Kubiak’s Texans has one of the NFL’s best players in defensive end J.J. Watt, who earned Defensive Player of the Year honors at the conclusion of last season. The Houston coach wouldn’t be shocked to see Mathis — who’s 15.5 career sacks against Houston is the most versus any opponent — garner the same kind of attention once the 2013 season is over.
“Robert’s so impressive. It seems like I’ve been coaching against him for about 15 years, I don’t know how long he’s played. But just an impressive player, tremendous effort. I think Chuck [Pagano] and those guys do a great job of getting him in position to make plays and be successful,” Kubiak said.
“He’s been one of the most consistent guys at what he does in this business for a long, long time. Tremendous respect for him and y’all’s football team.”
When it came time a year ago to decide which player to give a contract extension to — Freeney or Mathis — Colts general manager Ryan Grigson and Pagano were forced to make a tough decision. In the end, it came down to the player who made the best transition to Indianapolis’ new 3-4 hybrid defensive scheme.
“The guy is just a pro. Takes care of himself and he works at his craft. You’ve seen it longer than I’ve seen it up close and personal,” the Colts coach explained. “When you take care of yourself and you work year-round like he does, I think obviously you’re able to do the things that he’s doing right now and being as productive as he is this far into his career.
“That’s the thing. We try to emphasize to our guys at every position: you play hard every single down, do your job, know exactly what to, because you don’t know when that play is going to come.