Offensive Coordinator Greg Olson Opening Statement: “First of all, I would like to thank everyone for making it on such short notice. At the end of the 2013 season, we made a number one priority as an organization to identify and acquire a proven, winning starting quarterback in the National Football League. It became obvious early on in that search of the quarterbacks that
QB Matt Schaub Opening Statement: “Thank you, thank you. I’m very excited to be here. First I need to say thank you to the Houston Texan organization for the past seven years for being so great to me and my family. On the same token, very thankful to Mr. [Mark] Davis, Reggie McKenzie, Dennis Allen and Dan Ventrelle for bringing me here and giving me this opportunity with the Oakland Raiders. I’m very excited. My family is very excited. I’m very excited to get to work in such a manner that we can win a championship here in Oakland. I’m very excited to be a part of this team, a lot of veteran leaders and a lot of talent. The offseason so far has proven the will to win around here and the players that are being brought in. I’m very excited to be a part of this organization.”
Q: How important was it for you to get a fresh start after last year? How excited are you to start somewhere new?
Schaub: “Very important. A fresh start can do a lot of things for a player and a team. I’m one of those guys. Last year did not go at all how I had planned, given my prior nine years before that. I’m looking for a fresh start. I’m excited about the opportunity here and the players on this team, the coaches, the plan and the direction. Reggie has brought in a great mix of young players as well as veteran leaders and proven players in this business and I’m excited to be a part of the direction that this team is heading.”
Q: A lot of fans are seeing your 2012 and seasons before that with 4,000 passing yards. Last year with the Lisfranc injury and the fans turning on you and pick-sixes, how is your confidence? What is going to take for you to get back to the 2012 Matt Schaub?
Schaub: “Foot’s great, healthy. Excited about this opportunity, moving on. The past is the past. I can’t do anything about that except move on to bigger and better things. I’m excited for what the future holds here with Oakland. Just excited to get to work. I’m happy to be here and I’m very confident in my abilities and the players on this team. Just excited to get to work with them through the offseason here and enter training camp ready to go.”
Q: Greg, why do you think Matt is a good fit for your offensive scheme?
Olson: “First of all, he’s got proven track record. When we went to identify that player, there are very few players in the league, and in the history of the league, if you look at what Matt’s done. The time that he’s played, he’s had nine seasons of a 90-plus quarterback rating, which I think there are only four or five players in the history of the league that have ever done that. Obviously he’s had a tremendous amount of experience. He’s at an age right now where most quarterbacks are in their prime. We feel like he’s got a lot of football ahead of him. He’s a proven winner. We weren’t going to let last season deter us from the player and the track record that he has shown over his career. Like I said, he was our number one target from day one. It was just a matter of getting the deal done. Feel fortunate to have the player.”
Q: Talk about your priority to get this done early in the offseason as opposed to waiting.
Olson: “It was critical. When you look at the number of players that may have been available in free agency, and obviously Matt was not one of those players, but we did feel like we may have a chance to either work a trade for him or that he may be released. As we get closer to the draft and the evaluation process, throughout the time we were working to get something done, and still hoping to get the player, you realize that you can’t count on a quarterback possibly falling to you in the draft, so you’d better have a plan. I think Mark Davis, Reggie and Dennis Allen had that plan from the start, like I said, when the season ended. It became the number one priority for us as an organization. It was critical to get him at this point. Knowing, now, that the players with the collective bargaining, they can’t get into the building until April, it was still very critical that he got in here and got a chance to meet with us and talk with us and get him a jumpstart on what we’re trying to get done here.”
Q: When a season goes bad, especially a team with Super Bowl expectations, it stinks for everyone on the team but it’s really hardest on the quarterback. Did you learn anything about yourself through that?
Schaub: “I think so. Anytime you go through a lot of positive things or negative things, you’re going to learn from it, as a person and as a player. Anyone that’s been in this business for any amount of time knows there’s going to be ebbs and flows, peaks and valleys. It’s how you deal with them and how you move forward. I’m excited to move forward. I’m excited for what we have building here and the future. I’ve definitely learned from it and I’m just ready to move forward.”
Q: What do you bring to the football team? What can Raider fans expect from you?
Schaub: “I think I bring a lot of experience, a lot of knowledge of how to play the position, how a successful offense works and how it operates consistently. I think I’ve done it for a few years now at a high level at the quarterback position. Just a level of leadership to help set a direction that Dennis Allen and Greg Olson will help set for the team and for the offense. But, as the quarterback, you have to step in the huddle and demand things out of your teammates and set a course. I think that starts in the offseason. I think it starts with how you prepare and how you work at your craft and how you demonstrate to them that if they just bust their tail day in and day out that at the end of the day, you are going to give them a chance to win. That’s what we’re here to do and that’s the direction we’re going.”
Q: You mentioned the need for the fresh start. Was there any part of you that thought you might be back with Houston at all?
Schaub: “I don’t know. Listen, I’ve been in this business for 10 years now and I’ve seen a lot of crazy things happen. So, you never really rule anything out, but I am just excited that this opportunity presented itself and that I am here. Just excited for the direction and the places that we’re going.”
Q: Last season for a short period of time, Carson Palmer was going to be your quarterback and then you go through Matt Flynn,
Olson: “It’s exciting and it’s funny you bring that up because, certainly in part of the evaluation process, when I looked at Matt Schaub, and obviously I’ve seen the player over the years, I have a lot of respect for way he plays the game. And when you look at him statistically, had he not had the season that he had last year in Houston, he wouldn’t be sitting next to me here today. So, I feel very fortunate. Again, the five straight years of good football, winning football and the experience that he has just makes it so much easier, obviously, to coach. To have a player with that kind of experience … I was fortunate when I got in the league I got in with Jeff Garcia, who was a veteran type player. There is so much more that you can do, so I’m just real excited to have that player. Again, last year I don’t believe the Carson Palmer trade happened until April, so we weren’t even at this point a year ago. Just real excited to have the player and have the opportunity to get a player like Matt Schaub. We’re all excited all around.”
Q: You’ve played the Raiders the last two years. What were your impressions then and what are your impressions of the moves they’ve made this offseason?
Schaub: “It seems like over my seven years in Houston, it was almost a rivalry was building we played so often. I think there was one year we didn’t. It’s always been a team that’s been tough to play. The defenses, from a quarterback’s perspective, have always been challenging to go against. The fronts and the multiple coverages, very tough. Offensively, always able to run the football and grind it out and make some big plays in the passing game. It’s always been a tough game for us and me, personally. The young talent that is here, along with a lot of the moves that the organization has made this offseason with some of the players that are coming in here with a lot of experience, a lot of playoff experience and a lot of championship experience. It’s going to be a great mix to get with those guys that have had a lot of success in this league, with the young talent that is here and bring them along of how you win consistently. It’s going to be exciting and a fun time to do it.”
Q: The last winning quarterback here was 12 years ago, Rich Gannon. A lot of guys have come through here and with back-to-back four-win seasons, do you think you’re the guy that can lead this team to a winning record?
Schaub: “Without question, I think I’m that guy. That’s one of the most unique and intriguing aspects of coming to this organization is the rich and storied tradition that they have here, especially at this position. There are so many great quarterbacks that have played here, played at a championship level. It’s just great to possibly be a part of that and make my name here, but also with the organization and be a part of this special situation.”
Q: What does it say that this team went out and traded for you? They didn’t wait until you got released, and you’re hearing that you were their number one option? What does that mean coming into this situation knowing that?
Schaub: “It means everything. It’s that belief, it’s that factor that they believe that I can come in here and compete and do that job and be a player that can make a different on this roster and help them win football games. As a player in this business, there is no greater compliment to have an organization and a coaching staff and ownership believe in you, in that regard. To go out and seek a trade and bring you in and be willing to get you, I’m definitely very thankful for that.”
Q: When you were with Atlanta, Dennis Allen was a defensive assistant. Did you have any kind of relationship with him?
Schaub: “We did a little bit. Again, probably as a rookie, I didn’t have as much interaction, because I was a rookie. My head was spinning and I was trying to learn to be a pro and learn the offense. There was so much to take in. But, going into my second year there, there was a lot more interaction and getting to know more people. So there was some interaction. Especially him being on defense, as an offensive player or quarterback, there is always going to be some competition or banter back and forth a little bit, but not as much, looking back, as there could have been.