As the Houston Texans arrive in training camp, there is a great sense of optimism as to where this team could go. When Coach Gary Kubiak was asked about his quarterback Matt Schaub taking the team to the Super Bowl he replied, “I think Matt’s a natural leader. People follow him. He’s been through the grind.”
“When he came in here, we weren’t a very good football team and Matt’s been a part of the building process. He’s been a constant, even though there have been times he’s missed some plays on the field. But when he’s been at the helm, this team’s played good. Our guys believe in him, I believe in him and that’s the most important thing.”
The Texans are coming off a somewhat productive year passing the ball, finishing 18th in the league, while their running game was top notch, ranked 2nd overall.
It’s probably a nice sight for Kubiak to see Schaub and wide receiver Andre Johnson back on the field together. Kubiak was asked about his star receiver coming together with Schaub in practice. “It was good,” he said. “Early in practice, I thought they both looked very sharp. You got to remember, Matt hadn’t been in the huddle in eight months. I was thinking about that today, so he’s got a lot of work to do at this camp.”
Kubiak went on to add, “Obviously, those guys are big pieces of our puzzle and with some of the young offensive movement we’ve got going on here, those guys have to remain constant and they need to have a great camp.”
“Matt feels very good,” Kubiak said, referring to Schaub’s recovery from his season ending injury last year. “He’s been working 100 percent. These last five weeks he’s worked extremely hard on his own and got guys together. Matt’s very confident that he’s healthy and ready to go play. I know as great as it was last year for the team, it was very disappointing for him from a personal standpoint that he wasn’t able to finish the deal. We’re all rooting for him to stay healthy.”
Schaub is on the same page with his coach, and was excited to be back on the field and healthy. “It was great to get back out,” Schaub said. “Everyone’s excited and energized to get back out for the first day. There’s a lot of excitement. Guys are flying around. It’s great to be back in the huddle.”
Most importantly, the foot injury that kept him out of the final six games is a thing of the past. “It feels great,” Schaub said. “I feel as good as I did before I had the injury.” So things are looking up for the Texan faithful.
Texans running back Arian Foster is optimistic as well about this season. “It’s good to get back out there. It’s real good just to get back in the flow of football,” Foster said.
All Pro wide receiver Andre Johnson believes that Schaub has what it takes to get them back to where they were last year, if not farther. “I feel like he has all the qualities that a good quarterback needs to have to get his team to that point,” Johnson said of Schaub. “He’s a great leader. He has the confidence of all of his teammates. We believe he’s the guy.”
Johnson also had advice for the incoming rookies. “After we finished practice and we all huddled up, I told them, ‘You just go in and watch the film, correct your mistakes and just keep trying to get better.’ That’s the only way you can look at it. You’re going to have a bunch of practices. It’s going to be a fight, it’s tough. Training camp stuff is not easy. It’s different for them, but at the same time, all you do is try to get better every time you come out here on the field. If you approach it that way and try to improve your game every time you come out here, you’ll be fine.”
Everyone on the team seems to be on the right page looking forward to their first preseason game against the Carolina Panthers.
By Alec Short