Austin | Dallas | Houston
Beyond the Boxscore

Alex Smith? Please! Tony Romo is the only real Schaub replacement option for Houston Texans

Enlarge
Slideshow
Matt Schaub Texans Titans
Matt Schaub will be 32 next season, but there is no reason he cannot get even better. Photo by Michelle Watson/CatchlightGroup.com
Dallas Cowboys vs. Chicago Bears
At least daydream of Tony Romo if you must fixate on false hopes. Dallas Cowboys/Facebook
Alex Smith pass rush Texans
Alex Smith is not the answer for any Super Bowl-seeking team. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CultureMapSNAP.com
Matt Schaub Texans Titans
Dallas Cowboys vs. Chicago Bears
Alex Smith pass rush Texans
Joe Flacco
News_Chris Baldwin_managing editor_arms crossed

Matt Schaub would have shredded the Patriots defense for nearly 400 yards and at least three touchdowns if his receivers held onto several catchable balls on a balmy New England day. As is, he threw for 343 yards.

Yet sports talk radio and message boards — those modern-day neighborhood squares (if almost everyone in your neighborhood square was "underemployed") — have been abuzz with righteous furor over the Houston Texans quarterback problem for a week now heading into the NFL's conference title games Sunday.

A lot of people have decided that the Texans need a new quarterback to go to the Super Bowl — and that Alex Smith is the answer.

 You still won't win any big ones with Romo. But you'd flame out much more spectacularly in the playoffs, in unimaginable ways.

Which is a lot like deciding your 2009 Porsche isn't cornering quite as well as it used to — so you go out and buy a Chevy Astro mini van.

For a good chunk of the season, Matt Schaub played like one of the top five quarterbacks in football. He's clearly in the top 10; even renowned quarterback guru Ron Jaworski vouches for that.

Alex Smith, on the other hand, got benched because his coach — one who had a defense to lean on, mind you — decided he couldn't win with him. If you're going to call for the replacement of Schaub, at least be a little creative and urge Rick Smith to try and convince Jerry Jones he's really had enough of Tony Romo after all.

Romo's set to get a big contract extension this offseason — and the Cowboys say they want to do it — but maybe, just maybe, Jones really dreams of others.

You still won't win any big ones with Romo. But you'd flame out much more spectacularly in the playoffs, in unimaginable ways sure to attract national attention. And CultureMap society guru Shelby Hodge would have a field day with Romo's run through town.

But Alex Smith? The guy had one good playoff game against a disinterested New Orleans defense, which found itself without a bounty to seek. Throwing Smith the keys to a Super Bowl-scheming team would be akin to putting the guy who once navigated you out of a near fight at a frat party in college in charge of your kids.

The new Joe Flacco?
The real solution of course — the unpopular one, the one that is certain to happen — is bringing back Schaub and letting him get better. Two playoff starts into his career, it's absurd to suggest Schaub has reached his peak. Even if he will be 32 next season.

 Like it or not, this is the Texans path — a steady, relentless march rather than dramatic castle storms. 

"I thought Matt played well," left tackle Duane Brown says. "He kept battling. He never let anything get to him, and he tried to lead us back."

That's what teammates are supposed to say. Though J.J. Watt does impassioned teammate defender at a whole other level — much like he plays.

A better reason to stick with Schaub is recent history. Just look at Joe Flacco, just look at how often Flacco and the Baltimore Ravens banged at the door year after year after year in the playoffs.

Only to be be kept getting turned away.

Now, they're back in the AFC Championship Game for the second straight year, knowing they should have won this game last year. With Flacco arguably playing the best of any quarterback in the playoffs.

Smith admires Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome, and it's hard to see the Texans GM not taking some lessons from Baltimore's steadfast resolve.

You really don't think Matt Schaub can become the next Joe Flacco?

Sure, Flacco is younger (28) and stronger armed than Schaub. But the Texans quarterback, who started his career as a backup, is not as far along in chances as Flacco in many ways.

Schaub stood in there and made all the throws against the Patriots in his second playoff start. When Texans coach Gary Kubiak gives him a chance to be aggressive, he's pretty darn good.

He could definitely use some more weapon. A second receiver who is actually a threat is essential.

But pay close attention to the AFC Championship Game, as hard as it may be. If Flacco and the Ravens burst through, you can bet that Smith will be nodding his head, maybe even smiling a bit.

Like it or not, this is the Texans path — a steady, relentless march rather than dramatic castle storms.

That doesn't move you?

Well, you can always think of Romo. At least make your daydream worthwhile.

Newsletters for exploring your city

Daily Digest

Dallas news, views + events

The Dining Report

News you can eat

Insider Offers

Curated experiences at exclusive prices

Promo Alerts

Special offers + exclusive deals

We will not share or sell your email address