With Matt Ryan out with a high right ankle sprain, Falcons quarterback Matt Schaub is getting ready to start against Seattle at 1 p.m. Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Schaub was drafted in the third round (90th overall) of the 2004 draft by the Falcons. He served as Michael Vick’s backup before getting traded to Houston in 2007. If the Falcons would have held his rights until after the draft when they’d learned more about the federal dogfighting investigation, he probably would have never been traded.
He went on to become a Pro Bowl quarterback (2009, 2012) and returned to Atlanta in 2016 as a backup to Ryan.
Schaub has played in 150 games and made 92 starts, but none since 2015 when he was in Baltimore. He has a 47-45 record overall as a starter.
He led the league in passing yardage with 4,770 yards back in 2009 for the Houston Texans.
Here’s what Schaub had to say on Wednesday:
On taking first-team reps with the offense: “It was good. It was good to get in the huddle and get going with the guys on a game plan. It was good to execute in our assignments and what we are trying to get done next game against a very good football team.”
On Julio Jones’ postgame speech: “He is great. He is one of the leaders on this team and in this organization. He felt the need to say something which is great. You love when that comes from your peers and your teammates that you have in the locker room. It is one of those things that no matter how long you play in this league, everyday matters, every play matters, everything you do, you are being watched — whether it is in a meeting or on the field, or in the community — it is all being watched by the powers that be and the league. You have to take advantage of that. Things go quick and you never know which play could be your last. You have to make them all count.”
On Julio Jones’ leadership: “When a guy like Julio, who doesn’t say a whole lot, he is pretty quiet and mild-mannered like that, you definitely take notice. When your teammates speak, it doesn’t matter who it is, you have to take notice and pay attention because it is in the purpose of the team and what we can do to be better.”
On the depth of the receivers after the Mohamad Sanu trade: “With the Mo [Mohamed Sanu] situation, you hate to see you lose one of your brothers who has meant a lot to our team and our locker room for the last four years. However, it creates an opportunity for other guys to step up. Whether it be Calvin [Ridley] or [Austin] Hooper, also have Russell [Gage] that is going to step in and [Christian] Blake is getting called-up to take more of a role. It is going to be by committee and everyone is going to have to step their game up so we can go out and execute our assignments.”
On his opportunity to step in and play: “I have to do my job and that is my role for this team. If I am called upon to go out there and play then I have to perform my role as the quarterback. I have to lead the offense, get completions, know game situations, convert third downs, and score in the red zone. Football doesn’t change, we just have to go out there and execute our plan.”
On the mindset of switching roles from backup to starter: “It started today. Just getting some reps on the field with the ones as opposed to the card offense. As the week goes on we will see where things take us. I can get more physical reps throughout the week.”
On the rep difference between a starter and second string: “Generally, I don’t get any reps. They are all with the card offense which is servicing the defense. It goes from zero percent to whatever I get on the practice field. Everything that I do on the field is amped up a little bit, but as far as my preparation and things that I do off the field, that doesn’t change. My preparation is still the same.”
On getting back on the practice field after last week’s performance: “It was good. I think that the mindset and the intent was really good. One thing that is hard to simulate out on the practice field is the physical nature of the game, with no pads on. Being physical upfront and in the run game and at the point of catches is something that we are going to have to bring on Sunday to the table. I thought guy’s minds were really right today.”
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