INDIANAPOLIS -- It’s no secret the pressure players such as quarterback Andrew Luck and linebacker Robert Mathis are under to be at their best every week for the Indianapolis Colts. But you don’t have to wonder if those players will show up to play on a week-to-week basis.
The same can’t be said about some other players on the roster.
With the start of training camp less than two weeks away, we’re going to take a look at a number of players who are under pressure to step up this season.
Time to step up: Cornerback Vontae Davis
Why he needs to step up: The Colts made it no secret they wanted to re-sign Davis. They wasted little time in doing that once free agency started, signing him to four-year, $39 million contract. Now it’s up to Davis to live up to that contract and become one of the premier cornerbacks in the NFL, because there’s a gap between him and the top players in the league at that position. Davis needs to be good enough to make opposing quarterbacks think twice before throwing to his side of the field. Davis and Greg Toler give the Colts a sold tandem at cornerback when they're on the field together.
What he has to do: Consistency -- that’s the key for Davis. He has showed flashes of having top-cornerback talent, but it’s the moments where it looks like he’s not playing hard that you question. He was badly beaten by St. Louis’ Tavon Austin twice in Week 10 last season, and Davis stopped aggressively chasing Austin on one of his touchdown catches. That won’t cut it because Davis is looked at as one of the veterans on the team and needs to lead by example.
Outlook: It’s tough to get a read on Davis, who did not take part in minicamp last month because of a groin injury, because he has such a laid-back demeanor. The Colts have to hope Davis wants to have a reputation as being one of the top cornerbacks in the league and not as one who is just pleased he signed a nice contract in the offseason.
Quotable: “He is a rare talent at 25 years of age who is still ascending as a player. We are excited to see him reach new heights in his career and help us attain our ultimate goal.” -- Colts GM Ryan Grigson