Matt Schaub Conjures Memories of QB Great From Oakland Raiders’ Past

Wesley Hitt/ Contributor

Wesley Hitt/ Contributor

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.

Kevin Saito is a fiction writer, sports junkie, history nerd, and NFL Contributor to  He’s just a “clown with an opinion,” and you can follow him on Twitter, Facebook, or on Google

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  • Steve the Guitarist

    Good article! Good to hear some sound reason and common sense about Schaub

    • saito8204

      I think people are going to be pleased with what he brings to the team. I think he’s still got a lot of good football still left in him.

  • boknowsyo

    The reason I feel shaub will have a hard time in oakland is he’s a zone system qb switching to a power scheme. No more rollout and shifts, he’ll need to stand in the pocket with pressure coming and throw a strike. His decision making under pressure on rollout passes were horrible, leading to a few pick 6′s. So do you really think he’ll make a quick decision with say von miller coming straight at him.

    • saito8204

      I really do think Schaub is going to do well. I think he’s got some good weapons around him, and a pretty good OC in Greg Olson who will be able to play up his strengths. I think Schaub is going to do a lot better than people think.

      • boknowsyo

        I hope shaub does well, it’s just the scheme change worries me. I hope for better results than we had when we switched Carson to the zone scheme. But, Greg Olson has featured alot of rollouts, and screens that should fit shaub well. Hopefully MJD can play aswell as Jennings did last season. And hopefully either McFadden or latavius can stay healthy enough to provide a good one two punch with jones drew so we can have a good play action game. Keeping pressure off shaub will be critical.

        • saito8204

          I would like to see Latavius get some more carries. The McFadden signing is one I don’t understand and don’t really care for to be honest. But I hope that MJD can return to form… hopefully with a better O-Line in front of him, he’ll surprise his critics. I would like to see them add another receiver to give Schaub another weapon, but you’re right in that keeping Schaub from taking a beating will be key. Good points all the way around

          • boknowsyo

            Well, McFadden is only guaranteed 100,000. I honestly think they should move him to wide receiver. He can run routes, can catch, and is deadly in space. His problem is he gets injured when running between the tackles. He’s also fast, and has the correct size, and can block. MJD ‘ S problem was the zone scheme the jags Ran Last year, he should be fine.

  • John K

    Schaub was awful last season because there was no protection. He was also not allowed to audible out of plays and the Texans became predictable and everyone had figured them out. Defenses already knew what play they were going to run. The Raiders got a steal; Schaub for a sixth round pick??? They got rid of Schaub for Ryan Fitzpatrick??? The reason Schaub is not a Texan is because Bob McNair has morphed into Bud Adams and made the decision to get rid of him. And all the constant stupid decision making that Houston makes is the reason they’ll never get to a Super Bowl, much less get there. They should take the bull’s head off their helmets and put oil rigs on them.