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From the very first Super Bowl through the Baltimore Ravens' win after the 2000 season, only nine were won by quarterbacks who have not been inducted into the Hall of Fame. Since the start of the new millennium, every championship team through 2011 has been led by a passer with multiple Lombardi trophies or the regular-season statistics to justify his selection.
The point is, most of the time, it requires a great player behind center to lead your team to the ultimate victory in this sport. By the close of last season, Matt Schaub seemed further away from that level of greatness than ever before.
After winning two overtime games against substandard teams (Jacksonville and Detroit), his passing, along with his leadership of the team, took a dive. After bombing out in the Divisional Round of the playoffs once again, many of the complaints that had followed him throughout his career reached a crescendo.
Schaub doesn’t have an NFL-quality arm, he lacks the mobility to extend plays, he can’t put the team on his shoulders in crunch time, his facial expressions and body language fail to inspire confidence, et cetera and so forth.
The Texans’ quarterback is as much a prisoner of the offensive philosophy of Gary Kubiak as his own limitations, whether they are real or imagined. The head coach would rather avoid turnovers or incompletions than throw a third-down pass beyond the sticks or rely on his wide receivers in the red zone.
No matter who or what is to blame, the offense of this contender will continue to run the ball when most other teams would take to the air.
The purpose of this article is to assign a rank to everyone who plays the position. In the NFL, quarterback depth is a contradiction in terms. There is your starter heading up the depth chart, then a huge dropoff in the second- and third-string backups.
Houston is just like most of the teams in the league in that T.J. Yates and Case Keenum cannot be relied on to seamlessly fill in for Schaub. Yates does have eight games' worth of experience from 2011, but he has not had any subsequent chances to build upon it.
Keenum is an intriguing, if untested, prospect and will get enough reps during camp to see if he is worth keeping around—maybe enough to see if Yates could be dangled as trade bait before the final cutdown.