I'm posting this now so I don't look like a revisionist historian later and before the national (and local) media jumps off the Harrington bandwagon (and on the Schaub train).
I don't care if we go 0-16, trading Matt Schaub was the right thing to do! I liked Matt Schaub. I think he'll be a decent starting QB. But I think we learned from the Vick draft pick trade that you always turn 1 unknown into 2 unknowns if you have the opportunity. Especially if there are suitable replacements for what you are giving up.
I can understand the rationale for keeping Schaub if there was going to be continuity in either leadership or scheme. Especially in regards to scheme. Part of why many scouts were high on Schaub was because how he "looked" in our "west coast" offense. He had been in this type of offense for 7 years (4 in college, 3 in the pros). This type offense suited his large frame (6'5") and his arm (accurate but not incredibly strong). He is a great fit for an offense looking to take a three step drop and pitch the ball 5-15 yards. However, Petrino's offense requires more shotgun, 5-7 step drops, deep throws, and even some mobility (to run stretch plays, rollouts, etc). Additionally, the new staff was going to have to teach Schaub this system. If you're going to have to teach someone new the position, why not bring in someone fresh and get assets for what you currently have (especially if that player would be leaving in a year anyway--or requiring a $40 million contract)?
This doesn't even take into account what the Falcons might have known regarding Vick and how tumultuous this season was going to be regardless of having Schaub. Really, isn't the difference for this year between Schaub and the guy replacing him (turns out to be Joey) arbitrary?
Here's the net result of the trade (and signing of Harrington which was a necessity of that trade)
Falcons lose: Matt Schaub (career 54% passing, 1/1 TD/INT ratio)
Falcons gain: Joey Harrington (career 55% passing, .94/1 TD/INT ratio)
Justin Blalock (future franchise LG)
approximate 45nd overall pick* (Sedrick Ellis DT USC, Jonathan Goff ILB Vandy,
Quentin Demps S UTEP)
a 2 spot upgrade in 07 draft. Allowing us to get Jamaal Anderson
(who reminds me of Jevon Kearse without all the injuries) $40,000,000 less of a risk put into one player.
In the end, we'll end up with a franchise LG, a starting S, and we'll end up with someone else at QB (Brohm? Brennan? Henne?). I like all of those options more than Schaub. I think the Chargers proved that 1 player is never *that* big of an upgrade over 2 top 50 picks. I'll gladly take the picks, one year of struggling, and move forward better equipped for the future.
* derived from my guess of where Houston will finish. This would put them at about 7-9 using last years final results.