The Texans were the worst team in football last year, managing just two wins. The Raiders had four wins last season and one of them was against the Texans with Matt Schaub at the helm. Much of the blame for that season was placed on Schaub who threw 14 interceptions with just 8 starts and was benched in favor of local favorite, Case Keenum.
Schaub has thrown for over 4000 yards three times in his career which were all three of his last full seasons in Houston. Two of those seasons, he was named to the Pro Bowl. So, what happened?
Current and former teammate, Antonio Smith, says he knows what it is. He is the only player who was a teammate of Schaub in Houston and came to Oakland this off-season - Smith as a free agent, Schaub via trade.
"Schauby gettin' his mojo back," said Smith. "He getting his mojo back. He's getting his confidence back. He's starting to believe in himself again. He's starting to throw with confidence. Those are things that you need to be a successful quarterback. You will be surprised just how much a mindset is important in this game. How much believing in what you can do, how far it gets you. The moment you start doubting yourself is the moment you start throwing a lot of interceptions and stuff, you know."
Having everything fall apart as it did in Houston after a preseason where playoffs and even Super Bowl were projected can be difficult. And these things tend to build on themselves. Schaub has been asked before if he can explain any of what happened, but will only give the "that's in the past" non-comment. Smith is far more open about such things.
"It was like a snowball effect," Smith added. "A lot of things went wrong early on even though you felt you was playing some good ball, but you had key things happen to you at key moments, lost you a few games and then you started to get the fire and everybody starts panicking and trying to find what's wrong and they change and things just get all out of whack and before you know it it's another game and another game and another game."
This phenomenon is something the Raiders have been through a lot in the past 12 years. They try being confident every year but that confidence is lost pretty quickly once reality strikes and the season takes a turn for the worse.
One thing that can cause a quarterback to lose his confidence is a poor offensive line. Midway through last season it was the Chiefs pass rush that rattled Terrelle Pryor to the tune of nine sacks. The year before, Carson Palmer was one of the most rushed quarterbacks in the league with one of the least amount of time to get the ball away.
Schaub may have his "mojo" back, but giving him some protection and time to throw is how he'll keep it.