FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- When the Colts travel to Foxborough to take on the Patriots this Sunday they'll be without a key player on both sides of the football, as tight end Coby Fleener and cornerback Vontae Davis have been ruled out for the game, according to interim head coach Bruce Arians.
On a conference call with local media on Wednesday afternoon, Arians said former Patriot Darius Butler will start at cornerback, and Weslye Saunders elevates up the depth chart at tight end.
Fleener, a rookie out of Stanford, was the Colts second pick in the 2012 NFL draft, taken with the second pick of the second round. He continues to recover from a partially separated shoulder that kept him out of last Thursday's game against Jacksonville. In seven games this season, Fleener has 21 catches for 222 yards.
Davis, meanwhile, will miss his fifth game of the season as he nurses a knee injury. The talented cornerback is a familiar foe for the Patriots, as he spent the 2009-2011 seasons with the Dolphins. He was acquired via trade this offseason, with the Colts sending their second-round pick in 2013 and a conditional pick to Miami. In five games this season, Davis has 19 tackles and one passed defended.
That thrusts Butler, the 2009 second-round draft choice of the Patriots, into the starting lineup for the second straight week.
"I'm really pleased that we have him," Arians said of Butler. "He's a playmaker. He had a great game [last Thursday against the Jaguars], obviously the AFC Defensive Player of the Week. It builds great confidence for him going up against the challenge he has this week in coming up there [to New England]."