It's not yet time for the Texans to bench QB Matt Schaub

For the fourth-straight game, Texans quarterback Matt Schaub threw a pick-6. For the third-straight game, Schaub -- and the Texans offense -- were ineffective and, at times, looked horrendous

On Sunday, during their 34-3 loss to the 49ers, it got so bad that one of the Texans beat writers, tweeted this.

At times, the offense is well-run and scoring points,. At times, the offense is just brutal.

And more often than not for Schaub, it’s the latter. And that’s when the jerseys get set on fire.

It got so bad Sunday night as Schaub was completing 19 of 35 passes for 179 yards and three interceptions, there were suggestions from observers that perhaps Houston coach Gary Kubiak should bench Schaub in favor of backup T.J. Yates, who had a couple good games toward the end of the 2011 season.

And Kubiak ended up doing exactly that early in the fourth quarter after the 49ers had made it a four-touchdown lead. Seemingly, this was more a mercy-benching rather than a permanent one, though.

But when Houston faces the Rams next week, Yates should return to his place on the bench while Schaub trots out to the field with the rest of the first team. Because if the Texans still have hopes of making the postseason -- and the season isn’t over by any stretch -- Schaub gives them the best opportunity to do it.

Here’s the other part: Schaub has had good moments this season, as well.

Entering Week 5, his completion percentage was the best its been since 2009, his 298.3 yards-per-game average was the best of his career, and he’s already made two fourth-quarter comebacks (he’s never had more than two in a season). Yes, Schaub has hurt his team just as much as he’s helped it, but here’s the main question for Kubiak as he tries to figure out a way to save a season that’s spiraling out of control:

Would Yates be any better? I don't think so.

Now, I don’t think Schaub is the quarterback of the future in Houston. He’s the quarterback of what is a very tepid, very disappointing present, but you can understand why Kubiak would want to stay with his quarterback of the past seven years.  

It’s clear Schaub hasn’t been playing like a top-10 quarterback like he has in past years, but it’s not like he’s one of the 10 worst in the NFL either. That’s not a great endorsement, I realize. But I’d still rather have Schaub out there than a man in Yates who’s made just 10 throws from the 2011 playoffs to Week 5 of the 2013 season.

"I mean, this is on a whole different level," Schaub said this week when talking about his recent struggles. "I can't say anything like this has happened in high school. It was so far and so long ago that I don't even think I can remember much about playing high school football. But this is a different animal."

Here’s the other problem for Schaub. The Texans were supposed to be so much better than the 2-3 mediocrity we’ve seen so far, a disappointment that resides in third place in the AFC South. All seven of the experts predicted Houston would finish first or second in the division, and five of us had the Texans making the postseason.

Schaub hasn’t been great, and because his team hasn’t been great, he’s going to get much of the blame.
Well, that, and the notion that the Texans are stuck with him regardless.

That might be the biggest slap at all. A quarterback that fans are beginning to hate can’t be discarded because he’s owed too much money. Schaub hurts the Texans when he plays, and he’d paralyze them if he left.

But for now, Yates isn’t the answer. Schaub has to be given the opporutnity to work himself out of this slump. And if he hasn’t returned to his past by the end of the season, maybe then, it’ll be time to figure out what do with the quarterback who was always pretty good but never could get the Texans to where they wanted to be.

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