Schaub: “A change of scenery, different environment, new team, just a whole lot of things going on, but it’s refreshing. It’s exciting. Good to get back out on the field in a team environment. For the last few weeks just lifting as an offense, and defense doing their own thing, and going out and going through things versus air, getting into the huddle and going actually practicing against the defense and getting a rhythm and getting used to the guys on the field, it’s the time of year where we can work through a lot of things, so we can have it all down for training camp.”
Q: Fun learning a new offense after a lot of years…?
Schaub: “Yeah, there’s some carryover; there’s some similarities, but it’s learning new terminology, learning new teammates, learning how they operate, how they handle the daily grind. As the quarterback, you’re in charge of getting everyone in the right position, the right place and being in charge of everything, but it’s exciting.”
Q: Over the past couple of weeks, you’ve done some social things, especially with the offense. How important is that to acclimate yourself with a new group?
Schaub: “It’s very important. If you look at our team, especially on the offensive side of the ball, there are a lot of new faces that were brought in. To get everyone on the same page, get to know everybody…we spend so much time in the building, but to get out and go do things socially, get to know guys on a personal level because at the end of the day when we’re out there between the lines, we have to each other’s back. The more you know guys, the more you have a rapport with them, it goes a lot further during the season than I think a lot of people outside of the building might realize. It’s important to do those things.”
Q: What kind of stuff have you guys done?
Schaub: “We’ve gone to dinner. We’ve gone to baseball games. We’ve gone bowling as a team, just different things we tried to set up.”
Q: What were your thoughts on the Raiders? You got to play against them it seemed like every year and your thoughts on the Raiders and on the way it is now.
Schaub: “Going against them as an opposing quarterback always defensively, always a tough team to go against, always tough to prepare for, different blitz looks, different coverages, imposing front. Just very challenging to game-plan against. So I knew that going in. And then just watching them offensively from afar over the last few years, just a lot of talent, a lot of weapons, a lot of young talent, but a chance to do a lot of great things. And with the offensive staff and the scheme that we have, along with some additions in free agency, there’s just a ton of firepower on offense and I’m very excited about the weapons we have at every position.”
Q: You talked a lot about the change of scenery, but you’re also in a place that the coaching staff and administration have a lot of confidence in you in words and actions. How does that make you feel and what’s your approach to this job? Do you feel you have to go win it or are you the starter?
Schaub: “Any time in this business, every day you’re able and fortunate enough to have a spot in the locker room, you have to go out and prove that you’re worthy of that. You go out and prove yourself as a player no matter years you’ve been in it or how many games you’ve won, how many games you’ve been in. You have to go out and prove yourself that you’re worthy of the spot they’re putting you in. I’m no different. Coming in as the new guy, I’m just looking to go out and get better every day and improve and help make this team better and help put us in position to win football games. At the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about.”
Q: You mentioned all the moving parts here trying to come together. Have you had any experience like this before where it’s almost like starting up at college again?
Schaub: “Yeah, I had one similar experience going from Atlanta to Houston seven years ago. I had that same experience going to a new team there, so I’m no stranger to it, but at the same time, it’s been a few years. But it is…It’s like the first day of school all over again. But again, we’ve been here now going on six weeks, so it’s not new in the sense of new guys right away from the jump, it’s just different now being out on the field having to put all the stuff we’ve met about and talked about into action against a live defense. It’s an exciting step in the process today getting back out on the field and starting this OTA period.”
Q: Why did you decide to go bowling?
Schaub: “It was something a few of us had talked about.
Q: Baseball – A’s or Giants?
Schaub: “That was the quarterback-offensive line thing. I tried to set that up for those guys.”
Schaub: “Oh, it was the A’s.”
Q: As far as the offense goes, what’s the process been like with you and [Offensive Coordinator Greg] Olson? Is he asking you what you want to do, things you’re comfortable with? What’s that been like?
Schaub: “Right now, he’s in charge. He’s the coordinator. I’m trying to figure out his offense. As the quarterback and the coordinators go, you have to be an extension of them on the field. You have to take what they want and what they envision the blueprint to be and go out and apply it. But at the end of the day, as a quarterback you’re charged with making things right. If the play call…the guys on the other side of the ball, they get paid too and if things don’t match up, you have to find a way to get your team in a position to make a good play and prevent negative plays. That’s what’s great about his offense is as the quarterback you’re given a lot of tools to make those adjustments and make things right at the line of scrimmage. It’s neat to have that responsibility. Again, there’s a lot of things that go into that and a lot of time and preparation-wise to understand what the right calls are against what defensives and the routes that you have called.”
Q: How much more control do you have here than you had in Houston?
Schaub: “A little bit more. We had some audible systems in some alerts of such that we got to in Houston, but as far as protection calls and some of the things – freedom to change routes to put our guys in position to make plays – there’s a lot bit of a difference here than I’ve had in my past, which at the stage of my career that I’m in, it’s refreshing to have that opportunity because it challenges me from a more mental standpoint now in a new place.”
Q: Does it also make you more comfortable and confident that they give you a little more control?
Schaub: “Absolutely. I think any time you get more control as a quarterback and get the reins a little bit in your hands - because ultimately we’re the ones out there that have to put the ball in the right place - the more freedom we have to take advantage of certain things, the less chance for negative plays.”
Q: Is three or four months enough time to do all this? Can you do it in three weeks?
Schaub: “However much time we have, we’re going to take full advantage of every minute of it. So yeah, it’s enough time. It’s enough time. It’s just something that we’re given a small window here in OTAs, mini-camp, 13 practices I think on the field, so it’s not a lot of time, but the chance to go back and look at all those clips from practice and talk about them, and then you add in training camp and all the preseason games, there’s a fair amount of time. But between mini-camp and training camp, that’s the chance that we can really take that next step as a team because that downtime you really have to stay involved and you can’t just, ‘I’ll get to it in training camp.’”
Q: So give me an idea of what you do in that interim you’re talking about…
Schaub: “There’s so much film you can watch. You can watch clips, you can watch other teams. You can start studying your divisional opponents. You can go back and watch all the stuff you did all spring as a group and just study and just go out and apply it. You can get receivers, you can go and throw. You can run routes. Obviously you can’t do a lot as far as team stuff with the defense and some things like that; you want to prevent injuries. But you just continue to throw routes, you study, and just work on your calls. Practice going through things, walking up and down the field and making your calls and audible things and practice verbalizing it.”
Q: Do you do all that here or…?
Schaub: “You can do it here. You can do it anywhere, but obviously I’ll probably here most of the time.”
Q: Will you be at home too watching your iPad?
Schaub: “Absolutely, we have it all on the iPad you can take with you.”
Q: How many hours a week?
Schaub: “What? Come summertime?”
Q: During that interim that you talked about…
Schaub: “Gosh, I haven’t really planned out my summer just yet. I’m still digesting our practice we just got off the field with, but there will be a few hours every day. Obviously, family responsibilities, but there’s going to be a few hours there every day that’s devoted to that because ultimately this is work.”
Q: You’re already kind of ingrained into the history of this franchise from the other side – the Al Davis game the day after Al Davis passed away. Have you talked to any of the guys that are still on the team about what that moment meant and how ironic it is that you’re here now?
Schaub: “I really haven’t discussed with any other guys that specific moment because, like we mentioned before, it seems like the seven years I was in Houston we played the Raiders every year but one, but it was kind of lost in the shuffle there. But yeah, I remember that game vividly because I think when we found the news that next day we said, ‘well, it’s going to go one of two ways – they’re going to either play cover-2 and just keep everything in front of them all game or they’re just going to bring the gas and blitz every play.’ And I think we got the gas and they blitzed every single play. I think greater forces were at play that day, but coming into the building, you can feel the sense of the tradition and the aura around the Raiders organization and its special to be a part of that right now.”
Q: How much do you analyze what happened last year? Do you look at the pick-6s and the losses? Did you spiral downwards? Were you in your head at some point? How do you look at last year and what happened?
Schaub: “It’s in the past. I’ve moved on. That’s stuff that’s history. What we’re in control of is what we do moving forward and I’m into preparing for 2014. Anything that’s in the past is in the past. In this business, you have to have a short-term memory and move on from things or else it’s going to be downhill from there. We’re on to the next year.”
Schaub: “That’s something I’ve always liked to do to rookies, whether they’re quarterbacks or on the offense or top picks, just to extend a hand. As the quarterback, leader in the huddle, you’re also leader of the team and you want to reach out to those guys and let them know that you’re there for them. You’ve been in their shoes before at one point and there can be a lot to take in. I just wanted to call him and just welcome him, let him know there’s a lot of work ahead and excited to have him part of the QB room and get in here ready to work.”
Q: Is it any way awkward at all that you were the guy brought in to replace his brother [David Carr]?
Schaub: “I wouldn’t say it’s awkward; it’s ironic a little bit, you know? It’s an interesting scenario but play football long enough, crazy things are bound to happen.”
Q: The last few years in Houston, you’ve come into camp and OTAs with Andre Johnson; you had your number one receiver, all this chemistry. What was it like for you coming into this OTA after so many years of having your No. 1 guy and then having to basically find your Andre Johnson in this group?
Schaub: “I look at it with the weapons looking around our receiving room, our tight end room, our backs, we have six or seven No. 1 guys. I look at it as we have a stable of guys that we can distribute the football to and we can spread it around. We don’t have to have the focus on one guy. We can beat you with four or five or six different guys, get the football and distribute it. On any given day, one of those guys might have 10 for 150, but we’re not trying to set the standard like, ‘hey, you’re going to be the guy that we’re going to go to this many times.’ We’re going to try to spread it around, keep the defense honest, and all the while with our run game and what we can do with MJD and DMac, it’s going to be exciting to be a part of it.”
Q: Did you feel any added pressure when they did draft Derek so high?
Schaub: “Like I said, no matter who’s in there, in this game you play long enough, they’re going to always go after talent at every position and you have to go out and prove yourself every day in the meetings, in the weight room, on the practice field, studying, putting in the extra hours. That’s the nature of this business. Ultimately, you have to prove that you’re the guy for the jobs.”
Q: Have you gotten tired this offseason being asked about what happened last season and coming in here and making a comeback and turning this thing around or does that fuel you?
Schaub: “It fuel to the fire. Like I said, last year is history as motivation moving forward. I’ve learned a great deal about myself as a player from it. But again, it’s in the past and I can only control what I do, how I prepare as a player, what I do for this football team moving forward, putting them in position to win football games in 2014.”
Q: Can I ask what you learned about yourself from last year?
Schaub: “No, you can’t [laughing]. I’m going to keep that to myself.”
Q: Do you miss the humidity yet?Schaub: No.