Houston Texans fans have felt disrespect from the major market media in the past. If there’s ever a list of any sort that was compiled and a Texan was “ranked too low,” the masses would explode with accusations of the national media treating them like Rodney Dangerfield.
But when Ron Jaworski released his ranking of the 32 starting quarterbacks in the NFL and had Matt Schaub ranked ninth, you figure Texans fans would finally feel vindicated.
Everyone knows when you’re the quarterback, you get too much credit with wins and far too much blame for losses. However, one thing that is undeniable to a fan base is that you’re only as good as your last game, and Schaub was awful down the stretch last season.
With that still fresh in memory, Jaws declaring him a top ten quarterback has reignited the theme of “this team will never win with Schaub” on local radio and water coolers. With them, there is no middle ground. You’re either a Schaub apologist or a Schaub hater. But some of us actual grownups can have a middle ground opinion on a guy not based entirely on emotion. Regardless of what I’m called, I still believe he’s good enough for the team to win with and have the same opinion of him now as I always have.
He’s never going to develop a big time arm or suddenly become fleet of foot. He is a system quarterback that is better than close to two-thirds of the rest. Before I say he’s done as a starting NFL quarterback, I need a bigger sample size than the last four games of 2012. A bad stretch or the beginning of his decline? 2013 will tell the tale.
As far as Jaws’ placement of Schaub, let’s take a look at his reasoning:
“The ninth quarterback in my rankings is Schaub. Some disagree, but as I’ve said, my normal inclination is to look at a large body of work over a period of time. It’s difficult to argue with Schaub’s success in Houston.”
Hard to deny, as the team was a disaster at the position and overall before his acquisition. From a dumpster fire to mediocre to an annual playoff team. If we’re grading off of progress, that’s a notch in Jaws’ column. What else?
“The combination of Schaub and (Gary) Kubiak has been a strong one. Kubiak believes in the running game as the offensive foundation, with the passing game most effective off play-action. Schaub is at his best with that approach and has produced consistent success over a long period of time. “
As I said; a system guy that runs this scheme to the best of his ability. Last year, the right side of the line was inconsistent and Arian Foster was run down after a season of overuse. Schaub can’t put a team on his back and carry them if the system isn’t working. If he can’t sell the play-action, the offense sputters. Jaws concludes with this:
“I like Schaub, more than others. Did he struggle at times down the stretch? He did. But, he’s a solid quarterback who’s shown consistent ability to execute a well-structured and efficient offense. That puts him in my top 10.”
While I think Schaub being ranked ninth might be a bit too high (I’d place him around 12-14), to act like it’s some sort of travesty is just knee-jerk fans who really believe the pocket passer is on the way out. Every time a run-first quarterback enters the league and does damage, they think the game has evolved and that’s the way things will ultimately head. But, tell me, where is Vince Young now? Why is Michael Vick fighting for his starting job? How many championships did Randall Cunningham win?
The pocket passer isn’t going anywhere.
Undeniably, Schaub has to play better in 2013 than he has at any point in his career for this team to make a run at Lombardi. Fans are always going to complain about their quarterback; it’s the nature of the beast. But lesser quarterbacks have won titles and more maligned guys have reached high success. In fact, rewind one year and a certain Super Bowl MVP was getting the same treatment from his fan base.