AFC South

Why is Matt Schaub the Problem?

He’s thrown for over 4,000 yards 3 times. He has a career 128-76 TD-INT ratio and a 91.6 passer rating. He was even at the helm for Houston’s back-to-back AFC South division titles in 2011 (most of the season) and 2012. So why is Matt Schaub still considered the problem with this offense?

Maybe it’s because he has so much talent around him.

Arian Foster is one of the best running backs in the game, a back who gets downhill quickly and doesn’t dance. He sees a hole and he hits it.

Andre Johnson is one of the best receivers in the league. His athleticism is tremendous for his size. He’s strong, runs good routes, has a big frame, and comes back to the ball, making him open even when he doesn’t quite appear to be.

Schaub has two athletic tight ends to throw to in Garrett Graham and Owen Daniels. The Texans have been able to successfully attack with these tight ends all season, including against the Seahawks’ vaunted pass defense in Week 4.

Rookie wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins was added in the first round of this year’s draft. His playmaking abilities give Schaub yet another option to throw to.

The offensive line is strong, creating push in the running game and space in the pocket from which to throw.

The defense certainly isn’t the issue with this team seeing as it’s led by the likes of J.J. Watt, Brian Cushing, and now Ed Reed.

This pretty much just leaves Schaub. The Texans might not be the best team in the league, but as the array of talent listed above shows, they don’t have any glaring weaknesses. So why haven’t they been able to turn the corner and become a true championship contender? The answer seems simple by process of elimination – the quarterback position. Matt Schaub.

Fans and the media have pretty much been lambasting Schaub of late. The conventional wisdom has been that the issue with the Texans is their quarterback. Conventional wisdom is a dangerous thing in the NFL, especially when it’s based off of the opinions of sportswriters who know nothing more than surface-level football. However, in this case, the conventional wisdom matches up with the coaches film.

What it comes down to is that Schaub is the type of quarterback who needs talent around him (which he obviously has) to elevate his play instead of the opposite – his talents elevating the play of those around him. As a result, this is an offense that needs all of its components to work on each play to be effective. It’s an offense that has to stay on schedule and maintain balance to keep the defense guessing.

Ultimately, Schaub is limited as a quarterback. His minimal arm strength provides him with little ability to win downfield late in the play. Whether from the pocket or on the run, if Schaub has to hold onto the ball for too long, he is ineffective. He needs to be able to plant his back foot and deliver the ball on time to be successful. The design of the play or the individual one-on-one matchups have to win. This, in the end, limits the Texans offense against better competition.

So, can the Texans get to the Super Bowl with Matt Schaub at quarterback? This question has been asked repeatedly over the last couple of years. The answer is yes. He just needs the players around him to lead the way.

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