Quarterback Controversy In Houston?
By Emin Avakian
You can't win a Super Bowl after five games in the NFL season, but you can certainly lose one. And the Houston Texans, my friends, have squandered their opportunity.
At 2-3, and loaded with unanswered questions, the Texans are undoubtedly one of the league's most disappointing teams thus far. The preseason favorites to win the AFC South are third in the division behind the surprising Tennessee Titans and the surging Indianapolis Colts. Anticipated to contend for the AFC championship, the Texans are near the bottom of the conference with identical records to Buffalo, Oakland and San Diego (yikes).
While quarterback Matt Schaub has taken the brunt of the blame and criticism, you can count bright spots on one hand for the defending AFC North champions.
Putting aside the emergence of DeAndre Hopkins, the offense has not looked as dominating as it has in recent years, totaling just 93 points in five games. Their defense ranks atop the NFL in yards allowed per game, but is giving up 27.8 points. Worst of all, head coach and orchestrator Gary Kubiak looks overwhelmed. To quote Dennis Green, he is who we thought he was.
Schaub doesn't get away unscathed, though. His inexplicable streak of four straight games with an interception returned for a touchdown is the headline of the team's three-game losing streak, and his ninth interception of the season prompted Kubiak to call on backup T.J. Yates to finish the game at San Francisco. Yates completed three of five passes for 15 yards in a 34-3 dismantling.
Schaub will almost surely get the start against St. Louis this Sunday, and his teammates and coaches are defending the former pro-bowl quarterback. Well, kind of. Kubiak did reveal that each player, including the quarterback, would be evaluated this week heading into week six.
Matt Schaub? Evaluated? What happened to the all-pro who earned a new contract (a fortune) last season? Clearly, and evidently, the problem, at least partially, is in his head. To be fair, breaking the record of consecutive games with a pick-six will do that to a quarterback. On the other hand, Schaub is 32 years old and is in his seventh season as the signal-caller of the Texans. An argument can be made that he is having the worst stretch of his career. An argument can SURELY be made that we have seen the best of Matt Schaub (and this columnist has in past articles. Shameless plug).
The question that Kubiak and the organization need to contemplate is whether Yates gives the team the best chance to turn it around. At the moment, the consensus answer is 'No.' However, if Schaub doesn't show positive signs and doesn't lead the offense like we know he can, then Yates might be the only reasonable option, even though the Texans would be putting close to $30 million guaranteed on the bench.
If Schaub extends the streak of interceptions returned for a touchdown to five games, and the Texans lose, then my oh my. Bring out the boo birds and cue up an article about players performing well in their contract year and stinking up the joint after they sign on the dotted line.