I was* we were given the opportunity to ask Matt Schaub questions while he was working at the Gatorade 2010 - Beat the Heat Campaign. I believe everybody but me had some great questions lined up, and here they are after the jumpity-jump-jump.
You started off your career backing up Michael Vick in Atlanta, but you also got to start in a few games in your first couple of years. Do you think it's better to learn on the field, or do you think a quarterback benefits more from watching his first couple of years like Aaron Rodgers?
Matt Schaub: I think it depends on the situation and depends on the player. If you’re a young player and the team is already set up with a great defense or the supporting cast around you offensively to be successful, then I think you can be successful and it can help you. But there are certain situations, and certain guys for that matter, that don’t handle that type of situation well. And it’s better to sit back and learn and grow and gain a year under their belt, or two even, and then I think they’ll be ready to go. A lot of college teams also now a days run such different styles than they do in the NFL that it’s quite an adjustment for a lot of players, especially at the quarterback position. I really benefitted from sitting and watching a couple years before I got my opportunity, so that was a good situation for me.
Which of the guys who weren't playing with the Texans last year looked the best in OTAs in your eyes?
MS: It’s always hard during OTAs I feel because you don’t have pads on, you got the young guys coming in, you’re trying to integrate a bunch of new things into your system. You’re just trying to get everyone on the same page. So there’s so much going into it that it’s hard to really translate all that into what it’s going to be like when you put the pads on in September. We’ve got a great group of guys and a lot of guys who have really worked hard this offseason. We’ve got some guys who stepped up last year who I think are ready to take another step forward this year. But until we get the pads on I think it’s hard to single one guy out, because I feel like you’d be doing an injustice to a bunch of other guys.
Obviously there’s a lot of talk about being better in the division after last year. Do you think there was, to some extent, an element of poor luck to your performance in the division? Especially considering how good the other teams in the AFC South are and how close the games were?
MS: That’s the one thing that’s held us back the past few years is our divisional record. Our division’s so tough that you really have to be on top of your game those weeks. You can’t miss an opportunity here, an opportunity there. You have to take advantage of everything in front of you and capitalize on it. You know, we didn’t take advantage of some of those games last year we were winning in the fourth quarter. We’ve got to find a way to finish and play 60 full minutes of football. That’s the only way it’s going to get done in the AFC South.
Tell us something we don't know about Andre Johnson.
MS: It’s always hard for outsiders to know what’s going on behind closed doors here, but he’s one of the hardest workers I’ve ever come across. He’s a guy who just comes to work every day. He works, and he continues to try to get better and help our team win. He doesn’t have an ego, he’s not your typical top-flight wide receiver as far as being, I guess, the "diva," so to speak. He just comes to work ready to do whatever he needs to do to help us win.
Who is a better dancer: Jacoby or David Anderson?
MS: See, we all expect it from Jacoby. You look at Jacoby and his personality and everything and you expect it from him. I bet he practices it – it’s actually something he works at in front of the mirror, I think. [Laughs.] But David Anderson, you look at him and you really don’t think he could dance or he’s that smooth. So I would have to say David. I got to stay with him, because I’ve got to pick on Jacoby, too.
If Mario Williams were on the opposing team, would you wet your pants when you saw him line up?
MS: [Laughs.] If I was trying to block him? I’d just dive at his legs and hope to cut him. [Laughs.]
OK, so as a quarterback, how would you strategize against Mario?
MS: I’d just hope their guy does a good job on him blocking. [Laughs.] But, seriously, he’s an outstanding pass rusher and he’s really just helped us take on a whole new look to our defense.
Can you tell us about what you’re doing with Gatorade-NFL "Beat the Heat" campaign?
MS: What we’re trying to do with "Beat the Heat" is educate parents and coaches in the community to realize the dangers that the summer heat brings, and that hydration is key to young athletes and their well-being. It’s so hot, especially down here in Houston, and once you step outside you start sweating. And once you start sweating you don’t stop. You really have to make sure you’re hydrating, and sometimes water just doesn’t cut it. Sports drinks like Gatorade put back the electrolytes athletes lose in sweat, and they give athletes the fuel they need. It’s a good way to keep the kids safe and on the field in summer two-a-days.
How hard is it for athletes like yourself to practice and play during really intense heat?
MS: It gets brutally hot down here, and humid. And a lot of athletes need to realize that hydration and performance isn’t just something you have to think about at practice. It’s an all-day process – before, during and after practice. If you show up to practice dehydrated, it’s too late. So all summer long "Beat the Heat" will offer parents and coaches information to help them keep teen athletes aware of heat illness and encourage them to fuel the right ways before, during and after they take the field.
*Thanks to the awesome person who wishes to stay anonymous but was able to do this interview for BRB. We'll get a signed Glamour Shots photo of MDC to you ASAP as you wished (and you did say the cop picture, right?).