INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The questions came and essentially were deflected by a quiet, disarming smile.
Quincy Wilson, mired in what is shaping up as a red-shirt season, had no intention of playing the role of disgruntled rookie.
The second-round draft pick was an innocent bystander in the Indianapolis Colts’ latest fourth-quarter fade, Sunday’s 20-16 loss to the Tennessee Titans. He was a healthy inactive for the fifth time this season and eighth time overall. Wilson was active and didn’t step on the field earlier this month against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The 46th overall selection in last April’s draft can’t get on the field ahead of two colleagues who weren’t drafted (Chris Milton and Kenny Moore) and a third (Pierre Desir) who’s with his fourth team in two seasons and didn’t arrive in Indy until Sept. 3 when he was claimed off waivers. And keep in mind, the Colts cut ties with two-time Pro Bowl corner Vontae Davis earlier this month.
What’s up with that?
“I don’t know,’’ Wilson said with a shrug Monday afternoon. “I’ve got to keep working. I’ve just got to practice and keep working.’’
Has the coaching staff told you anything specifically you need to work on?
“Uh, I don’t know,’’ he said. “You have to ask the head coach about that. Just every week going to practice, making sure I’m staying on point and practicing hard.’’
Wilson’s rookie season has been impacted by a knee injury and consisted of two games, one start and 81 total snaps on defense. He last stepped on the field Sept. 17 against the Arizona Cardinals, which was that lone start. Wilson’s apparent inability to be a factor on special teams has left him behind Milton and Moore as game-day options.
Is it fair to categorize the season as frustrating?
“It is what it is,’’ Wilson said, again declining to offer anything approaching a disparaging remark for his inactivity.
There was one last stab of prying a critical comment from someone who appears to be reserved by nature.
In the days preceding the Oct. 29 trip to Cincinnati, the Colts were preparing to play without their best defensive player. Rashaan Melvin suffered a concussion the previous game against Jacksonville.
Who would replace Melvin? The obvious choice was Wilson, but coordinator Ted Monachino essentially shot down that possibility.
“When Quincy practices and plays better than the other guys, he’ll be up and he’ll be playing,’’ he said. “He’s got to practice and prepare well. That’s part of him being young and it’s also part of him being a little immature.
“ . . . he’s got guys that are pretty good pros that are working their tails off to keep him where he is right now.’’
What was your reaction to Monachino’s comments?
“Uh, maybe we saw different things,’’ Wilson said. “But if that’s what he says, I’ve gotta do better.’’
A non-factor for so long, Wilson’s fortunes might change moving forward as uncertainty once again surrounds Melvin. He wore a wrap/cast on his right hand Monday to deal with an unspecified injury sustained when he made a diving interception of a Marcus Mariota pass in the second quarter.
Coach Chuck Pagano described Melvin’s injury as “significant’’ and indicated Melvin likely will miss Sunday’s game at Jacksonville.
“I’m not sure (what happened),’’ Melvin said. “Just got up and my hand didn’t feel right.’’
Melvin’s misfortune should be Wilson’s next chance to make a difference.
“Looks like a great opportunity,’’ Pagano said. “He’s been great. He’s been competing his tail off, so this is going to be a great opportunity for him.
“If I’m him right now, I’m saying, ‘OK, here’s another opportunity to get back out there and see what I can do.’ He’ll get his opportunities and we’ll see how the chips fall, but it’s a great opportunity for all those guys.’’
Pagano added Wilson “never really has been himself” since he suffering a knee injury during the preseason, then aggravating it early in the regular season.
“It’s hard,’’ Pagano said. “He’s young. He’s (21) years old. He doesn’t even shave.
“This ain’t easy, but he’s battling and he’s working. He’ll get another opportunity. That’s how this thing goes.’’