Former Pro Bowler Matt Schaub Not Changing Mindset As Backup

Everything around Matt Schaub has changed.

He's with a new team in a new city, and for the first time in nine years, he's entering a season knowing he's the backup. The 33-year-old quarterback has seen all angles of life as an NFL signal caller, and now he's embracing his role as the second man on the depth chart.

Schaub is fully aware he might spend all of 2015 watching from the sidelines, but that reality hasn't altered his mindset going into his 12th NFL season. 

"I approach it much the same as if I was 'the guy.' You have to," Schaub said after a recent practice during Organized Team Activities. "The moment you drop that guard and you lose that, then you're almost not ready. You almost have to put yourself in that role every day, because you never know when that chance might come."

Schaub understands both sides of that dynamic.

He spent the first three years of his career backing up Michael Vick in Atlanta, knowing he could have his name called at any point. He then went to Houston, where he won the job and spent seven years as the starter. Schaub shined with the Texans, where he earned a pair of Pro Bowl selections and helped turn them into a perennial playoff contender.

The Ravens are stacking weeks as they continue down the road to the 2015 season.

He was ultimately dealt to the Oakland Raiders after struggling in his final season in Houston, and then lost a training camp competition to rookie Derek Carr last year.

Now he's entered a new chapter, as a veteran insurance policy bringing years of experience to practice and game planning. 

"I know Joe has been healthy his whole career, and hopefully he's healthy going forward," Schaub said. "But in this position you have to be ready and stay ready at a moment's notice because it could happen at any point.

"It's been great. [Joe and I] have similar types of mindsets in terms of how we approach the game. Obviously he's had a ton of success. I'm just looking to help where I can, just talk things over, work through things."

Flacco has never missed a game in his career, but coming to Baltimore was still an attractive opportunity for Schaub. He knew a handful of players on the roster, and he already had familiarity with the team from all the times he faced them in Houston.

Baltimore's offense is also second-nature to him. The Ravens run the West Coast offense that Gary Kubiak installed last year as the offensive coordinator, which Schaub ran with Kubiak in Houston. He even had the same system during his college career at Virginia.

"There's a lot of carryover, similarities to things I've done in my past," Schaub said. "It was just all things that led me to know that this was a great fit for me."

Schaub gives the Ravens a veteran option behind Flacco they haven't had since 2009 when Marc Bulger was the backup, and the two veterans are already developing strong camaraderie. Schaub has kept a consistent presence at the Under Armour Performance Center since signing with the Ravens in March, just like he would if his name topped the team's depth chart.

"Everyone is welcoming here," Schaub said. "It's been a really good transition. The big thing is getting to know everybody, getting to know everybody a little better on a personal level. It's been great."

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