On Matt Schaub as a system QB

My big takeaway from Andy Benoit’s Texans’ preview at the New York Times’ Fifth Down blog is his assessment of quarterback Matt Schaub.

“The Texans are not built around Matt Schaub. They’re quarterbacked by Schaub, but he doesn’t have the type of tools you build around. Schaub is the consummate “good” quarterback. He’s accurate, smart and moderately athletic. But he doesn’t have a cannon arm (not close) or an innate playmaking prowess when things break down. The longer Schaub holds the ball in the pocket, the less effective he becomes. That’s always a telltale sign of a limited quarterback.

“This dose of blunt truth always prompts Texan fans to bring up Schaub’s stats: 4,770 yards and 98.6 passer rating in 2009; 4,370 yards and 92.0 rating in 2010; a rating of 96.8 in 2011. Impressive numbers. But they’re proof that Schaub is a good fit in Gary Kubiak’s system.

“Kubiak’s system does not demand a lot of in terms of sheer physical talent. It’s a system that naturally allows the quarterback to be managed. (This is why the Texans were able to survive when fifth-round rookie T.J. Yates took over for the final month and a half last year.) It’s also a system that requires patient decision-making and consistent accuracy, which is why Schaub excels in it.”

Benoit goes on to say that the Texans must decide after the season if their system is strong enough to carry them to the Super Bowl. If so, they can re-sign Schaub; if not they should be shopping for a replacement.

In my eyes, that decision’s been made. Gary Kubiak is this offensive system. Under him, the team won’t be changing course offensively. Of course they think it can take them to a Super Bowl. The coach loves his quarterback, and I expect Schaub to be the team’s guy for the duration of another contract.

The Texans and Schaub are not concerned with whether he is rated as elite by outsiders. Just that he and the passing offense are able to play off Arian Foster and the team’s great zone-run scheme effectively.

There is a bunch of other good stuff in this piece, including a take on just how good outside linebacker Brooks Reed is at setting the edge in run defense.