Time for Texans to drop Matt Schaub
Texans quarterback Matt Schaub is stopped on a run by Patriots safety Devin McCourty during their AFC division game at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., Jan. 13, 2013. (BRIAN SNYDER/Reuters)
If you are the Houston Texans, just where do you go from here?
Obviously the first step was to fly back to Houston, but looking ahead just how are they going to get any better? How are they going to be anything more than a playoff pretender?
For the second consecutive season the Texans got bounced from the dance in the divisional round. Last year they got a mulligan as they were down to their third-string quarterback.
So what does it say about this team when they get hammered 41-28 by the New England Patriots with their first-string pivot, Matt Schaub, leading the way?
In the Boston Globe, the esteemed Dan Shaughnessy dissed the Texans earlier in the week by referring to them as “tomato cans.” He took great delight in dismissing them as “tomato cans” a second time in a front-page column in Monday’s edition, where he really put the boots to them.
Basically, Shaunessey was right — they are a bunch of tomato cans pretending to be something pretty special.
But they aren’t and they won’t be as long as they have the likes of Schaub to lead the way.
Schaub is the type of quarterback who, if he gets the time and is playing against inferior opposition and his receivers are open, he can pile up the stats.
But at the age of 31, when he should be in his prime, he has shown that when the going gets tough he folds like a cardboard suitcase.
A Tom Brady, a Ben Roethlisberger, a Peyton Manning (despite Saturday’s loss) he is not.
He is simply not the kind of quarterback that a team can rally behind. He is unable to lift his game and his team when it counts the most.
The Texans have a bunch of good things going for them — a quality defence, a top receiver in Andre Johnson and a great running back in Arian Foster.
Their defence isn’t great — not like the Baltimore Ravens who won the Super Bowl with the likes of Trent Dilfer taking the snaps from centre. So they need more than a guy who can hand the ball off to Foster.
Within their own division they will be looking over their shoulder next year at their despised enemy — the Indianapolis Colts — who will have the exciting Andrew Luck running the offence with a fine rookie year of seasoning under his belt.
Do you think there is any fan in Houston right now who wouldn’t trade Schaub for Luck? Thought so.
So unless the Texans mint some gold in this year’s draft, they will be hard pressed to improve and turn back the Colts and repeat as the AFC South champs.
Hindsight is everything and taking the long look back over their season, it is easier to spot them as fraudsters more than champs,
All in all, they had a pretty soft schedule and while they were racing to an 11-1 record, they posted just two quality wins.
In Week 3, they went into Denver and came away with a 31-25 victory when Manning was still working out the kinks and discarding some of the rust.
Their most impressive win of the season occurred Oct. 21, when they blasted the Baltimore Ravens 43-13.
The rest of their victories were against non-playoff teams.
What’s more telling about this squad came in their defeats.
In the regular season they lost four games, just the same as the Patriots.
The Pats somehow managed to lose to Arizona in the second week of the season in their home opener so the old saw about ‘On any given Sunday’ rings true.
But in their four losses, the Pats were never thumped and lost those four games by a combined 11 points.
Now, take the Texans — please.
In their five losses, including Sunday’s game, they were hammered.
On Oct. 14 they lost to the Green Bay Packers 42-24; on Dec. 10 came the 42-14 embarrassment against the Patriots; on Dec. 23 they were upset by the Minnesota Vikings 23-6; and on the last weekend of the regular season they were drop-kicked by the Colts 28-16 — a loss which knocked them out of being the No. 1 seed and down to No. 3.
So the Texans didn’t just lose five games this season, they were routed in all five. That’s not a sign of any quality.
Next season the Texans will face a sterner test as at home they get to face the Colts, Denver, St. Louis, Seattle and New England. On the road it’s the Colts, San Francisco and Baltimore.
The comforting fact for Texans’ fans is they will have Schaub to lead them.
WELKER SHOWS UP SON OF BUM
As it turned out, Wes Welker had the last laugh.
Earlier in the week, the Patriots speedy slot back had been dissed by Houston defensive coordinator Wade Phillips who said he wouldn’t be employing his best defensive back — Johnathan Joseph — to cover him as Welker was “not that big or a real athletic guy.”
Son of Bum was right about Welker’s size — he’s 5-foot-9 — but as far as athleticism goes, he can’t be beat.
And on Sunday, Welker kept beating Houston coverage as he caught eight passes for a career post-season high of 131 yards. Highlighting his day was a 47-yard gain on a deep pass down the left sideline that set up a touchdown.
“I’m not really too worried about that,” Welker said of Phillips’ criticism. “It’s all a lot of noise. I just try to go out there and do my job to do the best of my ability.”
While Phillips may downgrade Welker, his coach Bill Belichick knows how valuable he is to the team’s success.
“Wes is a tremendous receiver, a great competitor,” Belichick said.
With his eight receptions, Welker also became the Patriots all-time leader in post-season receptions with 61 (achieved in eight games). He moved by Troy Brown who had 58 catches in 20 games.
Not too shabby for a guy who’s not a “real athletic guy.”