There are several interesting questions here.
First, when can Schaub be expected on the field following his rehab? By OTAs and minicamps? By training camp and preseason?
CnnnD said this type of injuries can take anywhere from 6 to 12 months to heal. Then there's at least a 2-3 months of rehab/strengthening after that. So best case, Schaub isn't ready until July. Worst case, we're talking next October. My money is on September/October.
If Schaub isn't ready to go until the season starts, is he just handed his job back? If Schaub is completely 100% by preseason and he seems back to his normal self (whatever you deem that to be), he gets his job back. If he's out all T/C and preseason, then you go with the guy that earned the 1st string job in camp. But when he's fully functional, whenever that is, he should be given a shot to start.
And what are the chances for his foot to be re-injured?
That's a CnnnD question... or any other sports medicine informed poster(s). I'd like to hear some feedback myself. And I figure you mean just by doing normal QB stuff, not if some beached whale lands on it again...
How would Schaub perform in the last year of a contract? Would he try to protect himself from injury heading into possible free agency?
If Schaub plays "timid", for any reason, AND T.J. is still running the offense adequately, then Schaub goes to the bench. He cannot play scared and expect to keep his job. That applies to everyone.
Will the Matt Schaub post surgery be as good as the Pro Bowl MVP Schaub of 2009?
My crystal ball says, "Outlook cloudy". I certainly hope so. Right now, today, I'd rather have the 2009 Pro Bowl Schaub than the youngster who only has 2-1/2 games to his credit.
Would the Texans know enough about Yates after 5-1/2 regular season and (at least) one playoff game?
Know enough about him to do what? Trade Schaub? Keep him but kick him (Schaub) back to 2nd string? Something tells me Kubiak is way too conservative to turn the depth chart upside down based on 5-1/2 games.
Would a 2012 Yates actually have more experience than Schaub had in 2007, as the new franchise QB?
I think the short answer is "yes". I don't think Schaub saw any playoff action. Yates will have played in at least one playoff game... hopefully three... on top of a month and a half of regular season action.
If he performs well during his stint as starter in 2011, could Yates be a good soldier backing up Schaub in 2012? Could Schaub bite his tongue and play backup to Yates for a season?
Both are team players and don't strike me as whinny types. They'll do what coach says. They may not like it, Schaub thinks it's his job and T.J. will feel that he earned it, but neither will make waves. ...ain't no drama queens on this team ...at least not since "pay me Rick" left town.
How would Yates perform knowing Schaub could replace him after a poor performance? How would Schaub handle the pressure of a young QB pushing him?
I don't think Kubiak would put either in that position. Once he decides on who's #1, that's how it's going to be. It would take monumental suckage by Schaub or T.J. for that decision to be overturned. In our system, I don't see that happening. Both guys can run the offense effectively.
As far as the rest of the season goes, it's que será, será. I'll be more than happy with whatever the outcome of the season. It's been an amazing stretch and I'll get to see a playoff game for the first time in 18 years. But, I also expect the Texans to be a Super Bowl contender in 2012. They have a lot of questions to answer. What about Mario? What happens with Wade? Does Foster get extended? But none will be bigger than how they answer the Schaub/Yates situation. The Texans have a window, and no one knows how big or small it is. How they handle the decisions at the QB position will be key in whether the Texans can enter the window and become champions.