With postseason awards rapidly approaching, the Colts got a pair of nods on Wednesday evening with wide receiver Reggie Wayne and outside linebacker Robert Mathis being named to the Pro Bowl.
For Wayne, the selection is his sixth in the past seven seasons and it’s hard to quantify what he has meant to such a young Colts offense.
“I think one, his knack for showing up in big times,” Colts quarterback Andrew Luck said of what stands out to him about Wayne. “Big moments, he controls them. He’s going to make the catch. He’s going to make the play. He’s going to get the first-down, the touchdown, whatever you need. He’s going to make the big plays.”
At the age of 34, Wayne is 10 years older than nearly half of the Colts starters on offense and coordinator Bruce Arians pointed to what the Pro Bowl receiver has done off the field more than his receiving numbers.
“I’ve said it so many times, his leadership ability with the young guys has been outstanding,” Arians said. “The fact that you know he can still perform and play football but what he’s done leadership-wise has gone above and beyond Pro Bowl status with me.”
The selection of Mathis is the fifth straight and comes during a season in which he has eight sacks in 11 games played.
This offseason, the questions were rampant about how Mathis would adjust to the stand up position at linebacker but he has quietly gone about his business while earning another trip to Hawaii.
“It’s amazing a guy like that, that’s played defensive end for as many years as he has, and then transfer him over to two-point stance. It’s kind of like dinosaurs and cavemen,” Manusky said of Mathis.
“The best thing about it was the guy knows football and I’ll tell you he took his job and profession like he was a rookie, a young guy. He was just sucking up as much information as he could. It was just great to see him have success out in the field like he does each and every week.”
While Mathis did smile when asked about the thought of a trip to Hawaii this time of year, he is hoping to have plans when the Pro Bowl is played the week before the Super Bowl.
“It sounds real nice, just the thought of kicking sand and just jumping in some salt water and watching my boys crawl around it,” Mathis said. “A great thought but I’d much rather be down in New Orleans getting ready for the big show.”
Tags: Andrew Luck, bruce arians, Greg Manusky, Reggie Wayne, robert mathis
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For the last 17 seasons, Texans head coach Gary Kubiak has found himself as a coordinator or head coach in the NFL.
He has been apart of three Super Bowl Championship teams and has been at the helm of the Texans since 2006.
As a division rival of the Colts, Kubiak has had a close eye on Indianapolis and holds the job done by the Colts this season in high regard.
“I think it’s got to be considered one of the finer jobs done in football in a long time,” Kubiak said on Wednesday’s conference.
“I can’t tell you how impressed I am. We could stay on this phone all day long. It’s been something special to watch. I would give the veteran players in Indianapolis a lot of credit because they’ve obviously brought those young guys along very quickly and were great examples for them.”
In preparing for the Colts this weekend, Kubiak expects to see them at as full strength even with already being locked into the five-seed in the AFC playoffs.
The question of whether or not to rest key players is normally a topic for playoff teams this time of year but Kubiak pointed out the numbers problem in trying to juggle out a roster come Sunday.
“I think that’s kind of moved on in football,” Kubiak said of team’s resting players. “I think everybody’s got maybe certain players that may have injuries they have been fighting through or stuff that you have to pay special attention to. But the bottom line is you only have 53 active players and 46 are going to suit up.”
When the Colts and Texans met two weeks ago, the AFC South was still up for grabs but a 26-17 victory by Houston clinched the division.
Both teams are heading to the postseason, with the Texans still unsure of where they will be seeded come January.
Along with the playoff implications for the Texans on the line this Sunday, they will also be facing the return of Chuck Pagano to the sideline.
It has been three months since Pagano has coached a game from the sidelines and Kubiak knows his team will be dealing with an emotional environment at Lucas Oil Stadium.
“It’s been talked about a great deal throughout the course of the season and obviously as a coach and a member of the National Football League, I think it’s wonderful,” Kubiak said of Pagano’s return.
“I’m just so happy for Chuck and his family and what he’s been through. I’m glad to see he’s doing well and back on the field. I know that’s important to him and how proud he is of the guys and the work they did while he was away. Regardless of whether you are playing him or not playing him, you all respect this league and what guys do and the jobs they do. None bigger than what he’s been through and my respect for him is tremendous.”
Tags: chuck pagano
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Darius Butler has never played for head coach Chuck Pagano yet his success has ironically enough put him on the head coach’s radio show twice this season.
Thanks to another interception returned for a touchdown last weekend, Butler found himself on the show Monday evening. Come Sunday, Butler will look to the sidelines and see Pagano down there for the first time since the cornerback joined the Colts in late September.
“I got here during the bye week and that was when we got the news of Chuck. Then we played Green Bay and we beat a tough Green Bay team,” Butler said. “Once I saw that, that was kind of my first time seeing the team prepare like that and I knew. I had been on a playoff team early in my career and I knew we definitely had what it takes.”
As a former member of the New England Patriots, Butler has experienced life in the postseason.
He helped etch his, and the Colts, spot into the playoffs last week thanks to a 32-yard interception returned for a touchdown.
“The message before the game was that we wanted to come into the playoffs through the front door,” Butler said of the Colts 20-13 win over the Chiefs. “We wanted to kick down the front door to win and control our own destiny, instead of sneaking in the back door and waiting on other people. We did that and accomplished our goal and now that’s onto the next and that’s making a run in the playoffs.”
That run will include Pagano on the sidelines and that is something that Butler can’t wait to see.
Pagano is a former defensive backs coach and has liked what he has seen from Butler over the last 12 games.
The key against the Chiefs was to secure a playoff spot so this week would not have the added pressure of needing a win to extend the season. That goal was accomplished and the relief in seeing Pagano on Monday was a welcoming sight for Butler.
“He really didn’t have to say anything,” Butler said of Monday morning’s team meeting with Pagano. “Just him walking in the door and being in front of the team for the first time in a while, addressing us as a unit and as a head coach again, that was great in itself.”
Tags: chuck pagano, darius butler
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