Originally posted on Fox Sports Houston  |  Last updated 8/1/12

HOUSTON - NOVEMBER 29: Quarterback Matt Schaub #8 of the Houston Texans throws a pass against the Indianapolis Colts on November 29, 2009 at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas. The Colts won 35-27. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
So many perceptions changed for the Houston Texans last year. Gary Kubiak went from loser to winner. Wade Phillips went from mumbling failed head coach to defensive genius. T.J. Yates went from zero to hero. J.J. Watt's interception return against Cincinnati might be the franchise's most indelible image. Arian Foster proved he was not a one-hit wonder. And there were spoils. Oh, were there spoils. Kubiak, general manager Rick Smith and Foster all got new contracts. It seemed like the Texans had become something new. Something exciting. Something legit. The franchise is awash in goodwill. And then there is quarterback Matt Schaub. I suppose many people will see it differently, but to me there are two enduring images from Schaub's season. The first was that failed scramble against the Raiders, when it looked like just maybe he could have run it in for the winning touchdown, and he lobbed an interception instead. The second is Schaub riding around the locker room on a Rascal -- the little motorized scooters designed for the elderly -- while the rest of the team marched into the playoffs. It was sad to see him like that, because everybody knows he's better than Yates. Everybody knows, in their head, Schaub would have led the Texans to the division championship, too. Everybody knows he would have beaten the Bengals in the playoffs. He would have, but he didn't. You know it in your head, but you don't feel it in your gut. It is too sensational to say he is the one guy on the Texans with something to prove. That certainly isn't true. Every athlete always feels like he has something to prove. But however illogical it may be considering the team was on its way to being 7-4 when he went down against Tampa Bay, Schaub will never feel like he was really part of that. He did not get the chance to prove, on the field, in January, that he was a clutch player. He didn't get to lead the winning drive against the Bengals in Week 14. He is still a quarterback who has always put up big numbers but has never won anything of substance. He's the one guy on the Texans who got none of the spoils of that playoff run, and there is nobody on the roster more eager for 2012 to begin. Texans training camp started Saturday at 8 a.m. "I was probably here at 6:30, taped and ready to go," Schaub said, "looking in my locker wondering where everyone was." This is preseason conjecture, but I have a hard time imagining Schaub letting anybody on the Texans relax. The Texans were hungry last year, and everybody but Schaub got an appetizer. "He's been banging on the door since OTAs to come practice," Kubiak said. Concerns about complacency are easily pooh-poohed by the Texans, but that doesn't make them unfounded. Paying too much attention to praise is just as dangerous as paying too much attention to criticism. It is a battle fought by coaches in all sports at all levels. The answer to the question, "At what point do you consider yourself a success?" is different for everybody. Odds are, some of the Texans are already there. It's just human nature. This is not to say I think the Texans are complacent. I don't. I think most of them probably begin this season with a sense that they are so very close to the ultimate goal that they don't want to let this rare opportunity pass them by. It's just that there may be a few moments this season, maybe in training camp, maybe when they're 5-2, maybe even when they're 3-4, that they could use a reminder that tomorrow is not guaranteed, that success is not a matter of destiny. And I think when that moment comes, it will be good that Matt Schaub is the guy talking in the huddle.
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