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Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Schaub hoping for new Raiders image

By Paul Gutierrez

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Matt Schaub is already an important figure in the lore of Oakland Raiders football. Granted, for another team.

It was Schaub who threw a game-ending end zone interception for the Houston Texans against the Raiders on Oct. 9, 2011. The day after Al Davis died. When the Raiders had only 10 men on the field.

“I think greater forces were at play that day,” Schaub said Tuesday, following the new Oakland quarterback’s first OTA practice with his new team.

“But coming into the building, you can feel the sense of the tradition and the aura around the Raiders organization, and it’s special to be a part of that right now.”

Matt Schaub
Quarterback Matt Schaub is hoping a change of scenery will get his career back on track.
No doubt the Raiders are hoping the only forces at work for Schaub going forward are positive ones that will result in success. Why else would they go all-in with Schaub as their franchise quarterback after acquiring him for a sixth-round draft pick?

Coach Dennis Allen has said to anyone who will listen that Schaub is his guy, that he still considers the two-time Pro Bowler a top-10 quarterback in the NFL.

“I think he understands the game,” Allen said. “I think he’s incredibly smart. He knows what it takes to win in this league. He knows how you have to prepare, how you have to take care of your body, how you have to meet, how you have to practice. So I think he is a true pro in every sense of the word.

“I don’t think there is any doubt that the quarterback is probably the most important position on the football team.”

Of course, no quarterback can do things on his own. And the way Schaub sees it, despite the lack of an established No. 1 pass-catching presence on the Raiders' roster, someone like his old target in Houston’s Andre Johnson, for example, Oakland is not bereft of talent.

“I look at ... the weapons around our receiving room, our tight end room, our backs; we have six or seven No. 1 guys,” Schaub said. “I look at it as we have a stable of guys that we can distribute the football to and we can spread it around. We don’t have to focus on one guy. We can beat you with four or five or six different guys.

“On any given day, one of those guys might have 10 [catches] for 150 [yards], but we’re not trying to set the standard like, ‘Hey, you’re going to be the guy that we’re going to go to this many times.’ We’re going to try to spread it around, keep the defense honest. ... It’s going to be exciting to be a part of it.”

Schaub, who passed for more than 4,000 yards three times between 2009 and 2012, is coming off a career-worst season in which he lost his job in Houston and threw 14 interceptions, including a pick-six in four straight games, and 10 touchdowns in 10 games, eight starts.

And sure, it was just an OTA practice, the first of his Raiders tenure, but Schaub did throw a pick-six to Justin Tuck on Tuesday.

Still, Schaub, who has gone bowling with his new teammates as well as taken the offensive line and other quarterbacks to an Oakland A’s game, said he has more freedom in calling audibles under Oakland offensive coordinator Greg Olson.

“We had some audible systems in some alerts ... in Houston, but as far as protection calls and some of the things -- freedom to change routes to put our guys in position to make plays -- there’s a bit of a difference here than I’ve had in my past,” Schaub said. “At the stage of my career that I’m in, it’s refreshing to have that opportunity because it challenges me from a more mental standpoint now in a new place.”

One that is already familiar to him, courtesy of his role in the "Divine Interception" game.