Becoming Elite: Matt Schaub


Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

The 2004 draft was one to remember for one of the greatest quarterback drafts of the modern day. Three quarterbacks were taken in the first round that have shown elite qualities in their play. Those players are Eli Manning, Phillip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger. However their is one quarterback that is always over looked in this draft. In 2004, the Atlanta Falcons used the 90th pick in the draft to selection Matt Schaub out of Virginia.

Schaub was under the radar and it didn’t help with who has drafted above him. All the players selected above him were all phenomenal college players in their own right which had teams like the Giants, Chargers and Steelers to select them in the third round. In hindsight, two of the three became two time Superbowl champions. Yet Schaub was taken by Atlanta to back up quarterback Michael Vick as he was proving injury prone. With a talent behind him, Vick was able to produce his better seasons as a Falcon and finally staying healthy enough to play 15 regular season games.

Schaub had a rough start to his career. He wasn’t the immediate starter, injury kept him sidelined, and wasn’t producing too much with Michael Vick staying healthy. The most action he saw was holding for extra points and field goals. 2007 was his turning point as a needed team traded for Schaub in need of his talents, not of a special teams nature.

In Schaubs first few years he began to take after the quarterback he backed up for numerous years, injury set his first two years back only allowing him to start and play in 11 games each year. While his first year (2007) was almost like a rookie season, he was able to finally throw the ball instead of holding a clipboard and extra points.

Year “two” was different as Schaub was able to make progress, completing about sixty more passes then his previous year while maintain a completion ratio at about 66 percent, similar to last year. The best was yet to come however as the next two season were out of an underdog story as Schaub began to post numbers in the above average level of play. He was able to post 4,000 plus yards in consecutive seasons while also have a touchdown to interception ration at about 2:1 in each year. Schaub was blossoming into a great quarterback after being a back up for so long, a tale Aaron Rodgers knows too well.

With 2011 being a promising a year as ever, Schaub once again caught the injury bug, which forced his back up T.J. Yates to helm the team as it was in playoff position for the first time ever. The Texans were coming off a great defensive draft as well as acquiring former Cowboys Head Coach Wade Phillips as their Defensive Coordinator. Phillips revolutionized the was the Texans would play defense by switching to a 3-4 which allowed their players to be extremely effective, finishing 2nd in 2011 while finishing 30th in 2010.

This year is no different as 2012 has shown the Texans are a formidable opponent starting with an 11-1 record, losing only to the Green Bay Packers. The team has had its injuries, like every team, but one player who continues to stand up right is Matt Schaub. With the start that they’ve had, the Texans are playoff bound. They do however control their own destiny as they have only achieved a wild card spot. The Indianapolis are experiencing a resurrection under Andrew Luck with the possibility to still win the division.

The Texans are playoff bound as previously stated, but they’ll only go as far as he can take them. If Schaub is to prove himself and the Texans as an elite team, then Schaub needs to win the big games.

– Antonio Furgiuele