessee. He sacked Jake Locker at the Colts' 10 late in the first half to force a field goal that kept the Colts within 20-7 while playing poorly.
Davis stopped Chris Johnson for a five-yard loss at the club's 10 again early in the fourth quarter, then defensed a pass two plays later to force another field goal that kept Indianapolis within 23-21. The second stop helped when Adam Vinatieri soon converted a 53-yard field goal to put the Colts back ahead to stay, 24-23.
With the addition of Toler (left corner) and Landry this year, the Colts hope to avoid upheaval in the secondary that marked last season when five starting rotations were used and no configuration opened more than four straight games.
Pagano said Davis had a solid camp, "You see him out here playing tight coverage, making plays every day." He also said Davis would remain on the right side rather than moving around in correlation to Miami's Mike Wallace, a big off-season signing.
"Everybody knows Mike can run," said Davis. "He's a fast guy, got a lot of ability and I'm pretty sure they're looking forward to using Mike to make different mismatches. We got a challenge ahead of us with Mike Wallace and also Brian Hartline. They got real good receivers."
Davis said Miami's Ryan Tannehill is more of a "pro-style quarterback" than Oakland's Terrelle Pryor last Sunday. Tannehill, taken seven notches behind Andrew Luck last year, can make every throw like Luck can.
"We got to put pressure Tannehill, make the throws come out quicker," said Davis. "He's going to sit in the pocket. We just got to go out there and stick to our game plan."
Wallace was targeted on multiple occasions last week, but had one reception. Hartline and Brandon Gibson thrived with 16 combined receptions for 191 yards and a score. Miami also will fortify a rushing attack that gained but 20 yards last Sunday.
The Indianapolis starting secondary totaled 31 tackles, four passes defense and two interceptions. The interceptions were in the end zone and red zone on Oakland's first and final possessions.
Davis said corrections are in order, and he enjoys playing with his powerful safeties.
"I'm happy with the win, but the mistakes we made, we'll try to correct them," said Davis. "It's a long season, and you want to become as good as possible as a unit. We're working on the little things with each other, the things that need to be corrected.
"You have safeties back there, Bethea and Landry, who are talented players. We're just fortunate to have an opportunity to play with those guys."
Miami Head Coach Joe Philbin was part of last year's trade, but sees Davis as a competitor.
"He's playing well. He's a very skilled athlete and he's got good physical toughness, good instincts," said Philbin. "He can play a variety of coverages. He's not a guy that has to play just one thing. He can press, play off (and) plays the ball well. I think the Colts have done a nice job with him. He's playing well."