The New Shutdown Corner: Vontae Davis


Indianapolis Colts cornerback Vontae Davis capped off a great first quarter start of the season by recording no tackles, no interceptions, and no passes defended against the Tennessee Titans. Davis didn’t even show up in the box score.

The Titans had 47 total plays and didn’t throw in Davis’ direction one time and he played in 90-percent of the snaps. That is the life of a shutdown corner in the NFL.

While most people are talking about Andrew Luck and the Colts No. 1 offense, and rightfully so, Davis is having a fantastic start to the season. His play in the first three games were just as impressive as his last game. He had a great interception against the Jaguars in Week Three.

Davis held Riley Cooper to one catch for five yards in Week Two. Davis had a costly pass interference call but it could have just as easily been an offensive pass interference on Cooper. He also allowed only one catch for five yards against Denver in the season opener.

Through four games Davis is holding opposing quarterbacks to a 22.6 passer rating and Pro Football Focus has him at a 3.6 grade. Vontae has been targeted 15 times only allowing six receptions giving him just a 40-percent completion rate. He has given up only 54 yards receiving, just nine yards per completion.

Most cornerbacks shy away from contact but Davis is giving up only 14 yards after the catch and has no missed tackles. He allowed eight touchdown catches last season, a bad number, but none since Week 14 of last season.

These numbers are even more impressive because Defensive Coordinator Greg Manusky likes to play aggressive man-to-man sets often leaving Davis isolated on his side of the field. The play of Davis and cornerbacks Greg Toler and Darius Butler have been a big boost to a defense that struggles to have a good pass rush. The secondary playing well also gives the safeties the opportunity to stop the run or help put pressure on the quarterback.

Many thought the Colts were paying Davis to much money when he signed a four-year $39 million deal this offseason because of his inconsistent play in 2013. As an example of Davis’ inconsistencies, he played his best game of 2013 against Denver but then played his worst just two games later against the St. Louis Rams.

The first month of the season is the best four game stretch Davis has played in his career. If Davis can continue to play at this level the Colts will feel like they got him for a discounted price.