Perhaps it’s a case of looking at the world through silver-and-black lenses. Or maybe Raiders fans have studied hours of film and are convinced Matt Schaub’s flaws can be corrected. Or perhaps after so many non-playoff seasons, Oakland’s football fans are eager to believe in anything – including Schaub.
In a recent poll on a Bay Area sports website, 94 percent of voters (617 to 36) voted “yes” to the question, “Will Schaub be able to turn it around?”
The Raiders have put their faith in Schaub as their starting quarterback for 2014 after acquiring the once-successful longtime QB of the Houston Texans. After five consecutive seasons with a quarterback rating of 90, from 2008-2012, Schaub’s career nosedived in 2013. His QB rating plummeted to 73.0 (far below his 89.9 career mark) and he threw 14 interceptions vs. 10 touchdown passes and lost his starting job, playing just 10 games with only eight starts.
Yet the Raiders traded a sixth-round pick for Schaub in late March and quickly announced they were making him their starter.
“We feel very confident that Matt Schaub is the guy that can come in and lead this football team,” Raiders head coach Dennis Allen told reporters. “And he’s proven that he can do it in this league.”
Offensive coordinator Greg Olson said 2013 was just a blip on Schaub’s sterling career. Olson believes that at 32, Schaub has plenty left. The real Schaub, he said, was the one who had 22 TD passes vs. 12 picks in 2012 – not the 2013 version.
“We weren’t going to let last season deter us from the player and track record that he has shown over his career,” said Olson. “He was our target from day one.”
Now, as the Raiders get set to open their first full-roster organized team activities (OTAs) this week, Schaub is expressing confidence that he can play well and help lead a team that has been revamped through free agency and the draft this offseason.
In a one-on-one interview with Jerry McDonald of the Bay Area News Group, Schaub said he’s adjusting to his new surroundings and teammates, spending hours and hours preparing in his new offense and eager to shed the boos and bad times from Houston last season and open a new chapter to his career. Speaking of the troubles he endured with the Texans last season, Schaub told McDonald, “If you let it get to you, you’ll be out the door faster than you came in.”
McDonald noted that in Houston, Schaub wasn’t permitted to audible out of plays at the line of scrimmage. In Oakland, Schaub will be free to change plays if he sees something in the defense to warrant it.
Schaub told McDonald he’s eager for the frest start and increased freedom.
“There are things I’m being asked to do here that I didn’t have control of in Houston,” Schaub said. “I would have loved to, but we just weren’t in control of it. To now be in that position, it’s such a great place to be because you can get everybody on the same page.”
Soon, Schaub will have to show in OTAs, minicamp, training camp and exhibition games that his confidence translates to great decisions and strong, accurate throws. If not, second-round draft choice Derek Carr and second-year pro Matt McGloin will be waiting in the wings for their opportunites. But Schaub appears to be confident and eager to prove 2013 was indeed just a blip.
“You’ve got to prove to the coaches, the owners, the GM that you’re the guy for the job,” he told McDonald.