With the Texans’ OTA’s completed this week, there remains an hint of uncertainty in the thick, humid, hot Houston air. The uncertainty centers around the true nature of starting QB Matt Schaub’s health. Mid season in 2011, Schaub found his way on the injured reserve list and onto the operating room table with a fracture in his left foot. Luckily for the Texans, TJ Yates stepped in and led the team to the playoffs for the first time. But with the OTAs completed and Schaub not having seen the right side of a football field since his injury, it leaves many to wonder – what’s to make of the star QB on the sidelines?
Head coach Gary Kubiak made some typical generic statements regarding Schaub’s prospects, providing no reasonable level of comfort to those hoping to see Schaub suited up for the preseason. For instance, when asked, Kubiak stated that he “felt good” about Schaub’s prospects, and that he thought Matt “could be practicing right now,” but did not say for sure when the QB would be granted access to the field. Kubiak went further and attempted to quell any rumors about whether management or the coaching staff were plotting Schaub’s demise due to his questionable health.
“There’s nobody here questioning it, I can tell you that,” said Kubiak. “He’s our quarterback, he’s our leader, he’s played extremely well. He had a very unfortunate situation last year, getting caught in a pile. We know what Matt’s capable of and what he’s done when he’s been on the field for us and we’re expecting big things from him, so there’s no questions being asked here.”
During the final day of the OTAs, Schaub noted that he was “ready to go” when asked how his rehabilitation was going. Without stating the obvious then, why sir, were you on the bench when you made that statement?
The Texans’ next drill is the mini-camp which will take place June 12 – 15. However, Schaub and other veterans are being excused from that event in order to work on conditioning.
While there is complete logic in allowing Schaub to sit out the training season until he is fully cleared by medical staff, there is still the impending fear that he won’t be ready, and when he is, he won’t be able to perform. Sitting out for this long could certainly work against Schaub and the offense. While the team begins to work together and work in the rookies during OTAs, minicamps, and other sessions, there has to be a thought that the offense might not fare as well this year due to what could shape up to be a shotgun start for the head QB. With the offense being arguably the weaker side of the ball leading into the heart of training season, there is a definite need for Schaub. There is a need for the offense to gel in enough time to truly be “ready” in every sense of the word.
Looking at Schaub’s age (over thirty) and his injury record, there is definite cause for concern. Schaub has started for the Texans for five years, but has only been healthy enough to play the entire regular season twice. In his first two seasons with the Texans, he sat out five games a piece due to injury. Coupled with his six game “hiatus” in 2011, there is a natural fear amongst fans that Schaub may be rusty and may have left his best days behind him.
While the injury bug is certainly buzzing in Houston, seeing a healthy QB back at the head of the pack could make for an incredible season for the Texans. But that is all up in the air with Schaub still not working out with the team. Until then, the air will remain mighty thick in Houston and fans and pundits alike will wait with bated breath. All we need to see is Schaub suit up in order to exhale.