Is Matt Schaub getting his 'mojo' back?

NAPA, Calif. -- Matt Schaub smirked when asked if all the story lines about his confidence level were amusing to him.

As if it’s ever been a question in the new Oakland Raiders quarterback’s mind.

“Yeah,” he said following Wednesday’s practice, “because you can’t make it anywhere in this game without having confidence through the roof. You’re going to go through ups and downs as a player. It’s [about] how you bounce back from it … how you move forward.

“You’ve got to put everything behind you, whether it’s good or bad. It’s about the next thing in front. I’m just excited about this training camp and to get going with the regular season here shortly.”

You could not really blame observers for wondering, though, after his nightmarish final season as a member of the Houston Texans. It was a campaign in which the two-time Pro Bowler lost his job, started just eight games, was intercepted 14 times and tossed a pick-six in four straight games.

A fresh start to soothe the soul is what the Raiders are banking on and Schaub has impressed thus far in camp, not only with his leadership but with his skills.

After a particularly impressive bullet he threw to Andre Holmes on Monday for a touchdown, a Raiders team official told me, “That looked like a Carson Palmer throw.”

The way defensive lineman Antonio Smith, a former Texans teammate put it, “Schaubby’s getting his mojo back.”

The question, then, did it ever leave?

Again, a fair query, considering how Schaub’s tenure in Houston ended.

“That’s a great compliment, coming from a teammate,” Schaub said. “I’ve known Antonio now six, seven years. For him to say that, it’s one of my guys. We’ve been together through thick and thin.

“You know, I’ve never lost it. It never went anywhere. But for him to notice that, we’re heading in the right direction.”

Much like the offense Schaub led in a two-minute drill near the end of practice on Wednesday, finishing the drive with a touchdown strike to a streaking Denarius Moore across the back of the end zone.

“It’s coming around,” Schaub said. “It’s our second or third time going through the installations since I’ve been a Raider and things start to become second-nature, and especially the more you do them and you understand where your guys are and where they’re going to be and how they run their routes. I’m becoming much more comfortable at things.”