The numbers for Matt Schaub were ugly in 2013, and so were the boos in Houston. And, when the Raiders traded for him and declared Schaub their quarterback for 2014, many called it a “Raiders being the Raiders” type of move – an off-the-wall, against-the-grain, doomed-to-fail gamble.
Yet surprisingly, some believe Schaub’s struggles with the Texans last season were an aberration.
Veteran running back Maurice Jones-Drew, signed by the Raiders last week, said on an interview on Sirius radio this week that, “You can definitely (make the Super Bowl)” with Schaub at quarterback.
“(He) has something to prove this year,” said Jones-Drew. “I know Matt Schaub is a guy who can lead us.”
And former NFL quarterback and current NFL Network analyst Kurt Warner said on a telecast this week that he believes Schaub can return to the quarterback he was before 2013, when he threw for 4,000 or more yards three times (2012, 2010 and 2009 – when he led the NFL).
“I don’t think there’s any question,” Warner said. “I just think he went through a bad spell last year, and I really felt that Houston, where they are in the draft (No. 1 pick), should have kept Matt Schaub as their quarterback and then built around him with talent.
“I think it’s a great pickup for the Oakland Raiders. I think Matt Schaub is a top-15 quarterback, a quarterback that can make throws that very few quarterbacks can, and he’s been very consistent throughout this career.”
Warner acknowledged Schaub faces questions in Oakland. Can he win big games? Is he the long-term solution or just a short-term stopgap? Can he win in the playoffs? But he believes Schaub is a “top-flight starter” whom the Raiders got for very little – a sixth-round pick and a conditional choice in 2015.
“The Oakland Raiders got a steal here,” Warner said.
While he was in Houston last year – suffering through injuries, losing his job and throwing pick-six interceptions in an NFL-record four straight games – Schaub, 32, looked as if he’d lost it. He threw 14 interceptions in just eight games and posted career lows in almost every passing category.
But the Raiders say they still like what they see. General manager Reggie McKenzie told Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle that he and his staff reviewed every game Schaub played in 2013 and are confident they’ll see a different player this coming season.
“The guy can play,” McKenzie told Tafur. “…He had some really good years in Houston, took them to the playoffs. The guy can throw the ball. You just look at the tape and you see the talent.
“He had some good plays last year. Take away some of the bad throws and he looks all right. Things just didn’t go right with that whole team.”