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HOUSTON (CBS Houston) - The Houston Texans did it; they drafted more weapons for Texans quarterback Matt Schaub. Like every professional ball club, the levels of expectations increase with the level of performance and talent. Simply put, it’s just not going to be good enough for Schaub to merely guide the Texans to their third consecutive AFC South title.
The Texans have playmakers. They’re a team capable of making a deep postseason push. With Arian Foster leading the running back corps and wide receiver Andre Johnson being a mentor for their newly acquired receiver DeAndre Hopkins who was drafted in the first round, the Texans are in position to get over the hump next January. Not to mention Schaub being protected by his offensive line, which is led by All-Pro left tackle Duane Brown or his Wade Phillips defense, “Bulls on Parade” with reigning Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt and recently cleared linebacker Brian Cushing.
But today in the NFL, winning a Super Bowl lands more on the Quarterback’s shoulders more than ever. It is a quarterback league. It is a passing league. And the thing is, he’s good and if you look at his numbers, Schaub is great. Last season he was able to throw for 4,008 yards and 22 touchdowns. ESPN’s Ron Jaworski thinks Matt Schaub is better than 23 of the quarterbacks in the league according to Jaworski’s annual evaluation of the quarterback position.
Still, Schaub caught a lot of criticism down the stretch for not getting the job done with his late-season failures in 2012. After Houston started 11-1, including wins over elite AFC teams Denver and Baltimore, you would have thought they were well on track for home-field advantage throughout the postseason. But Schaub and the team lost three of their final four games, which led to the Texans not even receiving a first-round bye, much less home-field advantage. The Texans’ did have a wild-card win over the Bengals. However, Schaub threw zero touchdown passes and a pick-six. If Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton had played better than Schaub, the Bengals could have eliminated Houston in the first round. Then the Patriots handed the Texans another beating. That was Schaub’s chance to show that he could be as clutch in crunch time as the elite quarterbacks in the NFL on the game’s biggest stage.
But that’s the problem.
Texans quarterbacks coach Karl Dorrell told the team’s website after offseason workouts that, for Schaub to become elite, he needs to become a “crunch time” player. Dorrell said, “I know Matt’s really right there; he’s on the cusp of being one of those players.”
So what now?
Texans General Manager Rick Smith appeared on NFL AM and said that Schaub has to play better in the biggest games, against the best teams. “Quarterbacks are judged by championships,” Smith said. “That’s just a function of the position. That’s just the reality. And he understands that. He knows that. And he does have to play better in those situations for us to take our team to the next level.”
Kubiak said at the Texans’ season-ending presser. “I believe in Matt. He’s the quarterback of our football team. I’ve got no doubt about him.”
Once again, Schaub is a good quarterback, and the franchise believes he’s the answer. But where the Texans are as a franchise right now, and where they’re trying to go need to coincide as the Texans prepare for the road to the Super Bowl.
Not to mention according to Jaws, he’s better than 23 quarterbacks.