Matt Schaub said it himself. He must play better if the Houston Texans are to get going.
“I’ve just got to be better,” Schaub said.
It might not be much more simple than that. Not pinning all the Texans' ills on Schaub; after all the pass defense hasn't been as good as expected, and the special teams failed them in Sunday's loss to the Ravens. We should note, too, that Schaub did help fuel Week 1 and 2 comebacks, both in rather stunning fashion.
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But the picks — four of them so far — have to stop and the short, dinky stuff (he's averaging 6.5 yards per attempt, more than a yard below his career average) has to be beefed up. Teams are giving the Texans the underneath throws and doing their best not to let Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins to do damage downfield. The red-zone performance was just unacceptable, overthrowing or missing open receivers, and the second-quarter pick-six by Ravens linebacker Daryl Smith was a momentum-changer that the Texans never could rebound from.
But back to Schaub for a minute. He signed a four-year, $62 million extension on the eve of last season, and he helped lead the team two games into the playoffs. But people are expecting the next step now. At 2-1, the Texans are far from in trouble, but they have looked far from an impressive 2-1. The Colts are coming off a banner victory at San Francisco, and the Titans are one of the shocks of the NFL, creating an early, three-way tie atop the AFC South.
If Schaub doesn't step up, the Texans do not win. Period. Oh, they might get into the postseason, but that's not good enough in most folks' minds. There's plenty on other Texans' plates, such as Arian Foster, the offensive line and the secondary. They all need to step up. But Schaub must be a more consistent performer.
If there's a silver lining, perhaps, it's that for much of his career Schaub had been regarded as a bit of a stat padder who played well the first three quarters, but not when it counted. Sunday's loss notwithstanding, that reputation has been flipped on its head somewhat — not great early followed by heroics. The key now is finding that happy landing space in the middle, where the highs are praiseworthy but the lows don't bottom the team out.