The Texans had seen enough. They were ready to leave Matt Schaub in a pile of Josh Freemans, Mark Sanchezes and Rex Grossmans.
It was understandable. From Schaub's first throw of the 2013 season (an interception) to his last (an interception), he was a failure. There were solemn press conferences and jersey burnings. He had just 10 touchdowns against 14 INTs and a 73 QB rating. The Texans lost six of his eight starts.
The Raiders, with a different perspective on quarterback play, welcomed Schaub. They saw a player who is ready to resurrect a career, if not a whole franchise. In their highest of hopes, he could be a new era Jim Plunkett or Rich Gannon.
Up until now, they have been very pleased they acquired Schaub for a sixth-round draft pick. Head coach Dennis Allen has classified Schaub's offseason as "outstanding." Team leader Charles Woodson told Sirius XM radio that every player on the team is counting on Schaub to be the man.
Schaub will have a chance to prove he can play that role starting this week in Napa. The Raiders are treating 2013 as if it were an unpleasant dream for Schaub. Ignore it, and it really didn't happen. "We don't bring up last season a lot," offensive coordinator Greg Olson said.
The Raiders do, however, bring up the seasons between 2008 and 2012. That's when Schaub had five straight passer ratings above 90. It is possible Schaub is like a perennial that didn't blossom one year because of poor soil conditions, inadequate water or not enough sunlight. Whatever the issue, the Raiders think it can be rectified.
Schaub never has been a quarterback who wins games because of high voltage throws. The question "how did he do that?" has not been asked in reference to him very often. He has produced mostly because of his understanding of the game and his rational decisions. Schaub knows his limitations, and he knows how to compensate. "He's not a real athletic guy, so he has learned to stay in the pocket, feel pressure and deliver the ball on time," Olson said.
Theoretically, at least, the aging process might not diminish the 33-year old Schaub as much as it will diminish quarterbacks with more physical gifts. He should still have the physical capabilities to get back to a productive level of play if the Raiders are able to set him up for success. When he was humming, so were Andre Johnson and Arian Foster. Now, players such as James Jones, Rod Streater, Juron Criner and Maurice Jones-Drew will need to step up. And the Raiders scheme will have to be tailored to Schaub.
"He was part of a very productive offense over the years, so there are things I will try to take from Gary Kubiak and Greg Knapp and those guys when they were doing very well," Olson said. "They had a real good play action game. I thought they had a great movement game. So there are things we'll try to do that he's familiar with in terms of concepts."
In Oakland, coaches are encouraging Schaub to take control. Olson said Schaub's experience warrants giving him more autonomy at the line of scrimmage, so the Raiders could have an added dimension to their offense this season.
But it'll only work if Schaub's negative experience last year doesn't spill over in Oakland. This is a player who was booed in his home stadium when he came into games, and cheered when he limped out of a game with an ankle injury.
The doubts of others have a funny way of becoming self-doubts for quarterbacks. And a quarterback who doesn't have conviction in his ability has no chance to lead others. "It's hard to say what happened, but it probably was the first time in his career he hit a place where he was getting booed, having to take the blame," Olson said. "I think it was a little lost confidence -- not just him losing confidence but the organization losing confidence in him."
The way Schaub has been embraced by the Raiders could be therapeutic. "Players on the team are excited to have a veteran quarterback and a guy who has some winning seasons under his belt," Olson said. "It's all new for him. He hasn't shown any effects from last season in terms of the mental part of the game."
If Schaub should revert to 2013 form, the Raiders have a hedge on their bet. His name is Derek Carr, and he was chosen with the 36th pick of the April draft. If all goes according to plan, Schaub's job is going to be Carr's job one day. Olson said the plan is for Carr to get almost all of the second team reps in camp, at the expense of other backup quarterbacks.
While praising Schaub for his offseason performance, Olson said the team is open to Carr starting if Schaub plays like he did a year ago. "We think Derek is going to be a very good player down the road," Olson said. "But the game is not too big for him and he can play right away. So it's important he gets a lot of reps here in training camp... If Matt reverts to last year for some reason, or he doesn't have that confidence back, that's part of the reason we drafted Carr."
All of which should make the Raiders a very interesting team over the next month.