FanPost

In Defense of Schaub


Look, I get it. It would be great to have a Brady, Rodger, or a Manning ("BraRodging") lining up under center. But frankly, those guys aren't just lying around, waiting for a team to decide they need an upgrade at QB. A team needs an unlikely combination of luck and bad performance at precisely the right time to land those kind of once-in-a-franchise qbs. Everyone else has to get by with a guy who can make passes and who understands the playbook. Schaub IS that guy but this year, (a) something happened right around week 11/12 and (b) we've ignord the offense in our drafts for far too long.

Yeah, the Schaub we had in December/January isn't the guy that can lead us to the promised land. But that's not the Schaub we've come to know. He was the guy earlier in the season and he most definitely was the guy in his record-setting 2009 season. In 2009, 2010, and 2012, he has thrown for over 4,000 yards (one of those was 4,700). He may not be a BraRodging caliber QB, but qbs who can consistently throw for more than 4,000 yards don't grow on trees either. Especially with our team's focus on the run. Simply put, he has the physical skills.

Just take a closer look at the stats for the year. http://www.nfl.com/player/mattschaub/2505982/gamelogs. He went from 18 tds to 13 ints (not awesome but above average, particularly for a team as built around the run as the Texans), or roughly 1.63 tds per game, to finishing the last seven games of the regular season with 4 tds and 4 ints, or 0.57 tds per game. That sort of drop from 1.63 to 0.57 doesn't just happen. Clearly, something changed after/during week 11's game against Jacksonville because he was never the same again. I don't have access to the game tape to see what, but something must have changed in week 12. He was hesitant and nervous in a way he never was before. I'm chalking this up to some nagging injury the team kept under wraps or to teams learning to capitalize on the embarrassing weakness in the right side of the line.

We've also been flat-out ignoring the offense in our drafts, trying to rely on a combination of good game planning by Kubiak, careful throws and reads by Schaub, and beautiful runs by Foster. In 2008, three out of our first four picks were on defense. Our first rounder went to Duane Brown, who was the main bright spot in our shaky line-play this year. (Remember all those times we ran left this year?) In 2009, the same thing happened; three of our first picks were on defense. The only offensive pick, Antoine Caldwell in the third round, has been a disappointment. The Texans repeated the mix in 2010, again 3/4 for defense. The only offensive pick, Ben Tate, has struggled to see the field instead of Forsett. In 2011, they decided to really shirk the offense and spent all four (actually first five) picks on defense. (This was when Wade came in, and my pet theory is we helped land him by offering him near total control of the picks in that draft.) 2012 is the first year we went back to offense with only 1/4 going to the defense, but rookies struggle to contribute in the NFL in their first year.

So out of our last five drafts, our top four picks have gone to defense 15 times out of 20. And aside from Duane Brown, not a single one of those offensive picks have panned out enough to start. Not one. In other words, our offense has aged and atrophied since 2008 without a single injection of new blood beyond a lucky grab at Arian Foster. Matt Schaub, Owen Daniels, Andre Johnson, Duane Brown, and Arian Foster are a damn solid core, but they keep getting older as other teams keep getting younger, faster, and better. It's untenable.

I don't blame Schaub. I blame our front office for either neglecting the offense or struggling to identify offensive talent. There's only so much Kubiak's offensive wizardry and Schaub's play can do when defense has consistently received all the love for five years now. In 2013, I say we pay attention to the offense. Let's get some help at wide receiver. Let's shore up the right side of the line. But let's not make the mistake of jettisoning our franchise quarterback when he's proven he can do it. All Schaub needs is the tools.

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