Player Spotlight: Matt Schaub Revisited
This week in Player Spotlight, the Houston Texans took on a top tier team in the Seattle Seahawks. What was thought to be an opportunity for the Texans to bounce back after a bad loss proved to be a very frustrating outing for the fans and the ball club. After a disappointing second half effort by the Texans offense and seeing the team snatch a loss out of the hands of victory, we will revisit the Texans quarterback Matt Schaub.
What do the Texans do now? This is a very simple, yet serious question. The Texans came back home off a bad loss to the Baltimore Ravens to host a marquee team in the Seattle Seahawks. The Texans approached this game as a statement game and an opportunity to wipe the bad taste out of their mouths from the previous game. This was a game that looked as though it would be a defensive struggle on paper, but in the first half of the game it was pretty lopsided. Matt Schaub carved up the Seahawks secondary with great precision and it was a great sight to see, especially with the Seahawks secondary’s reputation. The problem is that there are two halves in the football game and this was just the first. The second half started off slow and the Seahawks scored a field goal to reel the Texans in by 14. The Texans moved the ball but unfortunately could not make enough plays to at least get into field goal range. Schaub began to get more and more pressure on him and like the saying goes, “pressure busts pipes” and that is what happened to Schaub.
The Texans quarterback began to see wave after wave of pressure coming off the edges and even up the middle. Schaub seemingly had nowhere to go so his options seemed limited to either throwing it away, taking a sack, or dumping it off. The pressure to respond and carry an offense is beginning to affect Schaub, especially in crunch time. Seeing an offense collapse in the second half and allow an opportunistic defense to claw their way back into a game after they had been utterly dominated for most of the game is unacceptable and unbecoming of an AFC favorite let alone Super Bowl contender. It is disheartening to the defense who laid it all on the line, and the coaches who put together a game plan that was good enough to win.
I have to commend Gary Kubiak for trying to cover the flaws of his quarterback. He falls on the sword each and every time that the offense doesn’t respond when it isn’t his fault. Fans and analysts all wonder why the Texans don’t have that foot on the neck mentality. They become very conservative with the play calling once they get a lead. Well as you can see from the game on Sunday, he (Gary Kubiak) has a need to protect his quarterback from himself. I had someone tell me yesterday, “you know you have the wrong guy running your offense when you are afraid of what he’s going to do.” That spoke volumes to me. I feel as though something needs to be done, but the worst part of this situation is what can be done? Your options are T.J. Yates and Case Keenum, who are both more mobile than Schaub; however, I don’t believe they are the answer.
Schaub has to, by any means necessary, perform on a high level in order to achieve the goals this team has. The thing he doesn’t need is apathy within his lockeroom. Rumors are swirling amongst fans and media alike that the team is beginning to doubt Schaub’s abilities in crunch time. We’ve heard Brian Cushing make a comment that they need to make a play because they (the offense) weren’t going to make one. Frustration is setting in on offensive players like Andre Johnson. When in the redzone before the Texans went up 17-3, Johnson had his hand up for Schaub to see him, but Schaub elected to throw the ball out of bounds. When this happened, Johnson’s body language alone showed his frustration in Schaub giving up on the play. J.J. Watt’s interview after the game spoke volumes. He basically left it all on the field and watched all of the hard work he and his teammates put in be thrown away by a pick six.
Whatever needs to be done has to happen now as there is blood in the water and when that happens the sharks are going to come. This will come in the form of defenses blitzing more, loading up the box and then when the offense is forced to throw more defenders will try to jump routes because they know it’s inevitable an interception will happen. Coach Kubiak has some tough decisions to make and some serious planning to do to overcome his quarterbacks’ limitations, but Schaub has to find a way within himself to rise to the occasion and lift his team to victory when things are tight.