Ex-Falcons QB Matt Schaub easing into retirement

081520 Flowery Branch: Atlanta Falcons backup quarterback Matt Schaub completes a pass during training camp on Saturday, August 15, 2020 in Flowery Branch.    Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com
081520 Flowery Branch: Atlanta Falcons backup quarterback Matt Schaub completes a pass during training camp on Saturday, August 15, 2020 in Flowery Branch. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

Credit: Curtis Compton

Credit: Curtis Compton

Thus far, the early days of NFL retirement have gone smoothly. Former Falcons quarterback Matt Schaub has been taking the kids to school and picking them up.

“Doing Daddy duties and working on the ‘honey-do list,’” Schaub told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Tuesday.

The fact that he’s retired likely won’t hit him until the spring and definitely in the summer when teams start gathering again.

After he was selected by the Falcons in the third round (90th overall) of the 2004 NFL draft out of Virginia, Schaub, a two-time Pro Bowl selection, went on to have fine career as starter and backup.

“I’ve reflected a little,” Schaub said. “It’s still so new, and the season just ended. I don’t know if it’s quite hit me.”

Schaub started his career as Michael Vick’s backup from 2004-06. He played in 38 games before he was traded to the Houston Texans, where he became the starter.

“It was special,” Schaub said. “Gary Kubiak, Bob McNair and Rick Smith pulled the trigger to make a trade for me, to bring me into Houston to a young organization. They had just gone through the first five years without a winning season.”

Schaub went on to have success with the Texans. He led the league in completions (386), attempts (583), yards passing (4,770) and yards passing per game (298.1) in 2009. He guided them to the playoffs in 2011 and 2012, with records of 10-6 and 12-4 respectively.

The Texans were in the hunt for AFC South division titles, the playoffs and were first relevant in the NFL with Schaub at the controls after starting play as an expansion team in 2002.

“I took a lot of pride in going in there and trying to be do my best, to be a solution to what had been going on,” Schaub said. “It took us a couple of years, but we won a couple division championships. We won a couple of playoff games.

“We fell short of the goal of being the last team standing, but we put the Houston Texans organization on the map for everyone to recognize that we were doing some good things. Having a coach like Gary Kubiak, a guy who played quarterback in the league, we gelled really well. We did a lot of good things. Had a lot of good teammates. It was really cool to be a part of that, that team and that organization during those years.”

After spending 2014 with Oakland and 2015 with the Ravens, Schaub returned to the Falcons in 2016 to back up Matt Ryan. He was on the Falcons team that went to Super Bowl LI. He played in four games that season and attempted three passes.

On Jan. 4, the day after the Falcons finished 4-12, owner Arthur Blank announced that Schaub was retiring.

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan and backup Matt Schaub get in some work during organized team activity on Wednesday, May 30, 2018, in Flowery Branch. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)
Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan and backup Matt Schaub get in some work during organized team activity on Wednesday, May 30, 2018, in Flowery Branch. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

Credit: ccompton@ajc.com

Credit: ccompton@ajc.com

“I just think that reflecting is something that you get in your later years, it’s constantly in your head and you think back to things when you first were coming in,” Schaub said. “I just think that’s going to be a process that I work through mentally here over the next few months.”

Schaub, who’s 6-foot-6 and 245 pounds, never thought he would play nearly two decades in the NFL.

“Heck no,” Schaub said. “It was a dream. It was a goal. It was something that I aspired to potentially happen. That was it. You can never really envision that ... growing up playing football, basketball and baseball, I just loved sports. I didn’t know which one I wanted to do. It wasn’t until the end of my high school career when I decided football was going to be what I wanted to do in college.”

He played in 40 games at Virginia and left as the school’s all-time leader in passing yards (7,502), passing attempts (1,069), completions (716), total offensive yards (7,550), touchdown passes (56), 300-yard passing games (8) and 200-yard passing games (20).

“At Virginia, I just wanted to get on the field,” Schaub said. “I just wanted an opportunity to play. The NFL was a dream, a goal, just something out there in the distance. Once I started playing and had some success, our team had some success, this dream, this goal was a lot closer than I thought.”

He enjoyed his early years with the Falcons working with offensive coordinator Greg Knapp and Vick.

“There was a lot that I could learn not only from watching Mike and how he handled the team, the offense, game plans, the ebbs and flows of a season and a game,” Schaub said.

Knapp, who previously had worked with Steve Young and Jeff Garcia in San Francisco, showed Schaub the NFL ropes.

“He had a real defined plan for how to teach young quarterbacks how to be a pro,” Schaub said. “How to go through reads. Read with our feet. Go through a progression. Identify defenses. I think it’s one of his strongest attributes, being able to prepare someone to play in the game.

The Texans' Matt Schaub had an '07 salary of $8 million. The Texans went 8-8; he passed for 2,241 yards with 9 TDs and 9 interceptions.
The Texans' Matt Schaub had an '07 salary of $8 million. The Texans went 8-8; he passed for 2,241 yards with 9 TDs and 9 interceptions.

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

“Just cut out the information that isn’t important. What you don’t need to know and really focus on the vital things to help you be successful. That’s what he did for me when I was getting opportunities in the (exhibition) season and when things happened and Mike couldn’t be on the field and I had to step in.”

Knapp was Schaub’s quarterbacks coach in Houston for two seasons and then with the Falcons for the past three seasons.

“He was instrumental in my development as a young player,” Schaub said. “So, of my 17 years, eight of those years I had the same coach sitting with the clicker in the room coaching me. He’s like my football dad. He says I’m his football son.

“Not many people can say they’ve had a coach, a position coach at that, for that many years. So, I was definitely fortunate for the relationship that we’ve had and the bond that we’ve created over all of these years.”

When the dust settles on his retirement and he’s not shuttling the four Schaub kids around, the former quarterback knows he wants to stay involved with football.

“I’m keeping everything open,” Schaub said. “I want to be around the game. I want to be a part of football. It’s done so much for my life and my family. It’s provided me with so many opportunities. I still want to be a part of the game and be able to have a lasting impact, somewhere some how. Whatever way that is, I’m not sure yet.”

Schaub, who according to spotrac.com made $94.3 million over his 17 years in the NFL, could be headed to the broadcast booth.

“I’d love to be around the game whether it’s a broadcast or commentating type of role,” Schaub said. “Or being in an organization, whether it’s in an upstairs spot in personnel or even coaching. I wouldn’t rule that out, too because I’d be able to help out The young players coming into the league.”

Falcons’ 2021 draft position

1. Jacksonville Jaguars

2. New York Jets

3. Miami Dolphins (via Houston)

4. Falcons

5. Cincinnati Bengals

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