While the Pittsburgh Steelers haven’t been perfect this year, few teams have been as much of a dumpster fire this season as have the Indianapolis Colts, whose three victories have come against two teams that have not won a game this season and a team under .500 that is now starting a backup quarterback, having lost two of their most crucial defensive starters to boot.
While their organization might not have been as yet to be as inept as the Cleveland Browns, who, at best, botched a last-minute trade for a quarterback they viewed as potentially a franchise piece, or, as sad as it is for me to admit, the New York Giants, who apparently hate their head coach, let’s just say that things could have gone smoother.
Most recently, the Colts are dealing with a minor controversy over the handling of cornerback Vontae Davis, who as we’ve already relayed yesterday has been ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Steelers, much to the joy of those who own Antonio Brown in fantasy football. Late in the day, in fact, it was determined that he would have season-ending surgery.
The veteran cornerback, who has made two Pro Bowls while in Indianapolis, was recently ‘demoted’ from the starting lineup, the quotations marks providing the qualification that he has been injured. The problem is that the team had outright denied he has been injured, and Davis yesterday took issue with how it has been handled.
Leading up to Sunday’s game, head coach Chuck Pagano said that it was a coach’s decision that Davis would not play, giving no indication that he was injured, even though it was informally known that he was injured and limited with a groin injury.
“I can’t control what coach P said”, Davis told reporters yesterday. Asked why Pagano didn’t mention the injury, he replied, “that’s not my responsibility”. He was then asked whether or not there was a disagreement over his health.
“It’s a disagreement because I feel like I was demoted because of my health instead of my ability”, he responded. “The agreement is I take full responsibility (that) I’m not myself, I’m not Vontae Davis”, previously acknowledging that his recent tape has not been up to his standards while he has dealt with injury.
Repeatedly, the veteran mentioned the word respect, indicating that he felt Pagano showed a lack of it in his handling. “Knowing Chuck, I figured it would come from him. It really bothered me”, he said. “You want to know why and it should be more about respect”.
He admitted that a meeting with Pagano was ‘spirited”, saying, “of course”, it was. “You want to know why? I’m a grown man. There should be more respect. I’m a professional. I’ve been here long enough. This is more about respect than anything. I just feel in this situation, there was no respect whatsoever”.
As we see these ugly instances between coach and player leading to fractures in the locker room from Pagano, Ben McAdoo, and others, I would like to think that most would have a greater appreciation for Mike Tomlin’s ability to consistently earn his players’ respect.