At first there was faint hope for Matt Schaub’s season, although realistically the level of hope surrounding Schaub in Houston resided somewhere around Matt Cassel’s odds of appearing under center again this year in Kansas City.
Now he’s officially done, leaving the offensive fate of the Texans in the hands of Matt Leinart, the former USC stud who’s started one game since 2008, and has only 17 starts overall in his six-year career. The Texans will place Schaub on the injured reserve due to his foot injury that will require surgery, and sign former Jets backup Kellen Clemons, according the NFL Network’s Jason La Canfora.
That leaves a division-leading team with a stereotypical backup quarterback–an arm only trusted as an emergency fill-in, but never as a starter–and then the great unknown in Leinart. We know that Leinart was wildly unsuccessful in Arizona, and we know that he was easily out-played by Kurt Warner, a quarterback who was far his senior.
But what we don’t know about Leinart is the same thing we don’t know about Caleb Hanie. Is he capable of being a caretaker and a game manager, making the odd timely throw to Andre Johnson and then getting the hell out of the way while Ben Tate and Arian Foster do the heavy lifting?
Leinart failed in Arizona largely because he couldn’t develop any consistency in an offense that relied heavily on his arm and centered on an aerial attack. Houston is certainly capable of going vertical with Johnson, but Tate and Foster give the Texans’ offense the versatility to shift its focus to accommodate Leinart.
The signing of Clemens likely eliminates the possibility of Houston claiming Kyle Orton. We’ll know who won the Orton waiver sweepstakes around 4 p.m. ET, and reports earlier this morning indicated that the Bears will be trying to claim their former starter.