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Your Texans: Quarterbacks


It's the new era of quarterbacking in Texans football. The longtime face of the franchise, David Carr, is long gone and new faces abound.

But don't try to judge anything on Saturday's preseason game against the Chicago Bears.

Matt Schaub hardly got started.

Schaub played only 12 plays, backup Sage Rosenfels looked in mid-season form and No. 3 Bradlee Van Pelt had an off-night. But little can be deemed from a first preseason game.

All Schaub did was get frustrated by his brief performance. The import from Atlanta hit his first pass as a Texan – a two-yarder to tight end Owen Daniels – and finished 3-for-5 passes for 25 yards, including a long of 15 to Andre Johnson. What he most remembered was the miss to a wide-open Kevin Walter in the end zone.

"It's hard not to get frustrated," Schaub said, "Because you know the plays are there and we make them all the time in practice and in the past, so we just have to make sure that we do when the lights are on.

"We will have to go out and make those plays because that's the difference between winning and losing."

Coach Gary Kubiak also was frustrated by that missed scoring opportunity, but generally was pleased with Schaub's short outing.

"I thought he did some good things," Kubiak said of Schaub. "He had a chance for a lay-up touchdown there at the end and he misses Kevin in the corner of the end zone. He made a great play on the first third down that Kevin has to hang on to it and make that play.

"That's what he is. He's got a great field presence out there. He knows what's going on and he's going to make good decisions for our team. I thought that what little time I gave him, I think he only played 11 or 12 plays, he did a real good job. I wish he would have hit Kevin in the end zone and walked off the field with a touchdown."

The No. 2 job though is still in good hands with Rosenfels hitting 16-of-26 for 138 yards and a touchdown. The completions and attempts were both the most in Texans preseason history and the touchdown gave him a score in four consecutive preseason games dating back to Aug. 19 of last year at St. Louis.

"It was good to get back in there," Rosenfels said. "You know, there's some rust definitely that I need to knock off. I think what preseason games do is give you motivation for practice. It does get old out there practicing, but you play a game and you see things you need to work on and you see things you're doing well.

"So, I thought we did some good things on offense and there are some things we need to improve on."

Schaub, of course, is still the man and his teammates' respect for him grows every day.

"I think he brings confidence," lineman Steve McKinney said. "That's one thing that I think is important for the quarterback. You have to step in that huddle with confidence. That makes the guys around you believe in you.

"When guys believe in you, they follow you. I think that that's kind of the tone that's being set right now. It's just going to continue to get better and better…We have a lot of work to do to get better. I definitely like where we are heading and we are on the right track."

Johnson agrees.

"It's a new start," Johnson said. "You have a new guy as your leader, a new guy at the quarterback position. And then you also have a lot of new faces here.

"You get new guys and new teammates in, and anytime you can start with a new season, it's a fresh start. Everyone's 0-0 now and we're going to go out and try to win as many games as we can."

New acquisition Keenan McCardell likes working with Schaub as well.

"I think Matt is going to be great," McCardell said. "But as receivers, we have to get open to make it easy for him. I think that's the mindset I would like to put in that room. Make it easy for him, and getting open all the time is how you make it easy for him."

Kubiak knows Schaub is gaining the team's confidence.

"You earn that over a period of time," Kubiak said. "He started earning that back in March when he got here. He comes out here everyday and does his job and works with his teammates.

"One thing I really like about him is that he's a very human kid. He makes mistakes. He'll sit there and take a mistake right in the chops, say 'Hey, that's me guys, let's get this fixed.' I just like the way he operates in there, and his teammates are learning to trust him and they definitely believe in him. Just watch them operate around him.

"He's a very composed young man. He's got a lot on his plate right now. It's the first time he's ever stepped into a huddle and started two-a-days as a starter of a franchise. That's a lot on your plate. Now we're just settling down and keep working and getting better around him, but I think he's been fine."

Van Pelt was with Kubiak in Denver and knows the system. But Saturday he was 1-for-7 and his fumble set the Bears up for a fourth quarter touchdown.

"He struggled," Kubiak said Sunday of Van Pelt. "I have known Brad a long time. He knew how important that 18 minutes was for him. I don't know if he pressed a little bit or whatever, but I know it was a difficult night for him.

"It wasn't a lack of effort or anything. When you are out there playing and all of a sudden something bad happens to you early, sometimes it's hard to get out of your system, and he struggled with that a little bit. He is a great kid. He will be out here (Monday) and he will work his tail off. I know he's disappointed with what happened last night."

Rookie free agent Jared Zabransky, from the rousing Boise State program, didn't get in the game, but he isn't giving up.

"I am willing to do whatever it takes to make the team," Zabransky says. "I think once we get into a real situation, real scenario, I'll be able to make some plays that possibly other guys might not be able to make.

"There's a lot of teams. I'm just going to go out here and work as hard as I can to make this team, and if it so happens that I don't, someone else might be there to pick me up. You just have to play well when you have an opportunity and create some film. My goal is definitely to make this team."

And Zabransky doesn't feel overlooked.

"They definitely coach me," he says. "They watch all the reps and have coaches' tips after practice. I have to put those to good use. They are giving everybody a pretty good look right now."

EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Carley is a veteran Houston sportswriter who has covered the NFL for more than 25 years. He has worked for such newspapers as the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, The Houston Post, the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner and the National Sports Daily covering such teams as the Dallas Cowboys, the Houston Oilers, the Los Angeles Rams and the Oakland Raiders.

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