Matt Schaub excited to be starting on Sunday
After all the interceptions, all the losses, all the boos, Matt Schaub has a chance for a little bit of redemption.
With Case Keenum out this week – and potentially the season finale – because of an injury to his throwing hand, the embattled veteran quarterback will make his first start since mid-October.
And he’ll do it against the league’s best team, in front of home fans that booed his arrival in a relief role just a month ago.
“You hate to see anybody go through that,” Andre Johnson said. “(Schaub) went through a tough stretch there. You want to see somebody get a second chance and redeem themselves. He has his chance this week going against a very good football team. And we’ll see what happens.”
Schaub’s last start came on Oct. 13 against the Rams at Reliant Stadium. In that game, the quarterback, who was already going through the toughest stretch in his football career, hurt his leg. Home fans cheered when Schaub went down and those cheers grew even louder when T.J. Yates relieved him.
That was a long time ago, though. Now, Schaub, who very well might not be with the Texans next season if they elect to cut him, has a chance to prove he can still be an NFL quarterback.
“Yeah, absolutely,” Schaub said about seeing this weekend as a chance for redemption. “That’s what we do every week, good, bad or indifferent. You have to go out there and prove yourself and go out there and cut it loose. Looking forward to getting out there and getting in the huddle.”
Schaub said he’s not thinking about what the fan reaction will be Sunday. Interim coach Wade Phillips expressed some concern but then said he isn’t worried.
“I’m not worried because I know the majority of our fans are with us no matter what, they’ve stuck through no matter what and we appreciate it,” Phillips said. “This is our last home game. We need a lot of support and I think we’ll get it.”
A lot has happened in the two months since Schaub’s last start: Keenum has made eight starts (the Texans have lost all of them), Arian Foster, Ben Tate, Brian Cushing and Danieal Manning were lost for the season and Schaub’s had time to grow a pretty thick beard.
Bearded Schaub came into the Jacksonville game two weeks ago and nearly led the Texans to a win for the second time in a relief role. He had the Texans a few yards from a victory against Oakland on Nov. 17.
In both of those relief appearances, Schaub was able to move the football and the offense much better than Keenum, who came into the year as the team’s third-string quarterback.
And Schaub sees the positives from those games.
“Yeah, you do but ultimately you want to come in and get the job done,” he said. “You have chances to make plays to put points on the board in order to win the game. It’s tough from that standpoint, but the way we were able to move the football and get some opportunities; yeah we were able to take some positives from it. But ultimately, it comes down to winning.”
Winning’s something the Texans haven’t done much of this season. They’re on a franchise-record 12-game losing streak after Schaub led them to victories in the first two games of the year.
But Schaub’s unraveling starting with interceptions and ended with defensive backs scampering into the end zone. Schaub threw a pick-6 in four consecutive games heading into the Rams game. Keenum started the next game against Kansas City and has been the starter ever since. But the Texans say Schaub hasn’t chanced his preparation.
“That’s the thing about Matt, he’s been preparing every week, for the last eight weeks and he played in a couple games,” interim coach Wade Phillips said. “Matt’s a true professional. He works at his craft. Even though he’s been a backup guy, he goes to the same meetings, and he practiced some, Case didn’t take every snap. He still practiced some because he was the second quarterback. I feel alright that way.”