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NFL Scouting Combine Notebook: AFC South review


INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – "No, he's not thrown a football yet."

That was the top quote from new Indianapolis Colts Head Coach Frank Reich from the podium at the Indiana Convention Center Wednesday afternoon discussing quarterback Andrew Luck.

Luck missed the 2017 season with a shoulder injury, and speculation is beginning that he could miss time in the upcoming offseason and beyond.

Reich did his best to quash those rumors. 

"He's continued to check every box – we're excited about that," Reich said. "He's making the progress as expected and as he (Luck) announced, he will be with us, with our team, starting April 2 when we start our offseason program."

Reich added that Luck is still "out west" working on rehab.

"[Luck is] still going through all his strength training – all the normal stuff," Reich said. "At this time of year, we're not allowed to be together anyway, so it's pretty par for the course as far as players are all out working out where they feel it's best for them to get stronger and better."

Reich was then pressed about how far along the quarterback has come, and specifically if had he thrown a football.

"No, he's not thrown a football yet," Reich said. "He's continued to make the progress that was expected with the weighted balls and working on the motion, and everything is going according to plan."

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Vrabel addresses media for first time at Combine

New Tennessee Titans Head Coach Mike Vrabel met the media Wednesday afternoon, and explained how far along the installation of the new playbooks is with a new staff.

"I would say defensively it's a blend of what [defensive coordinator] Dean [Pees] and I have kind of done in New England, as I was a player and he was a coordinator and a coach, with some of the stuff we did in Houston," Vrabel said. "I think offensively it's going to be some of the stuff that [offensive coordinator] Matt [LaFleur]'s very familiar with obviously as well as [offensive line coach] Keith [Carter].''

When asked if there will be a completed version by the time the team returns for voluntary offseason workouts, Vrabel was confident.

"There will be a finished version, clearly, when we start to talk football," he said.

Installing that playbook will be key for the continued development of Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota – and Vrabel said the head coach-quarterback relationship is off to a good start.

"He's just a great human being," Vrabel said. "If he's half the player that he is a person, then we're going to be really excited. We communicate via text, just trying to get to know our quarterback, and that relationship is going to be critical."

O'Brien discusses Watson rehab, friendship with Marrone

Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson was well on his way to Rookie of the Year consideration until a freak knee injury during a practice ended his 2017 season.

Texans Head Coach Bill O'Brien said his Watson knows what to expect in the rehab process.

"In his rehab, I believe he's ahead of schedule from what I see, what I hear," O'Brien said. "He's been through this before, unfortunately. He knows what the rebab process is and I think he's doing a really good job."

Watson tore an anterior cruciate ligament as a freshman in a 2014 practice at Clemson, and led the Tigers to a win in a rivalry game against South Carolina the next week. Watson threw two touchdowns and ran for two more in the victory.

Also on Wednesday, O'Brien was asked about his long-standing friendship with Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone.

"We shared a bologna sandwich together one time," O'Brien said with a laugh. "Doug and I have known each other for a long time, (starting in) 1995, so almost 25 years. Our families, our wives are friends. Our wives went to Boston College together. He's a good friend, he's a heck of a coach, he did a great job this year."  

Marrone was an assistant coach with Georgia Tech from 1996-99 coaching tight ends and offensive line. O'Brien started as a graduate assistant with the Yellow Jackets in 1995 and finished as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach from 2001-02. 

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