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Post Retirement Review: Matt Schaub

Falcons back-up quarterback Matt Schaub has decided to hang up his cleats. The former UVA quarterback had quite a career.

By: NFLHeads

    There are many different ways people look at Schaub’s career, but I think the general consensus on the 39 year old quarterback is that he is seen as a bit of a joke. While that narrative does hold some validity, today we will be exploring Schaub’s career and really looking at what the quarterback did with his days as a professional. Let’s begin.

    Schaub attended the University of Virginia, and his college playing career spanned over four years, from 2000-2003. Schaub played as a starter in three of those seasons (2001-2003), and set school records for multiple passing stats. While Schaub had a rather good college career, he struggled with injuries a few times, including a season where he was being touted as an early Heisman candidate. 

    When Schaub entered the NFL Draft in 2004, he saw himself in the midst of a very ripe quarterback crop. The draft included players such as Eli Manning, Philip Rivers, and Ben Roethlisberger, all who went in the first round and have had very successful careers. Schaub was the fifth quarterback selected in 2004. He was selected in the third round, 90th overall, by the Atlanta Falcons. Schaub did little for the Falcons, coming in occasionally for an injured Michael Vick but never throwing for over 500 yards in his years in Atlanta. 

    On March 8, 2007 Schaub became a member of the Houston Texans in a trade involving second round picks from the Texans, plus the Falcons and Texans swapping their first round draft position in that same year (Atlanta would now be picking two spots earlier). The Texans immediately committed to Schaub, releasing quarterback David Carr in that same offseason.

    Schaub’s career then really kicked off, although Schaub was only able to play eleven games in 2007 due to injury, he and backup quarterback Sage Rosenfels helped lift the Texans to 8-8, their first season at .500. Schaub continued to flash in spots over the next two years, nonetheless his slow starts made it so that the Texans went 8-8 in 2008, and 9-7 in 2009. Schaub was elected to his first Pro Bowl in 2009 after leading the league in yards, completions, yards per game, and passing attempts.

    Hopes were high when Schaub came in to the 2010 season, after all Schaub had led the league in yards and had led the Texans to the franchise’s only winning record in its short history, but although Schaub had a strong statistical season (finishing fourth in passing yards), the team finished 6-10. 2011 however saw much more promise for Schaub, the team started out 7-3 with Schaub and ended up reaching the playoffs. Unfortunately Schaub suffered a season ending injury that caused him to be placed on IR after Week 10. The organization signed Schaub to a four year contract extension, locking him in until 2016.

    Schaub’s best season came in 2012, the Texans were a competitive team with a quarterback whose name was beginning to float in the MVP discussion. Schaub not only had amazing statistics, but he led his team to a 12-4 AFC South title, and the Texans saw themselves in the playoffs for the second time in two years, this time with their starting quarterback intact. The Texans trounced the Bengals in the Wildcard round, but ended up falling to the Patriots in the divisional matchup. Schaub was named to his second, and last Pro Bowl appearance. 

    What happened next came as nothing less than a complete shock to the football world, Schaub proceeded to have in 2013 what is seen as one of the worst statistical seasons by a quarterback. The Texans got off to a 2-0 start, only to end the season 2-14, and to have Schaub benched for Case Keenum in week 7. Schaub struggled mightily with interceptions, throwing 14 on the season with only 10 touchdowns to complement.

    Schaub’s awful performance was so retched that he was sent off to Oakland in exchange for a 2014 sixth round draft pick. Former GM Reggie McKenzie made many bold statements about Schaub, calling him one of the best quarterbacks he had ever seen, despite taking Derek Carr in the second round of the draft. Schaub was benched in favor of Carr to start the season, and for the first time since Atlanta, Schaub began the season playing second fiddle. Schaub had 57 yards, no touchdowns, and two interceptions that year, and was released at the end of the season.

    In 2015, Schaub signed a contract to be Joe Flacco’s backup and saw very limited playing time, starting only two games with a 1-1 record, and throwing for 540 yards, three touchdowns, and four interceptions. Schaub did not get re-signed, and he found himself in the free agent market for the second time in two years. He would soon be picked up by his former team, the Atlanta Falcons.

    Because Matt Ryan had been such a durable quarterback for so many years, it seemed unlikely that Schaub would see much playing time if any at all in Atlanta, and that is exactly what happened. Schaub’s only start came in a game where Ryan lost a week to a hit from quarterback killer Aaron Donald. In Schaub’s last start, we got a blast from the past seeing Schaub tally an impressive 460 yards, plus a touchdown and a pick.

    Schaub ultimately had one of the quicker falls from grace that is in recent memory, but we now have the opportunity to remember his old days where he gave the Houston Texans hope for the future, and made the fanbase and front office believe, if only for a short time, that they had a franchise quarterback at their disposal. 

NFL Draft Diamonds was created to assist the underdogs playing the sport. We call them diamonds in the rough. My name is Damond Talbot, I have worked extremely hard to help hundreds of small school players over the past several years, and will continue my mission. We have several contributors on this site, and if they contribute their name and contact will be in the piece above. You can email me at nfldraftdiamonds@gmail.com

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