The Schaub Era Coming to an End in Houston

Patrick D. Starr

“Yeah, it’s obviously very disappointing for me after all we’ve been through here and all we’ve accomplished and done. But I’m part of the reason we’re in this situation as a football team. It’s his decision. He’s the head coach. As a player and a competitor, I don’t like it. I want to be out there.”

Matt Schaub

Criticism is very justifiable for the way the Houston Texans have played under Gary Kubiak in 2013, and with a five game losing streak change was needed. Despite all of the issues with the Texans, Kubiak has stepped out of the comfort zone that fans have grown accustomed too. As much as the critics have been on Kubiak, he has made one of the toughest decisions to bench his captain and the quarterback he traded for in Matt Schaub. Even though all signs pointed to this move, seeing it happen was another level within itself.

This is a tragic story to see how quarterback Matt Schaub has fallen from being the starter to the backup heading into Sunday night's contest. This free fall started midseason 2012 and Schaub has not been able to get back on track and left Kubiak little choice on the decision he had to make.

Kubiak let all the quarterbacks know of the decision prior to the bye week, so it was apparent the direction Kubiak wanted to send this team. Health was not an issue according to Kubiak, and his decision was based on play from Keenum against the Chiefs. Despite all of the publicity surrounding Keenum, the reality of Schaub's tenure as the starting quarterback is coming to an end. This is a big step for a franchise trying to get over the perennial playoff hump, and quarterback is where it starts.

The NFL game has caught up to an aging and immobile Schaub and he has handcuffed the Texans offense the last 12 games. As much as play calling has been an issue, the majority of it was because of the limitations Schaub had as a quarterback. Tendencies shown by the Texans and picked up by other NFL teams in the passing game are due to Schaub's eye locking on to Andre Johnson and Owen Daniels. The plays calls have not gotten stale but the player pulling the trigger for the offense has.

In seven seasons for Houston, he has a 46-40 overall record with completing 65% of his passes and 122 touchdowns. Schaub came as a breath of fresh air in 2007 for a franchise that saw the first overall pick, David Carr, run the organization into the ground. Schaub led the league in passing in 2009 and made one of the best combinations in the NFL with Andre Johnson. Not all was bad in Schaub's tenure as the quarterback, but the peak of his career was cut short by an Albert Haynesworth pile jump in Tampa Bay in 2011. The team was destined to get to the promised land but, like all Houston football stories, the most important piece of the Texans team was placed on I.R.

At 32 and with multiple issues with his body, Schaub has hit a steep decline and put the Texans in a bad spot in 2013. He has always been labeled as a game manager and he has made some plays when needed. Now when the Texans needed him the most, he couldn't put it together for the team. The infamous pick six streak that Schaub had this season really crushed any mental aspect for him moving forward. The San Francisco game really ended anything Schaub had left in the tank, and the next week against the St. Louis Rams, Schaub played tentative and really struggled to put the offense in position to win.

He was considered the leader for an offense that could move the ball up and down the field, but putting points on the board have always seemed an issue with Schaub at the helm. Schaub will be relegated to back up duty for the time being, but the offensive captain on the bench is a telling sign on where this franchise is headed. That place looks like it will be without the services of Matt Schaub in Houston.

You can follow Patrick on Twitter. He is the Editor of State of the Texans.

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