The rumblings about Ravens backup quarterback Matt Schaub's training camp interceptions have spread around Baltimore.
Even trash-talking outside linebacker Terrell Suggs jumped in, reminding Schaub that he should be throwing to the guys in purple jerseys, not the defense in white.
But Schaub has an explanation for the picks. He's not in game mode, which means he's attempting difficult throws he wouldn't otherwise make.
"I've felt I've had a good camp," Schaub said Tuesday. "I've felt things have gone relatively well.
"It's a time you want to test things. You want to test yourself, test your offense, test the other guys in the huddle and see what they can do and who's going to be there to make the plays. We're going against a good defense day in and day out and it's been a real challenge for us, but it's been fun."
Interceptions have been a problem for Schaub the past two years. He tossed 14 picks to 10 touchdowns in his final 10 games with the Texans in 2013, capping a seven-year career in Houston. Then he tossed two interceptions on just 10 passing attempts last year with Oakland.
"Last year was very difficult. It was a tough year in general," Schaub said. "There were a lot of things going on away from football that a lot of people don't know about. I learned a lot from it, growing both as a football player and person from it."
Schaub has seen a number of passes returned back at him during Organized Team Activities, minicamp and training camp. They have declined in number during camp, but it's still too many for Schaub's liking.
"You never want them to happen," he said. "But like I said, at this time of year you want to test things. You don't want things to be completely easy and take the easy play. But you know when the lights come on, you want to take those plays."
Schaub, 34, is familiar with the Ravens offense considering he studied under Kubiak while the two were in Houston. But it's a whole new receiving corps he's throwing to.
The Ravens' four preseason games will be "huge," Schaub says. The lights will come on, meaning he won't be testing various throws like he has been at practice. Plus, it's valuable game action that must tide him over once the regular season starts.
Schaub won't see any game action unless Joe Flacco goes down with an injury, so he needs to get in a groove while he has a chance.
"These reps in live action in the preseason are huge for every player, but especially the role that I'm in," Schaub said.
If history repeats itself, as Head Coach John Harbaugh indicated it would, Schaub will see about three quarters of action in Thursday's preseason opener against the Saints at M&T Bank Stadium. Harbaugh said Schaub will play "quite a bit" throughout the preseason.
Harbaugh has stood by Schaub throughout the summer as negative reports have circled, and he continued to do so on Tuesday.
"Matt has played a lot of football, and he has played a lot of football in a system very similar to this one," Harbaugh said. "He has seen blitzes, he has seen run adjustments, he is able to operate very effectively in this offense and get us in the right type of calls. He can throw the ball, still; he's accurate.
"I hear some of the criticism [that] he's not throwing the ball as well as Joe [Flacco] – I will grant that – and he has had a few crazy plays out here. ... But I still stand by the fact that I believe he's practicing very, very well. He gives us a lot as* *a backup quarterback. We're going to hope we don't need him, but if we do need him, he's going to play well."