Vontae Davis, Greg Toler will be ready

The Colts' starting cornerbacks assure after a limited practice week that they will be good to go on Sunday at New England.

Indianapolis Colts cornerback Vontae Davis says there’s no doubt he will play in Sunday’s AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.

“No, I don’t have no doubt in my mind,” the Pro Bowl cover guy said Friday.

Davis was limited in practice this week as the team curbed his workload due to a sore knee. Cornerback Greg Toler was also listed as questionable on the injury report, due to a sore groin.

But Colts coach Chuck Pagano reiterated he doesn’t have any doubt, either, that both will play against the New England Patriots.

“We’re just taking care of them,” Pagano said. “We’re just trying to make the best decisions to get them to Sunday healthy and ready to go. So it wouldn’t be wise to do certain things right now and risk that.”

Asked if he was as confident Friday as he was two days earlier when the coach said both cornerbacks would be ready, Pagano said, “Absolutely.”

Toler assured Thursday that he would be ready.

“I’m feeling good,” he said. “The doctors, they just wanted to keep an eye on it. I was just feeling a little fatigued so they just had me sit out these two days.”

The questions are inevitable, given the magnitude of the game with a Super Bowl XLIX berth on the line and the ability of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady to shred secondaries. Brady completed 33-of-50 passes for 367 yards and three TDs with one interception in a 35-31 AFC Divisional playoff victory over Baltimore at Gillette Stadium.

The three-time Super Bowl winner and two-time NFL MVP is playing in his 28th career playoff game and ninth AFC Championship Game in 15 seasons. He completed 64.1 percent of his regular-season passes for 4,109 yards and 33 touchdowns with just nine interceptions.

“He’s the (most) ultimate competitor I’ve ever been around,” Davis said of Brady. “When I was in Miami, when I was here. Tom doesn’t go into a game not expecting to win. That’s what he brings to the game. That’s why he’s a special player, a future Hall of Famer, his makeup.”

Davis and Toler were instrumental in the Colts’ defensive shutdown of the Denver Broncos and quarterback Peyton Manning in a 24-13 AFC Divisional playoff road victory last Sunday. Davis had eight tackles and five passes defended. Toler had six tackles and one pass defended. The Broncos scored just two field goals in the last three quarters.

“We just showed everyone that we could play at a high level,” Toler said of beating the Broncos. “We play together and we’re all hitting on all cylinders. Anything is possible. Tom Brady, hats off to those guys. They’re a great team, but we’ve just got to play Colts football and just execute the plays that come our way.”

Both are vital to the Colts’ scheme, which typically demands press coverage from the cornerbacks. And that’s especially important against Brady and the Patriots, who can spread it out with five pass catchers with the quarterback firing the football in three to five seconds before the pass rush can apply any pressure. Brady took just 21 sacks in the regular season, although the Ravens got him twice last week.

Davis enjoyed the best season of his six-year career and was rewarded with his first Pro Bowl selection.

“I feel like I put it all together this year as far as preparation and how I approach the game,” said Davis, who signed a four-year, $39-million contract in the offseason. “That comes with time. I grasped the game really well this year. I took coaching well, coach Pagano, (defensive coordinator Greg) Manusky, they helped my learning curve.”

Phillip B. Wilson can be found on Twitter (@pwilson24), Facebook and Google+.


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