Wednesday, September 18, 2013
QB Watch: Texans’ Matt Schaub
By Tania Ganguli
A weekly analysis of the Texans’ quarterback play.
Rewind: Matt Schaub orchestrated the Texans' second-half comeback against the San Diego Chargers in Week 1, helping Houston make the biggest comeback in franchise history. I predicted he would not be placed in such a position again because the Titans don't have the offensive firepower that the Chargers have. I was right about the Titans' offensive firepower, but it wasn't Tennessee's offense that knocked Houston into a hole. It was the defense. A misread by Schaub led to an interception by Titans corner Alterraun Verner that put the Texans down eight late. Rather than crumble at that point, Schaub recovered quickly to lead the Texans to victory.
Fast-forward: The Texans' pass protection will face a major test against a Ravens defense that upgraded its pass rush. This will especially be true if the Texans don't have left tackle Duane Brown, who termed his injury in Sunday's game as "pretty bad turf toe." Schaub made an impressive throw as he was getting hit last week, but too much pressure won't go well for the Texans' quarterback.
The rookie's help: In overtime against the Titans, Schaub had a chance to develop a better rapport, by necessity, with first-round draft pick DeAndre Hopkins. It's critical that Schaub has viable options with whom he's comfortable beyond Andre Johnson. Johnson suffered a concussion against the Titans, but the Texans expect him to play Sunday. Even with him in the game, the more comfortable Schaub gets with his other receivers, the better it is for the Texans.
Prediction: Schaub ranks fourth in the NFL in passing yards with 644. He has thrown three touchdowns in each game, but he completed only 54.2 percent of his passes in Week 2. I expect some more passing touchdowns on Sunday, but fewer yards. Let's go with two touchdown passes and 280 yards passing.