Indianapolis head coach Frank Reich, his assistants, and quarterback Andrew Luck shared their thoughts on the Texans with the media. The Colts (10-6) travel to Houston (11-5) for a Saturday AFC Wild Card playoff game.
Colts head coach Frank Reich on the connection between Texans QB Deshaun Watson and WR DeAndre Hopkins: “Two big-time playmakers that have consistently done it all year and are one of the more lethal connections in the NFL. That’s why they’re at the top of the list when you’re talking about quarterback-receiver combinations that are a threat. We just have a lot of respect for those two guys. They’re great players and have had a tremendous year.”
Reich on the key to stopping Watson: “It’s definitely a team effort and as you said there is a term, ‘Keep him in the well.’ Any time you get a playmaker like this at quarterback who can extend plays the way he does – big, strong, physical, can move – the more you can just keep him in the well the better off we’ll be.”
Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus on Watson: “Just the extending of plays – that’s the first thing you think of. The designed quarterback runs, you have to be ready for those and really those are the things that you look at. Your coverage breaks down when he extends plays and your rush patterns up front with your defensive line if you are blitzing, sending four or more, you have to make sure that your rush patterns are good there too. Those are the things that a quarterback that’s mobile can hurt you.”
Reich on Hopkins: “I just think he plays long and fast and he has this instinctive ability to play the ball. I think he feels leverage, a little bit like T.Y. (Hilton) even though different in stature. He has this instinctive sense of leverage and space – where the opponent is, where the defender is when it’s man-to-man, then, when it’s zone, where the space is, where’s the optimum space. I think just think he’s very instinctive in that way and knows how to make a play on the ball.”
Eberflus on Hopkins: “When you are dealing with one of the best players in the league, just his skill set, it’s a concern. It’s an attention that everybody has to have their attention to that man because he’s so good. They have a few players like that on their offense. So it’s a big challenge for our defense for sure.”
Reich on how to block DE J.J. Watt and OLB Jadeveon Clowney: “You have to mix it up. You don’t want to get in one mode, you know? Great players like that you have to attack in multiple ways. You’ve got to be able to run the football, you don’t want to get in just a pass mode, you’ve got to be able to chip some, you’ve got to be able to use your play-action, you’ve got to be able to change some things up formationally like that to present different looks for them. So I think the key is mixing all those up together.”
Colts offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni on the Texans defensive playmakers: “You always have to be alert for the big-time playmakers. Obviously, they are loaded and we have got to know constantly where 99 (J.J. Watt), 90 (Jadeveon Clowney), 59 (Whitney Mercilus), 32 (Tyrann Mathieu) and where all those guys are – 25 (Kareem Jackson), 24 (Johnathan Joseph), 43 (Shareece Wright). We’ve got to know where they all are at all times and we’ve got to be on it.
Reich on Clowney: “He’s very disruptive. That’s probably the best word that I can use to describe him. He’s disruptive, he’s a playmaker and can do it from outside, can do it from inside and you have to account for him no matter where he lines up.”
Colts QB Andrew Luck on the Texans defense: “Their defense presents some unique challenges. They’ve got guys that can rush the passer, guys that can cover and everything in between. So you know it’s always a challenge.
Check out the best Week 17 images from Texans team photographer Zach Tarrant. Presented by Houston Methodist.