It's rarely the case that "a change of scenery" is what a player struggling with one team needed to jump-start his career elsewhere. But the hope in Oakland is that former Texans quarterback Matt Schaub can do just that for a Raiders team that hasn't had a winning record since 2002 and is coming off a four-win effort in 2013.
Defensive tackle Antonio Smith, who was Schaub's teammate in Houston and now plays with him in Oakland, thinks the quarterback looks more like the guy who helped the Texans to 12 wins in 2012 (please pay no attention to the 2-win implosion from a season ago).
"Schaubby's getting his mojo back," Smith said, via the San Francisco Chronicle's Vic Tafur. "He's getting his confidence back. He's starting to believe in himself again. He is starting to throw with confidence. You would be surprised just how much your mind-set is important in this league."
Back in '12, Schaub started 16 games, completed 64 percent of his passes for 4,008 yards, 22 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. The Texans went 12-4 and made it to the divisional round of the playoffs. According to Football Outsiders, Schaub ranked 12th in quarterback efficiency that year, just ahead of Colin Kaepernick, Cam Newton and Alex Smith.
Whether Schaub can replicate that in Oakland is another matter, though he appears to have the full support of his teammates and coach Dennis Allen, who named Schaub the starter shortly after trading for him.
Meanwhile, the Raiders selected Derek Carr in the second round of the May draft. And through minicamps and OTAs Carr has been impressive. So much so that he entered training camp as the No. 2 quarterback behind Schaub.
For how long the depth chart remains that way will depend on which Schaub we see in the coming weeks: the 2012 or 2013 version.