The Atlanta Falcons reached Super Bowl 51 with the league’s best offense, scoring at least 30 points each of their last six games. The offense is led by Matt Ryan, whose 117.1 passer rating was the fifth-best finish ever in a season. He totaled 38 touchdowns and 4,944 yards, leading the Falcons to their first Super Bowl since 1999.
If something happens to Matt Ryan, the role will fall to veteran Matt Schaub. A former Falcon that has a playoff win under his belt, Schaub has experience, and has previous ties to offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan’s complex offense.
Drafted by the Falcons out of UVA in 2004, Schaub served as Michael Vick’s backup for three seasons before being traded to the Texans. His lone start came in 2005 against the Patriots, where he threw for nearly 300 yards and three scores in a loss. That impressed the Houston Texans, who traded for Schaub in 2007. They were so confident in Schaub that once he was signed, the Texans cut first-ever QB David Carr the next day.
That same year, the Houston Texans promoted Kyle Shanahan to quarterbacks coach. He would work with Schaub and the other QBs for one season, before being promoted to offensive coordinator for 2008 and 2009 seasons.
After injuries cut his first two seasons short in Houston, Schaub led the team to it’s first-ever winning record (9-7) in 2009. The Texans missed out on the playoffs, but Schaub was selected to his first Pro Bowl. They made their postseason debut in 2011, but Schaub watched with injuries as T.J. Yates navigated the Texans. Schaub didn’t get his first playoff action until 2012, when he defeated the Bengals at home but lost to the Patriots 41-28 in the divisional round.
2012 was Schaub’s best season as a starter, finishing with over 4,000 yards and 22 touchdowns. The following season, Schaub threw a pick-six in four straight games and was benched in favor of Case Keenum. In the offseason, he was traded to the Raiders for a sixth-round pick.
That’s the end of Schuab’s time as a starter. Schaub was in Oakland to backup Derek Carr, and was released after one season. He spent 2015 in Baltimore backing up Joe Flacco, and played in Flacco’s absence before being knocked out of action with a chest injury.
Schaub signed with the Falcons in March, and he has attempted three passes this season. He hasn’t played much this year, but the Falcons know that should anything happen to Ryan, the policy will always be “next Matt up.”
The Falcons do not have a third-string QB.