The Oakland Raiders added a ton of new starters to the roster and on both sides of the ball this offseason. But regardless of how much talent was added to the team, the success of the season lies in a large part on the shoulders of quarterback Matt Schaub. When the Raiders traded for Schaub, despite only paying a sixth round pick for his services, Oakland clearly intended to make Schaub their starter and rely on him in 2014.
The move was as “boom or bus” as they come in the NFL. Schaub has been to the Pro Bowl twice and once led the league in passing. On the other side of things, he set a league record for consecutive games with a pick six in 2013. Schaub’s fall was fast, going from a quarterback who led his team to the playoffs and was expected to do so again to a backup in a matter of weeks.
Because of how quickly Schaub became bad, many assume it is more of a mental issue than a diminishing of talent. Schaub was being trashed by the Houston fan base and the support of his coaching staff was also missing at times. Meanwhile, he saw injuries to key players around him and soon everything spiraled out of control. Some believe that if Schaub can get his head right he can still play at a high level in the NFL.
The Raiders have to hope this is true and that his confidence is coming back with his new team. According to longtime teammate Antonio Smith, Schaub’s confidence is indeed returning.
Schaubby’s getting his mojo back. He’s getting his confidence back. He’s starting to believe in himself again. He is starting to throw with confidence. You would be surprised just how much your mind-set is important in this league.
Although on the other side of he ball, Smith has played with Schaub for years, both having come from the Houston Texans this past offseason. That means that Smith has spent his training camps rushing Schaub and watching him prepare for the season. He should have a good feel for what Schaub looks like when he is in a good place mentally and when he is not. It is still very early, but if Schaub can get himself on track, there could be big things for the Raiders in the future.