5 Reasons Why Matt Schaub Is an Elite NFL Quarterback

Rick BrokawCorrespondent IAugust 24, 2011

5 Reasons Why Matt Schaub Is an Elite NFL Quarterback

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    Ever since he took the starting job in Houston, QB Matt Schaub has been one of the most scrutinized QBs in the NFL. Commentators and analysts cite his lack of arm strength in one breath and then, with the next breath, mention his big-play ability. 

    Schaub has been at the helm of the Houston Texans since 2007. His first two seasons were on course to be some of the best in the NFL but he could not stay healthy. He played in 11 of 16 games in both 2007 and 2008. His QB ratings of 87.2 (2007) and 92.7 (2008) were in the top 20 of the league—his rating in 2008 was in the top 10 of the league—but his inability to play the entire season negates those stats. 

    However, in 2009 Schaub put up the first of two seasons which would propel him into the top of the stats charts for QBs in the NFL. Matt Schaub has proved that he has what it takes to be an elite QB in the NFL.

    Here are five reasons why...

Total Passing Yards

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    One of the prerequisites for being considered an elite QB in the NFL is the total passing yards a QB has in any given season. For the last two years Schaub has been in the top five QBs in the league for passing yards, having more than 4,000 passing years in both years.

    In 2009 Schaub threw for 4,770 yards (good for fourth in the league) and in 2010 he racked up an amazing 4,370 yards through the air (best in the league). Likewise, assuming that he had stayed healthy in 2008, Schaub would have thrown for roughly 4,425 yards which would have been fourth in the league.

    For a game that places so much emphasis on the amount of yards accumulated through passing, Schaub is one of the best in the game.  

Completion Percentage

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    Accuracy is key to winning games when it comes to the QB position. Being able to thread a needle from 40-plus yards away is a sure sign of an elite QB. 

    For the last four years Schaub has been one of the most accurate passers in the league. He has been in the top 10 QBs, for completion percentage, for each of the last four years and in the top five QBs for 2007 - 2009.

    With a completion percentage over 66 percent for each year that he has led the Texans, Schaub has proven that he has what it takes to be an elite QB in the NFL.

Passing for 20-Plus Yards

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    Even a mediocre QB can complete short passes on check-downs and quick routes. Elite QBs, however, continue to make big plays that keep the chains moving and put his team into a position to score points. 

    In passing plays that have gone for 20-plus yards, Schaub has been in the top 10 QBs in the league for the last three years. Likewise, for plays that have gone for 40-plus yards he has also been in the top 10 QBs in the league.

    Last season Schaub threw 59 passes for 20-plus yards which was second in the NFL, while his nine passes for 40-plus yards tied him for 10th in the league. For a QB who is constantly criticized for not having a canon for an arm, Schaub has proved that he is still a dangerous weapon in the passing game and can move the chains almost at will.

QB Rating

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    The QB rating is the holy grail for NFL QBs. Have a solid year in which your QB rating is good and your name gets thrown around the "elite" circle. However, sometimes a player goes unnoticed—under the radar if you would. Matt Schaub is one of those players.

    Mention QBs with good QB ratings and you will get names like Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, or Aaron Rodgers. However, last season Schaub's 92.0 QB rating was better than both Manning (91.9) and Brees (90.9). In 2009 his 98.6 rating was better than Tom Brady's 96.2 and in 2008 his 92.7 was good enough to be seventh in the NFL behind Rodgers.

    Ultimately, Schaub is one of the best passers in the NFL. His consistency over the last few years has proven that he has the necessary skills and poise to be considered an elite QB.  

Offensive Weapons

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    Great QBs have great WRs and elite QBs have elite WRs. Case in point, QB Matt Schaub and WR Andre Johnson. 

    Andre is the best WR in the NFL. In both 2008 and 2009 he led the NFL in receiving yards with over 1,500 yards each season. Last season was subpar for Andre, who only had 1,216 yards due to an ankle injury. Yet he still managed to have the sixth most receiving yards of any NFL WR.

    Schaub also has TE Owen Daniels who is a weapon of another sorts. Daniels ability to make big plays in the midfield helps keep Schaub honest when the WRs are being smothered. His play-making ability has helped Schaub keep a solid QB rating, has added to his total yardage, and aided his completion percentage.  

Show Him Some Respect

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    Matt Schaub has been a Pro Bowl MVP and he has been in the top 10 QBs for the last three years. The only thing that has kept him out of the "elite" club is the fact that he does not have a playoff appearance to date. 

    This year could change it all.

    However, Schaub deserves the title of being an elite NFL QB. He has the mettle and poise necessary to make big plays while still maintaining enough discipline to complete most of his passes. He has led his team to multiple come-from-behind wins and, with a more solid defense, stands to take over the AFC South this season. 

    Show the man some respect, Matt Schaub IS an elite QB.