I don't want to turn this into another Matt Schaub thread, because the good and bad of 2012 was more than Matt Schaub. The Texans had the premier defender in the NFL. But there are more questions surrounding the defense at a fundamental level than there were at the end of 2011. Andre Johnson had a tremendous statistical season. But many observers realize that he isn't the game changer he was in 2010. The Texans went 11-1 to begin the season, winning games in a variety of ways. They finished 2-4 (including the playoffs), and looked miles away from the team (Patriots) that defeated them twice in that stretch.
Still, this is a QB-centric league. Eventually, the discussion has to come around to the QB. After the 2011 season, many fans and some league observers felt that the Texans would have made it to the Super Bowl had Matt Schaub not been injured in season. The general consensus was that while Schaub was not 1st tier (Brees, Brady, Rodgers), he needed only playoff success to be considered in the Eli/Big Ben tier.
Does anyone think that now?
Teh Schaub Issue.
Talk radio after the last game could be called “Schaub talk radio.” The general view goes something like this: Texans can’t win the big game with Schaub. Texans play too conservative. Schaub doesn’t have the arm to go downfield. What happened to Schaub down the stretch? Schaub is 31. He is only going to get worse. Why the * did the Texans extend Schaub before the season?
I have no Schaub answers. Like all players, he has strengths and weaknesses. The QB position is one where even backups are overpaid. And let’s say that the Texans did not extend Schaub before the season. Who would they be signing now? For a good value. If you hear some of the names that Jaguar fans are looking at for quarterback right now, they tend to induce vomity feelings.
Let's say the Texans did not extend Schaub before the season. Who would they be signing now? Well, they could still sign Matt Schaub. At a lot less money and for fewer seasons. Because no team would be offering Schaub $60 million now. I'm sorry, but there's no legit excuse for making this type of franchise crippling mistake. And it's the second time McNair has made this very mistake. Inexcusable.
Healthier TEs. More experienced wideouts. Better offensive line. With a perfect team around him, maybe it is possible for Matt Schaub to become a championship QB. Maybe. After watching the last 6 games, I don't feel that way. I don't know how Kubiak, Smith, and McNair can. But like it or not, Schaub's contract forces the Texans to keep him on the team. That doesn't preclude them to start looking for his eventual replacement. Despite all of the good things that happened in 2012, the final sentence on the season should read, "Matt Schaub isn't good enough."