For cornerback Cassius Vaughn his preparation for this week won’t be any different from any other he has had in his three NFL seasons.
Despite interim head coach/offensive coordinator Bruce Arians saying cornerbacks Vontae Davis and Justin King are ‘day-to-day’ and didn’t practice on Wednesday, Vaughn is staying the course.
“Even if they were here, you’ve got to approach it like you are a starter,” Vaughn said. “You’re a professional. You’ve got to prepare every day like you’re going to play because you never know what situation can pop up in a game and you’ve got to be ready for it.”
Vaughn joined the Colts in late May and has played mostly on special teams during the first three games.
He saw action in the secondary late in the fourth quarter against the Jaguars with extended playing time potentially on the horizon this weekend against one of the premiere passing teams in the league.
“They got a great team,” Vaughn said of the Packers. “We’ve watched them on film and they do a lot of unique things. They are very consistent so we just have to go out there and do what we’ve got to do and put these practices together.”
With facing one of the best passing teams in the league, Vaughn is ready for the task the secondary is going up against on Sunday.
Fellow cornerback Jerraud Powers is a four-year starter for the Colts and Vaughn knows with his inexperience (Vaughn has started three games in his career) he might be tested a bit more on Sunday.
“You have to accept that challenge and be ready for it. I didn’t come here not to be challenged at all,” Vaughn said.
“I look forward to it because you never know how good you are until you go up against the best and for years they’ve been the best. They’ve got a great group of receivers and quarterback so you got to go out there and be ready.”
Tags: Cassius Vaughn, Justin King, Vontae Davis
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As Darius Butler walked into the Colts locker room on Tuesday afternoon he quickly realized he was on the other side of the rivalry.
Butler, the Colts newly signed cornerback, comes to the Indianapolis after playing his first two NFL seasons (2009-2010) with the New England Patriots.
“It’s a great organization,” Butler said of his new team. “I played against this team every year. This is a big rivalry. It’s a great organization and I’m real happy to be a part of it.”
Last season, Butler played for the Carolina Panthers and has been ready for the chance to get back on the playing field after being cut on August 31.
He comes to the Colts during a time where the cornerback position is going through some injuries.
Head coach Chuck Pagano said on Monday that cornerbacks Vontae Davis (ankle) and Justin King (groin) would be week-to-week.
Butler isn’t sure where he will fit at the cornerback position but is anxious for another opportunity.
“They are kind of feeling me out, just like I’m kind of feeling them out,” Butler said. “We’ll know pretty quickly where they want me to help, where they think it’s best for me to help out. I’m ready to come in here and do whatever they need to do to help the team.”
During his 2009 season with the Patriots, Butler made seven tackles in a reserve role against the Colts.
The new scheme the Colts have implemented in the defensive backfield is something that has Butler intrigued.
“I definitely think it fits me well,” Butler said of the scheme. “It’s just pretty much picking up new terminology. Once I pick that up, I can play faster and think faster.”
Walking into the locker room, Butler did see a pair of former teammates from Connecticut in running back Donald Brown and linebacker Scott Lutrus.
Butler played in 42 career games at Connecticut and was a two-time captain for the Huskies.
He comes into a bye week for the Colts which should speed up the learning process, with the next game not until Oct. 7.
“I’m sure it will help me out mentally, getting the hang of things, getting used to the scheme and program,” Butler said. “Physically, I want to get out there. I’ve had enough bye weeks this year. I would like to get out there this Sunday but it’ll be good to get used to the new surroundings.”
Tags: darius butler, Justin King, Vontae Davis
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With Kevin Thomas in Philadelphia, the starting cornerback slot opposite Jerraud Powers is now wide open. Two of the chief competitors for that spot are two veterans who are hoping that Indianapolis becomes the place where their careers blossomed.
Cassius Vaughn is a competitor. In 2010, he made the Denver Broncos roster despite being undrafted. He made a splash on special teams as a rookie with a kick return for a touchdown. In 2011 he got some time at cornerback and made the most of it, picking off San Diego’s Philip Rivers and returning the ball 55 yards for a score.
A broken fibula sidelined Vaughn for the end of 2011, and stuck behind veteran corners Champ Bailey and Andre Goodman, he became expendable. Now, he hopes to bring his experience from Denver to help a young and rebuilding Colts’ defense.
“Playing behind Champ (Bailey) and Andre Goodman, it was a very limited chance, but I got a lot of experience I couldn’t have gotten anywhere else. I just hope to bring some of that here.”
Vaughn loves his new home in Indianapolis as well as the new opportunity for NFL success. He realizes he’s not the most notable player who switched between Denver and Indianapolis this off season, but he thinks he got a great deal nonetheless.
“I love it here, man. It’s nice…I know we’re both (he and Peyton Manning) happy about our situations. I know I’m very happy about mine.”
Justin King wasn’t so much stuck behind veterans in St. Louis as he was stuck with an injury bug. He missed his entire rookie season in 2008 with a foot injury suffered in preseason. Last season, he was part of a decimated St. Louis secondary that spent more time in the training room than on the field. King was starting for the Rams when a shoulder injury ended his season prematurely in December.
King is also excited about his new opportunity. Originally a fourth round pick in 2008 by St. Louis, the former Penn State star is happy to still be in the Midwest.
“I love Indianapolis. It’s a lot like St. Louis, just more compact.”
King offers some unique insight on Colts rookie quarterback Andrew Luck as well, having been in St. Louis to see the development of their first overall draft pick in 2010, Sam Bradford.
“There’s a lot of similarities. You know, they’re young and going to make some bad reads, but he (Luck) is ahead of the curve, just like Sam was. He ended up being rookie of the year, so…”
For King, this football camp opens with a heavy heart. Like all Penn State alums, he’s quite shaken over the events at his alma mater over the past year. He said he particularly feels bad for new head coach Bill O’Brien and the “good people who are still there.”
King was held out of practice at the end of last week with a minor hip flexor injury, which King viewed as “precautionary.” He’ll be back on the practice field this week. That’s good news for him as he and Cassius Vaughn figure to be locked in battle for a starting spot at cornerback.
Chuck Chapman is entering his second season as the editor and lead writer for Colts 101. He also covered the Cincinnati Bengals for the Sports Media 101. Chuck and his family are originally from Ohio, but have settled in Central Indiana and become big Colts fans. You can read Chuck’s other writing about the Colts at www.colts101.com.
Tags: Andrew Luck, Cassius Vaughn, Justin King
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