Matt Schaub’s Limitations Becoming Painfully Obvious in Oakland
By Vic Lopez
Aug 15, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Matt Schaub (8) prepares to throw a pass before the start of the game against the Detroit Lions at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
Arm Strength doesn’t matter right? Or so we have been told.
At 37 Peyton Manning has a noodle for an arm, yet nearly destroyed the record books last year in passing. Manning uses his intelligence, experience, and uncanny ability to read defenses and rip them apart despite his limited physical ability.
Arm strength is viewed as a luxury in the NFL rather than a requirement, and can be overcome by a select few. Raiders fans should be all too familiar with those Cannon Armed QB’s who have failed miserably while leading the Silver and Black. Jeff George, Kerry Collins, JaMarcus Russell….
Enter Matt Schaub, who in two pre season games has shown little to inspire confidence after a disastrous 2013. Schaub has shown no signs of being the upgrade the Raiders were looking for when trading for the 33-year-old in the offseason.
An upgrade that should have been easy, when comparing Schaub a former Pro Bowl player, with the likes of Terrelle Pryor, Matt Flynn, and Matt McGloin.
But what the Raiders have seen so far from Schaub, is almost the identical thing they saw from presumed starter Matt Flynn last year. A dink and dunk passer, who can not threaten a defense downfield or sustain drives converting third downs. The most disturbing thing is Matt Schaub has way more talent around him than Matt Flynn ever had in Oakland.
With certain players you have to sit and watch a lot of film to see limitations and skills that can be improved upon. With Matt Schaub it is painfully obvious how limited he is at this stage in his career.
Before I critique, lets take a look back at the good ol’day’s
If you bothered watching the highlight film above, you’ll notice all the bombs Schaub was throwing. Deep throws down the field, especially off of play action. Big plays that are necessary to keep a defense honest, and makes a defense pay when cheating up to help against the run.
In 2014 the Raiders are hoping to replicate this, which can be hard to do if 2013 Schaub is here to stay.
According to Pro Football Focus Schaub’s yards per attempted pass has been on steady decline since its height in 2011.
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Yards per attempted pass is an intriguing stat and can show how a quarterback attacks a defense.
For comparison sakes the other AFC West quartebacks Manning (8.1) and Rivers (8.2) averaged much higher yards per attempt than Schaub in 2013. While the run oriented Chiefs and Mr. Checkdown Alex Smith (6.7) were only percentage points higher than Schaub. Of course Smith is a much more mobile QB than Schaub, and has one of the best backs in the league in Jamal Charles.
Maybe the Raiders are hoping to replicate the Chiefs, playing a low-risk passing style of offense with heavy emphasis on the run. Looks possible on paper, but the run game and defense would have to be drastically improved.
Two things that can help a QB with limited arm strength is a quick release and great accuracy. Two things that Matt Schaub has struggled with in recent years.
In the Detroit Lions game on Friday, I kept waiting to see Schaub test the Lions deep downfield….Never happened. Blame the OLine, blame the playcalling, but Schaub never even appeared to look down field. Everything was sideline to sideline and dump offs.
"He (Schaub) didn’t attempt a single pass that was in the air beyond 8 yards, and only completed half his passes that were in the air beyond 3. Nathan Jahnke, Pro Football Focus"
One pass that stood out to me was not the interception he threw that bounced off of James Jones, but rather the almost interception by Rashean Mathis.
In what should have been a pick 6, Mathis an experienced corner, never takes his eyes off of Schaub, sees the QB coming back his way with the ball and is able to break on the ball immediately. Schaub’s long wide up delivery didn’t help, and nearly cost him his first pick 6 as a Raider.
This will become a blueprint for DB’s playing against the Raiders and Matt Schaub who seems incapable of attacking the defense downfield.
With no deep threat, the Raiders will find themselves in an uphill battle every week. Defenses with key in on the run game, and jump on short routes and screens. That is too easy for NFL defenses and will leave the Raiders offense very limited. Schaub has to find his deep ball if he ever plans on being a successful QB in the NFL again. Schaub does not have the luxury of a quick release or even talented receivers such as Andre Johnson to bail him out.
I was an avid supporter of Schaub this offseason and thought he could be an effective starter for the Raiders. I choose to ignore a lot of the critics out there who said Matt Schaub would never be the same, and was now a broken quarterback. I expected and hoped for a resurgent Schaub, a player similar to the highlights above. Unfortunately watching the Raiders offense with Schaub at QB, is like watching a fighter with one arm tied behind his back. For Schaub it is his throwing arm….
Am I being too rough on Matt Schaub? Is this critique way too early?
Of course it is!!!…..But ask yourself how much longer are you willing to wait?