By Rick Teverbaugh
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. — For cornerback Vontae Davis this is his first year to go through training camp with the Indianapolis Colts and he's making the most of it.
Davis was acquired during last season from the Miami Dolphins. He rapidly made his presence felt.
He played 10 games with the Colts a season ago and started each one. During that span Davis had 53 tackles, three interceptions and a sack. He had three passes defended and one tackle in the team's playoff loss to Baltimore.
Now he is fitting in with several new faces in the defensive backfield and by all appearances is having a blast doing it.
“We are just having fun," said Davis. "We love being around one another. Coach Pagano preaches family and we go out every day as if it’s just fun.”
He feels like there's a tightness in this group that has been building and has roots even further back than the first days they were officially together earlier this summer.
"Me and (Greg) Toler and (Atoine) Bethea, we're all from the (Washington) D.C. area," said Davis. "We knew each other for a while."
The chemistry in the defensive backfield is become obvious toi everyone, including Colts head coach Chuck Pagano. "Those guys are making a ton of plays," he said. "Vontae, the way he ended the season last year, is playing with a lot of confidence. He's making plays and providing tight coverage."
The coach's special attention he's giving to Davis is another reason for that confidence.
“In meetings, Coach Pagano sits by me all the time so I am very confident," said Davis. "To have the head coach as the defensive back coach in the past, it is very helpful and it’s just very different as far as coming in during the season.”
He's making progress in camp with his own skills as well.
“It’s been good. I am getting accustomed to the defense and I am able to play fast without thinking," said Davis. "It’s just playing fast and trying to limit the mistakes. I just feel comfortable playing with the guys, bonding with the guys. It’s different for me now then it was previously coming in during the season. It’s just working hard and continuing to work hard in practice and just keep pushing every day in practice and carry it over to the game.”One of the ways he polishes his game and gets the most out of his own abilities is to line up against the best the team has to offer. Providing coverage when quarterback Andrew Luck is trying to complete passes to Reggie Wayne is an ultimate challenge.
Davis knows the Colts offense has one simple part of the game plan.
“Throw it to 87. I mean Reggie, he’s been giving me a good look, he’s been working hard, he is a very good professional," said Davis. "I look up to Reggie. Before I got into the NFL, he was a guy that I looked up to. I was a fan of Reggie Wayne and now I get to compete against him. It’s a great opportunity and I am very blessed to have this opportunity.”
Blessed also to be part of a defensive backfield that some are already saying might be one of the better units in the NFL.
"I've never played around somebody like Landry," said Davis. "Toler and Landry are very talented. I mean, I can’t pinpoint it. I think it is up to us how good we want to be. We just got to work hard in practice and let everything else take care of itself.”