When the Atlanta Falcons signed Matt Schaub in March of 2016, they shored up the most important backup position on the team and bought an insurance policy on Matt Ryan.
Schaub was originally drafted by the Falcons in 2004 with the 90th overall pick as Michael Vick’s backup. He filled in for Vick when he got hurt and played well enough to garner interest from other teams.
The Falcons ultimately traded him to the Houston Texans in 2007, where he had a productive career there.
Whether due to salary cap restrictions, exploding quarterback salaries or just a lack of good quarterbacks in general, over the last several years the NFL got away from holding more than one quality quarterback on a roster.
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As you look around NFL 2016, you see a lot of high quality backup quarterbacks. Dak Prescott was drafted this year in the fourth round (135
overall), and he has proven to be a great investment with his preseason play. It’s a good thing for the Cowboys,too now that Tony Romo is down again, this time with a serious back injury.
The Jets have three or four good quarterbacks and probably can’t keep all of them. Carson Wentz and Jared Goff were chosen with high draft picks but look to be high-end backups in their rookie seasons. Jimmy Garoppalo is earning his keep with Tom Brady on suspension.
Other No. 2 quarter backs such as A.J. McCarron, Derek Anderson and Mike Glennon are also starters in waiting, if likely for another team.
In limited work this preseason, Matt Schaub has shone a lot of poise and a great understanding of the Falcons offense. In 2009 Schaub threw for 4,770 yards and 29 touchdowns in under the same Shanahan offensive scheme that the Falcons are currently running.
There are several good backup quarterbacks in the NFL this season, but Schaub looks like a great fit in an offense he’s familiar with. Ryan is firmly entrenched as the Falcons starter and Schaub isn’t going to take the job away from him. But if Ryan doesn’t improve on his performance from 2015, he could see himself pulled from a game.
And if that happens, Schaub has a shot to lead a NFL team again and the Falcons would be thankful to whoever it was that decided to sign him. Best backup quarterback in the NFL, maybe not, but if Ryan struggles Schaub will have a chance to earn the title.