The Texans introduced Matt Schaub Thursday as thier new starting quarterback. Following are remarks from owner Bob McNair, general manager Rick Smith, head coach Gary Kubiak and Schaub.
**Texans owner Robert C. McNair
(opening statement)** "Thank you for coming out today. This is another exciting moment in the history of the Texans and we're delighted that you are here to enjoy this with us. First thing I would like to do is express our appreciation to all our fans. Last year we sold over 61,000 season tickets, a new record for the Texans. I just think that it is marvelous that we have that level of that support and I want our fans to know how much we appreciate their support and their interest in the Texans. We have a lot to look forward to. We wound the year last year with the two wins, including a resounding victory over the Colts and we're very excited about continuing that trend as we go into this year."
"We said all along that winning is all about getting better every day and that is what we're trying to do. I've committed to it. We have spent whatever needed to be spent and we have the resources, we have the people and we're going to make it happen. I'm delighted with the progress that we have made so far and this is going to be an enjoyable year for the Texans and the Texans fans. One of the things that has transpired here recently before us is the free agency process. (Head coach) Gary (Kubiak) and (general manager) Rick (Smith) have studied the situation and tried to see what we can do to improve ourselves at every position. They have worked together in a great fashion and I'm very proud of what they've done. Rick has done an outstanding job in bringing together a group of free agents for us that combined veteran leadership, great chemistry for our locker room and some great talent. We have filled many of the spots that needed strengthening and today we're going to be strengthening ourselves even more with Matt. I'm especially appreciative of the job that Gary and Rick have done.
Gary has had the opportunity to pick up a couple of coaches and strengthen our coaching staff and that shows you his commitment to improving in everything that we do. And Rick has really scoured the field to get some outstanding free agent players here. I congratulate them and I know we're going to have the kind of success that we've all been waiting for and I'm excited for this year. And at this time, this is an exciting moment for you to meet Matt and I'm going to ask Rick Smith, our general manager, to introduce him."
**Texans general manager Rick Smith
(opening statement)** "It is absolutely an exciting time for us. We signed up for this and we made a commitment to Bob (McNair) and this city to bring a championship team here. We have worked to accomplish that goal and we will continue to work to accomplish that goal. Certainly, the free agent acquisitions that we have made thus far, we really feel positive about and very strongly about. About the type of players that we have added to our football team and to out locker room, as Bob indicated. Not only attributes that these guys bring to us on the field, but what they represent character wise and what they represent for our locker room and for our organization and what they'll add to this city. We're excited about that and not more excited than any other one than this guy sitting next to me."
"This player is what an NFL quarterback should be; a leader, strong, smart, accurate passer and we're excited about having him. As we looked at the free agent market and then the draft to try to assess how we can get better at the position, we entertained a lot of ideas and a lot of thoughts, but at the end of the day the acquisition that we're making today is just the perfect one for us. Without further ado, I'm going to introduce our newest Houston Texan, Mr. Matt Schaub."
Texans QB Matt Schaub
(opening statement) "First of all, I'd like to thank the McNair family for this tremendous opportunity to be a part of this first class organization and be a part of the city of
Houston. I would also like to thank Rick Smith and coach Kubiak for this tremendous opportunity to lead this football team, which I am very excited about. I had three tremendous years in
Atlanta and they gave me an opportunity to come in this league and be successful to get to this point. I'm excited for this opportunity to be a part of this franchise and this football team. I had the opportunity Tuesday morning to share a round of golf with coach Kubiak and we hit it off really well. I understand the offense a considerable amount and I've been able to run it now for six years so I'm excited to get in there and learn even more about football and about this system and about this team. A team who is up and coming and ready to break down the doors. A lot of talent on the defensive side of the football, last year they were tremendous and offensively there are weapons all over the field. Had the opportunity to meet a number of the guys here in the last couple of hours and I'm definitely looking forward to getting with them and working with Sage (Rosenfels) and Bradlee Van Pelt, the other quarterbacks, so we can learn from one another. I'm excited for that opportunity."
"I'm looking forward to getting into the community here in
Houston and put my face out there and providing help where it needs help and just being a part of the town. I know when we got done playing golf, coach Kubiak and I, we had a wager on the back nine and it was for twenty dollars. We were eating lunch afterwards and he gave me the twenty dollars and he said 'there better be an opportunity to get it back', so I got something here, here is his twenty dollars for him and he can have all the opportunities to get it back now. I'm excited to be here and looking forward to getting to work and working with my teammates to help win games and be another piece of the puzzle and fit in. I'm excited about it and thanks."
**Texans head coach Gary Kubiak
(on what drove the decision to trade for Schaub and his expectations for Schaub)** "Well really, after looking at all of our options as a football team and how do we get better, you start looking at quarterbacks in free agency, and there were a few options out there, but the one thing that was very important that was very important to (Texans GM) Rick (Smith) and I is that if we were going to make a decision in that area with our football team, we did not want it to be a quick fix type of decision. We wanted a long-term commitment from a young player that was ready to go into his prime, and that's what this young man is. He's been well-coached for three years, he's a very smart young man and he understands our system. I look at the draft that he came out of, if you look at (New York Giants QB) Eli (Manning), Philip Rivers in San Diego, (Buffalo QB) JP Losman, I think this guy's ready for his opportunity to run a football team and I think we're catching him at the perfect time. He's been through three years of the growing process that all people talk about in this league and he's ready to go. We could walk across that field today and he could take us out of the huddle. He understands what we're doing. So all of those things adding up and the quality young man that he is and how important the game of football is to him, all of those things added up to us getting better and moving in that direction."
(on the transition into
Houston's offensive system and what he liked about the Texans)** "Well, like I said earlier, when I met coach Kubiak and played golf with him and just getting to talk with him. We spent about five hours together and he's just an awesome individual; a great head coach; very determined and driven. One thing he told me was he's going to do what it takes to be successful with this football team and that as an offensive team especially, we're going to be successful and as a football team, we're going to win games. That's the most important thing: at the end of the day, it's about winning games. That sold me right there. It's just an incredible opportunity for me to take the next step in my career, to lead a team and to run the huddle, and I'm excited about it."
(on the negotiations with Atlanta GM Rich McKay and the status of Texans QB David Carr)** "I'll address the latter question first. First of all, I think everybody up here and everybody in this organization appreciates the contributions that David Carr made to this franchise and to this city. We are working with his representatives and with David to find a place for David to continue his NFL career. Matt is our starting quarterback and we're trying to help David find another place. We're trying to trade him in the next couple of days. We feel good about the prospects; David is obviously a talented football player and has value, and I think that value is recognized over the league. So I don't think we'll have a problem with that and I think he will be excited about a new opportunity, and we're hopeful that he will continue have an NFL career and be successful.
"As it relates to the deal, Rich and I talked about various levels of compensation and what we felt like it would take on either side to get a deal done, and that's just a typical negotiation from that standpoint. We'd gone back and forth over the last couple of weeks until we finally settled in on what we felt like, as an organization, what we felt good about giving up for a guy like this. I know there are a lot of opinions about what that value is, and I think if you assess and you think that you've got an opportunity to go and get a starting quarterback and a guy that you can build your franchise around and a guy who makes the people around him better—and that's what this guy is—I think everybody is going to be very, very pleased. There's a little bit of the unknown out there because he hasn't had his opportunity in this league, but when you go back and you research and you assess what he's done as a collegian and what he's done even as a backup quarterback, how people around him feel, I think once he has his opportunity you will see the type of player that he can be. So we felt good about the compensation that Rich and I decided on and so we moved forward."
(on his strengths as a player)** "I'm just a smart quarterback who can be accurate with the football and give my receiver or pass catcher an opportunity to do something with it after the catch, and being able to lead the team—not just the offense, but defense and special teams—the quarterback is the leader of the entire group. Also, you have to make sure that, as a team, you have one goal, one mindset and one heartbeat, and that starts from the top on down. Just being able to produce first downs, touchdowns, and move the ball down the field and manage the game I think are my strengths, and I'm excited about the opportunity to demonstrate them."
(on the challenge of being the starting quarterback) "I'm going to meet it head-on, but I'm not going to do it alone. I'm going to have a lot of help and a lot of people around me to help take that challenge on. There's going to be a lot more things as a starter that you have to do and handle on a day-to-day basis versus being the backup, but it doesn't matter. Going in there and knowing that going in and meeting it head on, whether it be the media or watching film or meeting with the coaches, all of that. You just have to be prepared going in that that's what it's going to be."
(on if it was a mistake to extend David Carr's contract in 2006) "Well, if you wanted to review the mistakes I've made in my life, you wouldn't have enough time, so I won't go into that. I'm going forward. This is about the future. Yes, we've made mistakes—not just there, that's not the only place—and we'll make mistakes going forward. The key is you've got to make more good decisions than bad decisions. Fortunately, I've been able to do that in my life and done very well, and I expect to do it in the future. So this is the future that we're talking about, and this young man provides the leadership that we think is needed, and the fact that there were some financial considerations here and it did cost us some money, that didn't stop us from making that decision. I've said that we'll do whatever we need to do to win, and we're not going to let money stand in the way. That's what we did."
(on his intangible qualities as a quarterback) "One of the most important areas of playing this position is being a leader, not only on the field but in the locker room, in the weight room, off the field, outside the facility, in the community. Those are all the intangibles that are out there that a quarterback has to do and is part of the responsibility, so I think those are some ones that I can bring to the table and demonstrate on a day-to-day basis."
(on building a relationship with Spanish-speaking fans) "Being down here in
Texas where there's a large Hispanic community, I feel that they love their football, too, and I'm excited. I grew up learning Spanish as my second language in high school and in college, so although I'm a little rusty on it and I'll probably need a little brush-up course, I could probably communicate a little bit and reach out to that community as well."
(on what he liked about the Texans) "When I played golf the other day with coach Kubiak, he told me that that was his main focus around here; that he was going to protect the quarterback at all costs. He's going to that it's done. Seeing the roster and the linemen and meeting them, there's a great group of offensive linemen around here, especially with the running backs being able to pick up the blitz. (Texans RB) Ahman Green is on the team now and I spoke with him a few days ago and he told me that his favorite thing to do as a running back was to pick up the blitz, and I grinned from ear to ear. So when coach told me that that's his focus and he's going to get that done, he looked me in the eye and I believed him. That was the last bit of thought that I put into that."
(on the importance of the Texans signing RB Ahman Green) "I'd say it played into it a little bit. I know Ahman personally and I've watched him for the last 10 years during his career, and he's a tremendous running back. He's going to pick up yards and he can catch the ball, and as he said, he loves to block, so he can do it all. It's exciting to have a guy like that behind you that's going to have your back. That definitely enhanced my outlook as far as choosing this team and me wanting to be a Texan."