|Leinart will be Houston's starter after their Week 11 bye. (US PRESSWIRE)|
Posted by Ryan Wilson
A source tells CBSSports.com's National NFL Insider Mike Freeman that Texans quarterback Matt Schaub is "done" for the season after suffering a foot injury in Houston's 37-9 victory over the Buccaneers Sunday. The source adds that "the team is devastated," and there's little chance Schaub would be available should the Texans make it to the Super Bowl.
On Monday morning's Pick-6 Podcast, we anointed the Texans the best team in the AFC. They lost receiver Andre Johnson in Week 4, lost their next two games, then went on to win four in a row, including Sunday's beatdown in Tampa Bay.
|Week 10 recap, latest NFL news|
With Johnson set to return after the Week 11 bye, everything seemed to be falling into place for the Texans, who pretty much have the AFC South sewn up and are playing for homefield advantage. Now they'll have to build the offense around the running game, hope backup Matt Leinart can make plays when needed, and pray the defense continues to keep opponents in check.
Leinart, the 2006 first-round pick of the Cardinals, was cut by Arizona prior to the 2010 season.
One of the knocks on Leinart after he got his walking papers was that he he didn't have the disposition coaches look for in their franchise quarterback. In September 2010, after the Cardinals released him, ESPN.com's NFC West blogger Mike Sando wrote: "Leinart could have made this work if he had played by [Ken] Whisenhunt's rules. He wasn't willing (or possibly able) to do that under difficult circumstances. He complained and pouted and made it impossible for Whisenhunt to name Leinart the leader of a locker room filled with players more closely aligned with the Whisenhunt mindset."
This summer, Leinart acknowledged that he hadn't proven anything in his six-year NFL career, but was working hard in preparation for 2011.
"I’m always ready," he said at the time. "I’m always prepared and like I said it’s just always about being a quarterback, but being in the right situation. For me hopefully that situation comes up this year and I can thrive and show I belong in the league and I can play because I know I can and that’s what I plan on doing.”
Leinart was re-signed by the Texans during free agency to back up Schaub, a role that didn't require him to get off the bench in 2010. In fact, he didn't sniff the field for 26 games, until Houston's final snap Sunday, a kneel-down to run out the clock.
Head coach Gary Kubiak was asked Monday just how ready Leinart was to step into the starting role.
“Well that’s why he’s here. That’s why he came back. He liked his opportunity here. He liked this football team. He likes what we do offensively," said Kubiak. "You never know how an opportunity is going to occur, but here we go. It’s a big one for him and his career. He’s had a lot of reps. We’ve cut back on Matt [Schaub]’s reps the last month at practice so he [Leinart] has gotten a ton of reps.
"[Leinart] has played in big football games in this league. He’s played a lot of football. He’s played in big football games in college. Matt has been around it, but the key is that the whole football team rally around him and playing well as a football team. Matt doesn’t have to go win a game. The team has to go win a game. We’ll rally around him and get him ready to go.”
The former USC star and Heisman Trophy winner last saw significant action in 2007, when he started five games for the Cardinals before a fractured collarbone paved the way for a Kurt Warner comeback. He completed 53.6 percent of his passes that season, throwing two touchdowns and four interceptions. Leinart started 11 games as a rookie in '06, where he had 11 TDs and 12 picks.
If Texans fans are looking for a silver lining, here ya go: it could be worse, Rex Grossman could still be Schaub's backup.
Matt Schaub threw for 242 yards with two touchdowns, which led the Houston Texans to a 37-9 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday. Marv Albert and Rich Gannon recap this game.
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