- Paul Kuharsky, ESPN Staff Writer
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INDIANAPOLIS -- These cornerbacks are playing mostly man to man. The corners on the 2010 Colts played almost exclusively zone.
As I talked to Cassius Vaughn and Vontae Davis Sunday evening in the Indianapolis locker room, I found myself thinking about guys who saw a lot of action at corner for the franchise’s last playoff team -- Justin Tryon and Jacob Lacey.
Vaughn and Darius Butler are like those guys. The team didn't know what it could expect from them. Their roles have expanded because of injuries. They seem to be getting better.
The coaches have changed, the GMs have changed, many of the players have changed -- yet again the Colts have this plug-and-play feel at cornerback.
Titans quarterback Jake Locker played a role in it for sure, but Vaughn had a giant interception for a touchdown and Butler got Andrew Luck the ball back with another. Davis might have had an end-zone pick but interim coach Bruce Arians said he lost the ball in the lights.
As the starters Sunday, Vaughn and Davis did a lot of good work near the line of scrimmage and in run support, too.
In the second quarter on back-to-back plays, Vaughn tackled Chris Johnson on a short pass to the right for no gain and Davis cut down tight end Jared Cook on the other side for a 1-yard loss on a screen.
“In this league, you have to be a complete corner,” Davis said. “You have big running backs. When the ball gets out to the edges, the only players there to make the tackles there are the corners.”
The Colts may have gotten away with some pass interference, but Pete Morelli and his crew were letting them play in the secondary on both sides. Indy gave up a couple of 46-yard passes to Kenny Britt that Arians said were more about great throws and catches than poor coverages.
In the big picture, the defensive backs did more than enough to contribute to a win.
Vaughn would likely be the nickel at best if Jerraud Powers wasn't on injured reserve.
Davis looks as healthy as he’s been since Colts GM Ryan Grigson dealt a second-rounder to Miami for the veteran corner to solidify the secondary.
We’ll need time to see if that was a good deal or not. This week, it looked good.
“I think Vontae is coming on like gangbusters,” Arians said.