Matt Schaub and the Texans' Preseason: Rest Versus Rust
As everyone knows, with Schaub the Texans were the best team in the NFL. Without him, they came up short in the playoffs.
Now he's back and playing for a new contract to boot.
With his meniscus repaired, the Texans have a lot to consider when arranging his workload this preseason. They must balance his health with the fact the offense needs to get in rhythm for the 2012 season. (As a point of correction, Schaub's injury was a Lisfranc).
The Texans have little depth at wideout, and Schaub is going be working with a young and largely new group of receivers. The more in-game reps he gets with the likes of Lestar Jean and DeVier Posey, the better they will be for it in the long run.
Of course, the last thing you want to do with a quarterback with a history of injury problems (or more kindly: a history of terrible bad luck) is expose him to opposing defenses in preseason games behind a line that can at best be labeled as unproven.
How much should Schaub play in the preseason?
When you couple the need to protect Schaub while developing the offense with the added factor of needing to see more from T.J. Yates, and you can understand why being a head coach is a stressful job.
Yates galvanized Houston last year, at least for a few weeks. While not all aspects of his game were up to par, he did show flashes that he could be an effective quarterback. His primary problem was with pocket presence and the inability to get rid of the football.
Those are exactly the kinds of flaws that can improve with game experience. Yates needs reps if the Texans are going to properly value him moving forward. After all, they do have a huge call to make involving Schaub in just a few months.
And so the snake eats its own tail.
When faced with a difficult situation, NFL coaches tend to follow conventional wisdom so as to avoid criticism. Schaub will likely follow the one drive, two quarters, two quarters and a drive, one drive (or zero drives) plan that has become accepted in the NFL.
Gary Kubiak has a tough job this preseason, but balancing rest and rust for Schaub is a much nicer problem than trying to figure out how to replace him altogether.
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