Well, this is depressing: In 2006, three years before the Jets traded up in the first round to take Mark Sanchez and two years before bringing Brett Favre to New York, then-coach Eric Mangini really wanted quarterback Matt Schaub.
"We tried like hell to get him," Mangini said in a recent phone interview with ESPNNewYork.com's Rich Cimini.
Back then, Schaub was Michael Vick's backup in Atlanta, but Chad Pennington was coming off his second shoulder surgery and he wasn't viewed as a viable long-term option in New York. Mangini had been impressed by Schaub when the former was the Patriots defensive coordinator. Details via Cimini:
Mangini became smitten with Schaub in 2005. (New England) faced the Vick-less Falcons, and he called blitz after blitz, expecting to rattle the young quarterback. But Schaub lit up Mangini's defense, passing for 298 yards and three touchdowns, nearly pulling off the upset.
After becoming the Jets' coach in 2006, Mangini did his homework on Schaub, receiving a glowing endorsement from a former coaching colleague, Al Groh, who coached the quarterback at Virginia. Mangini was convinced Schaub was the real deal, but, as he said: "As strong as our conviction was, theirs was stronger."
The Jets offered defensive end Jonathan Abraham straight up for Schaub, a 2004 third-rounder out of Virginia. The deal never happened, and a year later, the Falcons shipped Schaub to the Houston Texans for a pair of second-rounders. Abraham still wound up in Atlanta in exchange for the 29th pick in the '06 draft, which the Jets used to take center Nick Mangold.
(Another little known fact, via Cimini: The Jets wanted to send that No. 29 selection to the Chargers for running back Michael Turner.)
So what would the Jets look like in that alternate reality? Well, there'd be no Favre, Sanchez or Tim Tebow, and possibly no Rex Ryan. Pennington was impressive in '06, throwing for 3,352 yards and completing 65 percent of his passes. He ranked seventh in QB efficiency that year, according to Football Outsiders, behind names like Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Tom Brady and Philip Rivers. New York went 10-6 and made the playoffs but lost to the Patriots in the wild-card game.
But midway through 2007, Mangini benched Pennington in favor of Kellen Clemens, and by August 2008, the Jets had traded for Favre.
Schaub, meanwhile, has started 68 games in six seasons with Houston, completing 65 percent of his passes for 17,856 yards, 99 touchdowns and 53 interceptions. He was 7-3 in 2011 before a foot injury ended his year, though the Texans still won the division and a playoff game.
This season, Houston is undefeated through four games. On Monday, the Texans will face the Jets in a get-together between teams going in opposite directions.
The pregame storyline would almost certainly be different had Schaub ended up in New York six years ago.
Just thought I would post!