Oakland Raiders: Matt Schaub Proves That Not All Comebacks Are Created Equal

By Kevin Saito
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The minute the trade that sent QB Matt Schaub from the Houston Texans to the Oakland Raiders, the internet exploded with reactions that ranged from a guarded sense of optimism to outright mocking and derision – and that was just from the established media types. The internet trolls were far worse as they are apt to be. The general consensus among the critics of the deal was that Houston foisted off some dead weight onto the Raiders, and that following a disastrous 2013 campaign, Schaub’s career was absolutely dead with the personal assessment of the veteran quarterback being that he was “broken beyond repair.”

There’s no denying that Schaub and the Texans had a miserable 2013 campaign, but it seems to be a pretty harsh assessment of the quarterback – and one that seems inconsistently applied to other QB’s who had down seasons.

With 14 picks and a pick-six in four straight games, there’s no sugarcoating just how terrible Schaub’s 2013 season was. Not that Houston’s terrible year was entirely his fault, as the Texans were a terrible team top to bottom, but what Schaub did last season was a special kind of horrible.

But the most interesting – and by interesting, we mean “ridiculously inconsistent” – thing about the coverage of Schaub’s down year is the reporting on other quarterbacks who also had bad 2013 seasons. The New York Giants signal caller Eli Manning threw an eye-popping 27 interceptions in 2013, and led the Giants to a 7-9, non-playoff season. Yet there hasn’t been a parade of media types saying that Manning is done, that his career is over, or that he’s “broken beyond repair.”

The same can be said for Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Rothliesberger, who threw 14 picks on his way to an 8-8, non-playoff year in 2013. Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons – a team with Super Bowl aspirations coming into last season, fumbled their way to a miserable 4-12 record – with Matty Ice throwing 17 picks along the way. San Diego Chargers QB Phillip Rivers rebounded in 2013 after throwing 20 and then 15 interceptions in 8-8 and 7-9 seasons respectively. Tony Romo has thrown a total of 39 interceptions over the last three seasons in leading the Dallas Cowboys to three straight 8-8 seasons, and a run of four consecutive non-playoff years.

Yet despite those facts, none of those quarterbacks has ever had it said that they are “broken beyond repair,” or that their careers are over. Most sports media types have only ever seemed to express a belief that they are elite QBs and will rebound from a down year. But not Schaub. It seems that as far as they are concerned, he’s done.

It’s hard to fathom why the media will point to some guys as having the ability to rebound from a difficult season, and others who they don’t believe can. It defies logic to state that Schaub – a QB with two Pro Bowls, multiple 4,000 yard seasons, and five straight seasons with a QB rating over 90 – is washed up because of one bad year. Especially when a QB like Manning throws twice as many picks and the worst that’s said about him is that he had a tough season.

For his part, if the criticism and doubters are affecting him, Schaub isn’t showing it. From the early reports coming out of the Raiders’ offseason program, the veteran passer is looking every bit as effective and productive as he was at the height of his success in Houston.

HC Dennis Allen recently said that he is supremely confident in Schaub’s ability to rebound, and has shown a “tremendous football IQ and his trademark accuracy” during their offseason work. The team and the coaching staff believe in him, and more importantly, Schaub believes in himself.

Down seasons happen in the game of football, and players sometimes have to battle through difficult times. What separates the good from the great players is precisely their ability to fight through it and rebound bigger and better than before.

Which is exactly what Schaub is working on doing – that, and shutting up all of the doubters out there.

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

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