Schaub Would Be Upgrade for Texans

Houston Texans coach Gary Kubiak tells reporters in Green Bay that he is optimistic he'll have his fifth-year pro available to start at quarterback on Sunday against Green Bay. Before sustaining a knee injury against Minnesota, he had led the Texans to 29.8 points per game in his last four starts.

Houston Texans coach Gary Kubiak is optimistic is hoped-for franchise quarterback, Matt Schaub, will be back in the starting lineup on Sunday at Green Bay.

"I think so," Kubiak said in a conference call with reporters at Lambeau Field on Wednesday morning. "I don't want to get too far ahead myself here. We'll go back to work today, assuming that he'll start this week, but at the same time, I need to watch him throughout the week. I thought I saw enough progress last week that I felt comfortable playing him, and I'm hoping I see even more progress this week."

Schaub tore the medial collateral ligament in his right knee during the Texans' loss at Minnesota on Nov. 2, when he was hit low twice by the Vikings' Jared Allen. (Allen was fined $50,000 for the offenses.) Sage Rosenfels finished that game, then went 2-2 in four subsequent starts, including back-to-back wins over Cleveland and Jacksonville.

Kubiak said Schaub and Rosenfels are "a lot alike" in that both are "big-armed guys" who are struggling with consistency. Schaub, a fifth-year pro out of Virginia who broke into the NFL as the backup to Michael Vick in Atlanta, would be making his 21st career start if he's deemed healthy for Sunday.

Schaub was a full participant at practice on Wednesday.

"I think Matt is one of the young quarterbacks that is definitely up and coming," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said on Wednesday. "He's done a very good job in that offense. It's an offense that has some similarities to our offense. I think he is accurate. He'll throw the tight throw. He plays with a lot of confidence. I know he has had some injuries, but there is a reason why he is their starter."

While he's 3-4 in seven starts this season, Schaub has been a difference-maker. After leading the Texans to a combined 29 points in his first two games, Houston scored 27, 29, 28 and 35 points in Schaub's next four starts before he and Rosenfels combined to tally 21 points against the Vikings. Schaub's passer rating of 91.0 ranks 10th among regular starters, and his completion percentage is a gaudy 67.8. His 10 touchdowns against eight interceptions is unimpressive, but he rebounded impressively after starting with one touchdown against five interceptions.

"I never listened or heard any of those things about being out for the year," Schaub told the Houston Chronicle. "That was all other people talking about that. I knew that I could come back, and I just said, ‘I'm going to try to make it back for the last month,' and I've been able to do that, so now it's just time to go play."

Kubiak, the former backup to John Elway in Denver who, like the Packers' Mike McCarthy, is part of the NFL's Class of 2006, said he's seen enough from Schaub to believe he's the real deal. The key, though, is for Schaub to stay healthy. He's played in 18 of a possible 28 games since being acquired from the Falcons before the 2007 draft.

"Oh, yeah, definitely," Kubiak said. "He's proven that when he's been healthy and been in there, he's been a very productive player in this league in every phase of what he does when you compare him to quarterbacks. The key for us is finding a way to keep him on the field and him finding a way to stay healthy. That is something you can learn to do within the scheme, knowing when to get rid of the ball, knowing when to take shots. Those are things you grow into. That's the key to his future and it's the key to our future, too."

Bill Huber is the Lead Analyst for Packer Report and PackerReport.com. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com.


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