Every year the Texans get a little better, and every year, when things start to fall apart, like right now, everyone starts pointing the finger.
And right now, the finger, however you want to take that, is pointed at #8, Matt Schaub. The “interception heard ‘round the world” is what put Schaub and the Texans in the national spotlight, questioning just how good they are and moreso just how good Matt Schaub is.
For once, prepare yourselves…I’m not sure I have an opinion on this.
On the one hand, Schaub is not a bad quarterback. His numbers have him right in the middle of the NFL pack and for the most part, he delivers. Andre Johnson is a great receiver (not to mention a high ranking fantasy player), but he also gets the ball put right in his hands on a regular basis, by none other than Matt Schaub. On the other hand, there is something keeping the Texans a mediocre team that should be kicking A.
But fans threatening him, and judging his character and human traits…that just isn’t right. Neither is setting his jersey on fire you dramatic zealot. I think the folks at Reliant should blacklist that jerk from ever coming back to the stadium, like they do with streakers using facial recognition software at Citi Field.
For Schaub to cancel his Twitter account and have a police escort because of these extremists is ludicrous. These are the same Houston sports extremists who haven’t set foot in Minute Maid Park all season.
I get it, I’m right there with you. Schaub’s job as a starting quarterback in this league making obscene millions is to simply deliver the ball without fault. To his own teammates. His last three games have each included a pick-six, so the pressure’s on. I’m not saying we should feel sorry for him, but to call for his head like this is medieval times seems a bit extreme, no?
Even Bill Barnwell of Grantland has Schaub’s back:
“Plenty of famous quarterbacks have thrown three pick-sixes (or more!) in a three-week stretch before or during successful careers that included Super Bowl–winning seasons. Ben Roethlisberger and Drew Brees each had three-game stretches with three or more pick-sixes and then didn’t throw another one for a year each. Peyton Manning had such a stretch in 2001, threw one pick-six between 2002 and 2006, did the same thing again in 2008, didn’t throw a pick-six in 2009, then threw four of them in two weeks in 2010. He’s still doing OK.”
Maybe that’s the key to going all the way? Throwing multiple pick-sixes?
Barnwell studies the game, not to mention quarterbacks, for a living, and if he thinks a Super Bowl is not only possible, but likely, then y’all can calm down. It’s not like JaMarcus Russell is leading the team.
But then again, Schaub is on pace to double his 12 interceptions from last season. Can you see why I’m having a problem forming an opinion here?
But that doesn’t mean Barnwell or any other sportscaster for that matter, doesn’t recognize that Schaub’s throw was one of the worst seen in Week 4, perhaps even the season to date. It was pretty terrible.
My two biggest problems with this particular pick-six:
1. Schaub has been in the league for 10 years, seven of those with Houston (six as a starter) – he’s not a rookie anymore. As everyone has stated, Schaub’s mental game is what seems to come into question, especially when the stakes are high. Some of these rookies (obviously excluding Tannehill) have a better aptitude of what to do in that situation. Schaub should have thrown the ball away or taken the sack. He’s got to be quick on his feet, but he’s also got to have control and keep his head in the game.
2. Speaking of control, Gary Kubiak’s stronghold on Schaub is something else that doesn’t sit right. Kubiak admittedly put Schaub in a bad situation with that poor play call. Even with the obvious blitz coming, Schaub wasn’t allowed to audible. If Schaub can’t make a last minute call at the line of scrimmage, what do you expect? An off-balanced pathetic throw into the hands of the best cornerback in the league? Yup.
Everyone wants Kubiak to be more aggressive in his play calls, but throwing on 3rd and 4 with less than three minutes to go and a seven-point lead? That’s just not smart football. As little faith as people seem to have in Schaub, wouldn’t it have made more sense to put the game in the hands of the defense, currently ranked 1st in the league if they didn’t convert?
Every player who has ever won a Super Bowl has had a bad game, and, yes, thrown a pick-six or two throughout his career, the same as any karaoke singer has inevitably forgotten a word or two.
I realize the past two weeks against Baltimore and Seattle weren’t easy, even before Schaub took a snap, but Sunday against the 49ers will prove to be just as tough, this time with more on the line. For now, lets Keep Calm and Schaub On, because, what other options are there? Yes, options like TJ Yates and Case Keenum, but are those the best options for this all-star team?
This is the same Matt Schaub everyone rallied behind last year when Joe Mays pulled a Mike Tyson on his ear. Maybe now is the time people really need to rally behind him, because as Kubiak has said time and again, “He’s our quarterback. I believe in him.”
Not all hope is lost Texans fans. It’s not like you just found out Santa doesn’t exist. Oh…
Jayme Lamm is a freelance sports and travel writer based in Houston and is currently in a full-court press writing her hugely opinionated sports column, The Blonde Side. Follow her travels for sporting events and check her out on Twitter.