From the time the Texans were born as an NFL franchise, up until this season, the team has had their starting quarterback in place at the outset of literally every training camp. From 2002 to 2006, it was David Carr. From 2007 to 2013, it was Matt Schaub. Last season, it was Ryan Fitzpatrick.
This season is the first in the team's history where there's been actual competition at that spot, and we get to watch it play out before our very eyes, at training camp and on television, thanks to HBO and Hard Knocks. The short list of predecessors in the category of "Texans incumbent starting QB's" makes it pretty easy, however, to take a spin around the league and do a quick "Where Are They Now?" I realize that there are way more of you trying to forget Carr, Schaub, and Fitzpatrick than there are those of you fondly remembering their baffling ineptitude, but the fact is two of those three guys are still relevant right now.
Not you, Carr. You can get back to trying on new gloves or putting product in your hair, whatever it is you do these days. Have a nice retirement. I'm actually talking more about Schaub and Fitzpatrick. Let's start with the latter who, thanks to one of the most bizarre NFL stories in recent memory, now finds himself a starter in the league once again.
Yesterday afternoon, around lunchtime, news began matriculating that Jets incumbent starting QB Geno Smith had been sucker punched by a teammate and would be out 6-10 weeks with a broken jaw. As more details came out, we learned that the teammate was linebacker IK Enemkpali (who was released within minutes of the punch) and the beef was over $600 Smith owed him for an airline ticket to Enemkpali's football camp in Texas, a camp Smith no showed reportedly because of a family issue.
It's hard to decide what the most "Jet" part of the whole story is, but the fact that this laugh track of a franchise now has Fitzpatrick as their starting quarterback because of all this is certainly on the short list. So as we embark on the next phase of the Fitzy Life, just know that the Harvard product (we are contractually obligated to mention Fitz was an Ivy Leaguer) has somehow managed to flip a decade of ineptitude into another starting gig in the league (seven straight seasons with at least eight starts!) despite having a losing record as a starter with five different teams.
Now, we head to Baltimore where, barring a back up linebacker breaking Joe Flacco's jaw over a poker debt or something, Matt Schaub should be stapled to the bench as the backup QB for a good, long while. And for Ravens fans, that would most certainly be best, since it would appear that Schaub's interception issues that began plaguing him at the end of 2012 are still afflicting him to this day. Matt Schaub just can't stop throwing interceptions! HE IS ADDICTED!!
It's gotten so bad in camp that teammates (specifically Terrell Suggs) have begun to openly mock him in practice, reminding him what jersey colors the offense is wearing that day, since he can't seem to deliver the ball to any of them. For his part, Matt Schaub clearly has the sense of urgency of someone who was gifted $26 million a few years ago in an unwarranted extension by the Texans:
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"I thought I've had a good camp," Schaub said. "I've felt things have gone relatively well. Obviously, it's a time you want to test things, you want to test yourself, test your offense [and] test the other guys in the huddle and see what they can do and see who's going to be there to make the plays. So, it's just one of those things that we're going against a good defense day-in and day-out — and it's really challenging us."
There are times when fans and we media types make our football assessments, and we are completely off base, and NFL coaches and personnel folks roll their eyes and tell us that we "just don't understand the game" on their level. Unfortunately, they completely undermine any validity to their arrogance the second that they pay Matt Schaub one more thin dime in guaranteed money to play in the NFL. He can't play anymore. A docile llama with two broken legs and a stomach virus would be a better option at quarterback than Schaub right now (and a billion times more entertaining).
So see, Texan fans? A Hoyer-Mallett competition isn't THAT bad! You could have Fitzy as your starter or be one Joe Flacco heartbeat away from Schaub INT, LLC as your starter! SMILE!!!
Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanTPendergast.