Houston Texans: 7 Things Matt Schaub Must Do to Be a Top 5 QB in 2012

Stephen KasperCorrespondent IAugust 9, 2012

Houston Texans: 7 Things Matt Schaub Must Do to Be a Top 5 QB in 2012

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    If you compared Matt Schaub to all of the quarterbacks in the NFL, he would rank somewhere in the middle of the pack.

    He's not the league MVP, but he's also definitely not the goat of the NFL.

    His passer rating is usually pretty good. He makes smart decisions for the most part. And he has pulled through in clutch situations more than once.

    At the same time, he also hasn't really displayed that “cerebral assassin” style of play that Drew Brees, Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers do.

    But that doesn't mean he couldn't.

    He is an extremely talented quarterback and could definitely hit that elite level, provided he makes sure a few things happen.

    I've comprised a list of seven things that Schaub must do this season to help him get there.

No.1: Stay Healthy

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    Since 2007, Matt Schaub has only played two complete seasons.

    Last year, he started just 10 games, leaving backups Matt Leinart and T.J. Yates to lead the team.

    Had he been healthy the entire season, he was on pace to pass for around 4,000 yards and 24 touchdowns—which actually isn't that bad. But to hit those numbers, he'd have to give us 16 complete games.

    Something that hasn't happened too often in recent years.

    The upside is that when Schaub is at 100 percent like he was in 2009, he can produce impressive numbers.

    If he wants to be a top-5 quarterback, he has to stay healthy for the entire season.

No. 2: Take Chances with Andre Johnson

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    Okay, so this actually pertains to something more than just Matt Schaub.

    This is about his toys.

    Or at least his biggest toy—Andre Johnson

    Now, I understand that Andre has to do his part and stay healthy. And for the sake of argument, we will say he plays his first full season in three years.

    But the fact that Andre's season-high for touchdown receptions is only nine tells me he's not being used to his fullest potential.

    I know Schaub is a smart quarterback who would rather throw the ball away than throw a pick, but if I were him, I would risk tossing it up to Johnson more often and trust my All-Pro receiver to come down with it.

    He does that, and he could put up some huge numbers to boost this offense.

No. 3: Win the AFC South

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    This one seems easy enough, right?

    I mean, everyone expects the Texans to win the AFC South.

    But will people say they couldn't have done it without Matt Schaub?

    Last season, they won the division on the shoulders of the revamped defense, which I am not complaining about. I believe Houston's defense is the best all-around in the NFL.

    But if Schaub wants to reach that top-5 status, he can't be overshadowed by the defense when they win the division. He has to be the one people look back on and say that Houston couldn't have done it without him.

    Like I said in the first place, Schaub, not just the Texans, needs to win the division and make everyone a believer.

No. 4: Make a Deep Playoff Run

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    To add to the previous point, Matt Schaub has to take his team deep into the playoffs.

    Obviously, a Super Bowl is always the main objective, but making it to the AFC Championship game would suffice.

    The league's truly elite quarterbacks have won a Super Bowl. And the league's up-and-coming big-name quarterbacks have been to the playoffs.

    Schaub has to start somewhere. An AFC title game isn't a Super Bowl, but it lets people know he is serious.

    Now, a Super Bowl is still ideal. But if Schaub can be the general of his offense and pick apart opposing defenses in the playoffs, he will really turn some heads.

No. 5: Pass for 30 Touchdowns

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    Schaub's season-high for touchdown passes is 29 from 2009.

    Had Schaub been able to build on that by staying healthy and getting even better the following years, this article wouldn't exist. He'd already be a top-5 quarterback.

    But that's not the case, so here we are.

    Some people may argue that Schaub would be able to do this if Arian Foster didn't steal away so many touches. But in 2009 when Brett Favre took the Vikings to the NFC title game, he had an incredible season with 33 touchdowns while his running back Adrian Peterson still had 18.

    Schaub and Foster don't have to be any different.

    If anything, having such a dominant running back should help his passing game.

    If he has Andre Johnson all season and utilizes the rest of his weapons properly, the sky is the limit.

    It's just a question of whether he will take some chances and make it happen.

No. 6: Produce Fantasy Points

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    I know this one sounds kind of silly, but just try to think about the bigger picture behind it.

    Fantasy football has become huge across the fanbase of the NFL. It's one of the best ways to get more attention from fans outside your own team.

    Take Cam Newton last season, for example.

    He had an amazing rookie year and his fantasy numbers were through the roof.

    He definitely would have turned heads without the existence of fantasy football, but it still gave him even more attention and hype than he would have gotten without it.

    Schaub needs a little bit of that.

    He needs to make his fantasy owners love him, and the guys who are playing against him, hate him.

No. 7: Become the Sole Leader of the Offense

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    Matt Schaub is a captain of this offense.

    But so is Andre Johnson.

    And I'm sure Arian Foster and Duane Brown also help lead.

    But for Matt Schaub to be a top-5 quarterback, he needs to be the guy on offense.

    Look at the Patriots. Do you think anyone else is above Tom Brady in leadership?

    What about Aaron Rodgers and the Packers? Or Drew Brees and the Saints?

    If Schaub wants to be elite, his play needs to be respected enough that all of his teammates and coaches see him as the biggest leader of this offense and treat him that way.