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Schaub's shoulder getting stronger


Going into next season, the Texans have no doubt about who will be starting under center for the team. General manager Rick Smith made that very clear at the NFL Scouting Combine.

"Our starting quarterback is Matt Schaub," Smith said in his opening remarks to the media.

As a first-time starter last year, Schaub did his part to earn the role. The four-year pro recorded a franchise-record 87.2 quarterback rating and finished fifth in the NFL in completion percentage at 66.4 percent. He was just one-tenth of a percentage point behind legendary former Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre.

The only question mark surrounding Schaub was his health. The quarterback ended the season early on Dec. 2 against Tennessee when he separated his left shoulder on a sack by defensive end Antwan Odom in the first quarter.

Schaub's injury not only opened the door for backup quarterback Sage Rosenfels to prove himself as a starter, it allowed the media to fan the fires of a quarterback controversy. Backup Sage Rosenfels went 4-1 as a starter for the injured Schaub and ended the season with 1,684 passing yards and 15 touchdowns.

But there is no controversy at Reliant Stadium

"Sage did an outstanding job in the opportunities that he had last year," Smith said.

"It is very, very important to have a good backup that can go in the game, that your team feels comfortable with, that you don't feel like you miss a beat when he's in the game. And we certainly feel fortunate we've got a guy like Sage in that position for us."

With Schaub and Rosenfels, the Texans could have the best quarterback stable in the league.

And Schaub wants to keep it that way. He has been rehabbing his shoulder since undergoing surgery in early January and plans to come back stronger than ever in 2008.

"The range of motion is fully back and now we are just working on strengthening, getting strong again," Schaub said. "But it feels great."

{QUOTE}Schaub began more rigorous strength sessions this week to prepare for offseason workouts, which start on March 31.

He will go through those workouts on a limited basis, but expects to be at full speed by the time training camp rolls around.

"We are looking forward to him rehabbing his shoulder so that he can get his base back to where he can start building his bulk," offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan said. "Then he can add to that for the season."

With a year of experience under his belt, Shanahan expects even more of Schaub next season.

"He proved to us he's a legitimate quarterback," Shanahan said. "We were impressed with what he did last year in offseason workouts, OTAs and training camp. This season, he needs to be healthy for 16 games."

Schaub is also excited about his options next season, especially with the re-signing of free agent wide receiver André Davis.

"It's a huge plus for us," Schaub said. "He brings a vertical threat to our passing game and obviously on special teams with his return ability. He is very valuable to our team and he proved that last season, stepping into a role that we needed him to be in."

However, the biggest offseason move for the quarterback was his wedding in mid-February.

"It was wonderful," Schaub said of his wedding. "It was the best day of my life. It was a beautiful wedding and I had a fun time on our honeymoon, but it's good to be back."

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