Schaub in need of repair

January 2, 2008 1:11:33 PM PST
There have been many ups and downs in Matt Schaub's first year as a full-time starter, the latest setback being a dislocated shoulder that has kept him out of the last three games and will likely make him miss Sunday's season finale. However, the Houston Texans believe they've found their quarterback of the future and are encouraged by his development this year. Schaub was Michael Vick's backup for three seasons in Atlanta before he was traded to the Texans.

"I think he's done a lot of good things," coach Gary Kubiak said. "He's made a lot of progress every time he went out on the field."

Schaub said Wednesday that his injured left shoulder will need to be surgically repaired in the offseason. The Texans put off the surgery until after the season in hopes he would be able to play again this year.

He was injured on a sack early in Houston's loss to Tennessee Dec. 2. He missed another game recovering from a concussion earlier in the season and sat out significant time in two others after hard hits.

He practiced with the first team on Wednesday, but Kubiak said Sage Rosenfels will probably start in his place against Jacksonville.

"I said all along I'm hoping that he is able to play," Kubiak said. "At the same time, he's only going to play if I think he's 100 percent. We'll decide that."

The injury has Schaub frustrated. He would love to be able to play Sunday.

"As a competitor I definitely want to be on the field," he said. "I wanted to be with the guys the past three weeks but that wasn't the case. I've just got to get myself prepared to play and be ready if I need to go in there."

Though he may not be on the field when the Texans finish their season, Schaub has firmly established himself as the leader of this team.

"Just the kind of leadership he showed from the time he set foot in the building was unbelievable and it was a big difference than what we had in the past here," said tight end Owen Daniels. "When he was healthy he was doing a good job so hopefully we can keep him out of the training room next year."

Schaub started 11 games this season and threw for 2,241 yards with nine touchdowns and nine interceptions. He won his first two games as the starter before injuries began to take their toll on the Texans and they lost five of their next six.

Andre Johnson was injured in Week 2 and missed seven games. It was in that span that running back Ahman Green began to miss time with knee swelling. He was placed on the injured reserve Dec. 7.

"I expected a lot from him," Kubiak said of Schaub. "Just from being with him early in training camp, I thought he would play well, which he did and he continued to play well with some injuries going on around him. We've just got to have him out there for 16 weeks and he's got to protect the ball better."

Schaub fumbled seven times this season, losing three.

After starting just two games in the previous three seasons, Schaub said getting accustomed to the grind of playing every week was one of the toughest adjustments in Houston. Watching Vick in Atlanta prepared him for most of the other issues he's had this year.

"I've grown a lot, dealing with everything you have to deal with," he said. "You've got to deal with the good and the bad, the ups and the downs and just keep plugging away, keep working on things and good things will happen. I've learned a lot to help me be ready for the next year."

While Kubiak is pleased with Schaub's growth this year, he is looking for much more from the 26-year-old next season. "He's got to become a great player fast. We can't wait three or four years," Kubiak said.

Notes: The Texans signed defensive tackle DelJuan Robinson to the active roster from the practice squad on Wednesday. They also released running back Adimchinobi Echemandu and signed running back Arliss Beach to the practice squad.