Every two days, Rishi Pochiraju will reveal a quarterback on his grand list of quarterback rankings. Each quarterback will receive a grade out of 50 – 10 points for each category. See his page for earlier ranked quarterbacks. Up next: number 15.
#15. Matt Schaub, Houston Texans
Texans quarterback Matt Schaub has had a very successful last two seasons in Houston, leading his team to two straight division titles. Although he was hurt for the last few games in 2011, Schaub rebounded nicely to lead his team to a 12-4 record.
The AFC South is weak, with Indianapolis being Houston’s only possible challenger for first place. Putting Schaub, a quarterback who’s won over the last two years, at 15th best may not seem accurate, but there were 14 better quarterbacks who were more valuable to their teams. You’ll see over the next four weeks.
Meanwhile, Schaub has been labeled as a “game manager”, but I do believe he is part of the reason for their success. He shouldn’t be categorized as a “Trent Dilfer” quarterback.
Physical traits and athleticism
The Texans’ starter stands at 6-5 and weighs in at about 240 pounds. He has excellent size that helps him in being a good pocket quarterback. However, Houston’s offense features a mobile quarterback, and Schaub has the necessary mobility to fill that role. The offense is a west-coast type attack that uses the run (Arian Foster) to set up the play-action pass with Schaub, so his mobility fits the system. Grade: 7.5/10
Although Schaub doesn’t exactly have a strong arm, he can make all the throws in Houston’s system. He makes good use of mechanics, making the lack of absolutely elite arm strength irrelevant for what the offense and the team needs to accomplish to win games. Grade: 7.5/10
Schaub’s mechanics are sound, starting with his footwork inside and outside the pocket. He sets his feet under pressure, part of the reason why he makes little mistakes. His throwing form is also on point, although he does sometimes release the ball comparatively slowly (compared to other quarterbacks). Grade: 8/10
Schaub has been in this league for ten years, and his mental maturity is part of the reason why he went from an undrafted backup with Atlanta to a quality starter in Houston. He recognizes blitzes, reads defenses, adjusts protections, makes effective audibles, and is confident in his throws. Although he does make minor mental errors occasionally, he’s solid in terms of his mental ability and football IQ. Grade: 8/10
Although he hasn’t been able to put himself over the top as a starting quarterback, Schaub possesses great leadership qualities and a competitive edge to his game. His story from an undrafted free agent to a solid NFL starting quarterback backs this up, proving that he is willing to put in the time and effort to improve. The question now becomes if he will be able to improve his teammates enough to put Houston over the top. Grade: 8/10
Matt Schaub is a solid NFL starter. He, like many others, has the physical and mental tools to succeed. He also has a supporting cast better than most starting quarterbacks have. To validate his position as a top-tier NFL quarterback, Schaub will need to push the Texans over the top, perhaps leading them to a Super Bowl win, maybe in the fashion as how Joe Flacco led his team last season. Overall Grade: 38.5/50