The ink wasn’t even dry on Matt Schaub‘s contract before some bloggers and pundits were on him like a pack of jackals on a wounded gazelle.
While many believe that bringing the veteran QB to the Oakland Raiders was a smart, savvy move, others are far less optimistic about it. They’ve said that Schaub is washed up. A has been. “Broken beyond repair.” He hasn’t taken a single snap for the Raiders yet, and some are acting like it’s the end times, that it’s the worst thing GM Reggie McKenzie could have done to the team.
What makes this all especially ironic though is that some of these same people are outspoken advocates of bringing Texas A&M‘s Johnny Manziel to Oakland — a guy who hasn’t taken a single snap in the NFL, and a guy who has more questions than answers about his game at this point. Those kinds of mental gymnastics are truly a sight to behold.
There’s no denying that Schaub had a horrendous 2013. He was awful. Beyond awful. To throw a pick-six in four consecutive games takes a special kind of horrible, but to say that Schaub is the only reason the Houston Texans went 2-14 last season is ridiculous. That’s like saying the iceberg was the only reason for the sinking of the Titanic.
While it’s true that Schaub and the iceberg certainly played a part in their respective disasters, there were a whole bunch of other things that went horribly wrong that helped make it happen. It was a perfect storm of terrible.
Schaub had a bad season. Does that one bad season define him as a quarterback? Does it define his career? Does it preclude the possibility that he can bounce back and throw for more than 4,000 yards like he did in 2012? The answer to all three questions is a resounding no.
Eli Manning threw 27 interceptions last season, yet you don’t hear anybody saying that he’s broken beyond repair. Peyton Manning threw two picks, one of them returned for a touchdown on football’s biggest stage, Super Bowl XLVIII, as his Denver Broncos were trounced by the Seattle Seahawks, yet not a single person has ever suggested that he’s washed up.
The point is that bad games, and even bad seasons happen. Even the elite quarterbacks in the NFL throw interceptions and don’t look particularly great in every game of every season of their careers. Interceptions are part of the game and they’re unavoidable. Schaub had a really bad season, but he also had a number of pretty good ones before that.
Is it not possible that rather that being a sign of things to come and the harbinger of doom for the Raiders, Schaub’s terrible 2013 while playing for a terrible team is nothing more than an anomaly?
It is also worth noting at this point that the Raiders once took a chance on another quarterback, a reclamation project who many people believed was washed up. However, Jim Plunkett wound up leading the Raiders to two of their three Super Bowl wins, and became arguably the greatest quarterback in franchise history.
And another notable point is that he was older than Schaub is now when he won his two Super Bowls. Not bad for a has-been, huh? Suffice it to say, this sort of quarterback reclamation project is not without precedent.
Schaub is going to be just fine. He’s an above-average quarterback who had a miserable season while playing for a miserable team. A lot of things went wrong for Schaub and the Texans in 2013, but one bad year is not necessarily a sign of worse things to come, nor is it the definition of his career no matter how hard some try to paint it that way.
Schaub, like Plunkett before him, has a chip on his shoulder and a lot to prove. There is hope — and expectations along with it — in Oakland for the first time in a long time, and some of the Raiders faithful genuinely believe that Schaub, like Plunkett before him, will rise to the occasion.