Gary Kubiak has had a keen eye on Colts quarterback Andrew Luck for longer than almost every other NFL coach.
In working just 20 miles away from Luck’s high school (Stratford High School), Kubiak watched the Indianapolis signal caller back in the days where the NFL seemed so far away.
“(Luck) grew up right here down the road and I watched him throw some seven-on-sevens tournaments and stuff while my kids were growing up and he’s been exceptional at every level he’s played,” Kubiak said.
“Now, he’s at the highest level and he’s doing it again. I think he’s going to do it a long, long time. You can tell he’s a student of the game, has a total grasp from that standpoint and he’s a tremendous competitor that seems the tougher the situation, the better he is as a player.”
With the initial meeting of the season between the Colts and Texans coming this weekend, Kubiak is getting his first look at Indianapolis this weekend but he has been impressed by the consistency of the team sitting just two games behind his heading into the final three weeks of the season.
“They’ve got a lot of young speed on their football team,” Kubiak said. “Defensively, those two guys (Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis) holding down the edges have been there, it seems like they’re on my NFL lifetime.”
“This team’s been in every ball game. They seem to make their biggest plays when it really counts the most.”
One player that Kubiak was asked about on Wednesday morning was second-year defensive end J.J. Watt. The Colts saw Watt’s talent up close twice last season and the then rookie racked up 10 tackles, one sack and three pass deflections in the two meetings.
This year, Watt has already set a franchise record with 16.5 sacks and the 11th pick in the 2011 NFL Draft has quickly become one of league’s top defensive players.
“He’s done some things this year, after (14) weeks, that’s never been done in this league,” Kubiak said of Watt. “We knew we had a great kid but he’s gone above and beyond the call of duty. He’s on to some great things in this league. Hopefully we can keep him healthy and he can do it for a long time.”
Along with Watt’s successful rookie campaign, the Texans made the playoffs last year for the first time in franchise history by winning the AFC South.
The Colts have been the dominant team in the division for the greater part of the past decade and now with three weeks remaining, each team is in control of their own destiny in deciding the 2012 winner of the AFC South.
“(The Colts) have had a stranglehold, I guess that’s a good word, if there’s anything stronger you could use that too,” Kubiak said of the Colts and the AFC South over the past decade.
“They took care of this division for a long, long time. They’ve been exceptional and they’ve regrouped and done a hell of a job putting a team together right now that’s playing exceptional right now. Last year’s gone. We’ve got to worry about this year. We’ve got some big, big games coming up here against (the Colts) and none bigger than this week.”
Tags: Andrew Luck, Dwight Freeney, robert mathis
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