Why was QB Matt Leinart cut?

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If you look over the list of total busts at QB from high picks, there are as many reasons as there are bad picks to explain each one.

So what happened to Matt Leinart in Arizona?

First, I was not a big Leinart fan coming out of USC. While he won the Heisman, I didn’t like the high percentage of checkdown passes he threw. In his defense, he was throwing to the highly talented (and as we found out later well paid) Reggie Bush out of the backfield. Leinart would throw a 5 yard pass that Bush would run for another 60 yards and a TD.

And it was seldom the case that Leinart was forced to throw the check because he was pressured. USC was nearly always the vastly more talented team. The average opponent may have had 1 or 2 players that could have made the USC team. He was able to take all the time he wanted in most games to wait for a receiver to get open.

Leinart was “college accurate not NFL accurate.” In college, his receivers had a 2 or 3 yard cushion to the nearest defender. Leinart was able to get the ball in that size window. That is college accuracy. However, in the NFL, the usual window is half a body or half a step. Even the great WRs are not able to get much more than that in the NFL. He struggled to fit the ball in such a small window. That led to interceptions and his 70.8 passer rating.

A third problem was that Leinart was never able to anticipate a WR getting NFL open. He was used to seeing his targets romping through the backfield of the opponent and had his choice of opportunities. In the NFL, a QB has to anticipate a WR breaking open and throw the ball BEFORE he sees it. Because of the speed and talent of the NFL DBs, by the time a QB sees a guy open, it is too late to get the ball there before the passing window slams shut.

In Arizona, the great strength is the WR position. The Cardinal O has never been consistent enough to only get 3 or 4 yards a play. The Cards need to get yards in chunks. Leinart was throwing to RBs rather than WRs Fitzgerald, Breaston and until this preseason Bolden.

But the ultimate reason that he was released is his attitude. In interviews, he indicated he was entitled to the starting job. Matt, that isn’t the way things work in the NFL. He had been handed the job twice before and was unable to win. Even the mentoring of future Hall of Fame QB Kurt Warner didn’t improve the ability to read D coverage or fix the list of things above. Leinart lost the locker room. They didn’t believe in him. Worse yet, they didn’t trust him. I have not heard a single Cardinal player speak up and say Leinart should have been the starter. My experience coaching has been once a player or coach loses the confidence of the locker room, it is almost impossible to win it back.

A wise man once said “if you think you’re a leader but no one is following you, you are just out for a long lonely walk.” We will see if his former HC at USC Carroll picks him up. When the Cards called to offer Leinart in a trade, Carroll refused to even consider it. Leinart can play for the NFL minimum because he has gotten his guaranteed money in the contract from the Cards. If the Seahawks don’t pick up off the trash heap, it will tell us all we need to know about the player.

Leinart was signed by the Texans as their 3rd QB Sunday.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on

and edits .

Technorati Tags: NFL,Cuts,Cardinals,Leinart,passing game

Niblets for August 2010

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Best comment of the month:

From Tena

I’m not a baseball fan, but this whole episode stinks to the high heavens. WHY in God’s name is congress (A group of liars if there ever was one) WASTING their valuable time on a baseball player who allegedly lied about taking drugs that may even kill him someday. The country is in the grip of a horrible mess caused by the inattention of politicians for the last 30 years. That boil is getting ready to burst,and here we have Congress trying to “look busy”. It’s really disgusting. It’s impossible for Congress to hold anyone in contempt, because that is the feeling that the entire country has -against THEM!…..

You must also become a reader of fryingpanpolitics.blog.com because I made EXACTLY the same argument. Well done.

Updates on previous columns:

LeBron, Gilbert, Miami and Cleveland LeBron came back to Cleveland for a bike fund raiser. He was roundly booed and expressed disgust that the city wanted to be paid to provide police protection for the riders. LeBron, if you though that was a bad welcome, wait till the Beach Boys come to play.

The NFL, NFLPA, and an 18 game season. If you watched any of the preseason games you saw a lot of fans wearing empty seat costumes. In most games it looked like the average attendance was around 20% of capacity. I have not found league published attendance figures but it had to be very low. That makes it even more likely that we will see the 18 game regular season in 2011 or if a lockout occurs 2012. The injuries that have continued to pile up make the players even less likely to accept 18 games without a major fight.

Fantasy Football Sleepers, handcuffs and avoids in the NFC WR Bryant DA is expected to be the 3rd WR game 1 for the Boys. Move him up on your fantasy draft lists.

As I forecast months ago, AZ QB Leinart is likely not to be the starter. I suggest you take him off your list altogether. QB Anderson might be a bye week fill in available late in the draft.

Texan RB Tate is on IR.

Bengal TE Gresham has convinced me he is the real deal. Add him to your list.

See the comment about Hawk WR Houshmandzadeh below.

Raider RB Bush hurt his thumb so badly it required surgery. He will be out 4 to 6 weeks.

Niblets fresh from the cob:

Browns RB Hardesty on IR He has a history of injury and blew out his left anterior cruciate ligament and has been put on IR. Browns fans can just hope this is not a sign he will often have injuries.

Seahawk WR Houshmandzadeh could be traded or cut. This has to be a HC Carroll issue. Wherever he goes he should be productive. The uncertainty will move him down your draft chart. Carroll wants to prove that WR Mike Williams, the former 1st round pick of the Lions and USC player, is not a bust. Look for several teams to be interested because he is a solid WR and the Hawks will have to pick up the big guarantee given to Housh by the previous administration.

Steeler QB Ben Roethlisberger’s suspension cut to 4 games. We predicted this weeks ago. Meanwhile, one candidate to replace him, QB Leftwtch, went down in preseason game 4. One report from the team said he will but out with a knee sprain 2 to 4 weeks. But his agent’s company said he tore his MCL and will miss the season.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on

and edits .

Technorati Tags: NFL Football,Fantasy Football,Fantasy draft,Fantasy draft notes,sleepers,LeBron,James,NFLPA,DeMaurice Smith,Browns,Texans,Bengals,Raiders,Cardinals,Bush,Tate,Leinart,Houshmandzadeh,Roethlisberger,steelers

Notes and thoughts on week 2 of the NFL preseason.

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This game was a “Tale of 2 QBs.” Titan QB Young and Card QB Leinart both must have good seasons to stay on their respective teams.

Young looked better in replacing QB Collins last year than ever before. However, he has to take another major step forward to become an NFL quality starter. He has reportedly worked hard to learn the O. His footwork seems better than in previous years. But still when is pressured, his improved mechanics break down. But he is still a remarkable athlete. If he ever gets “it” he can become an outstanding QB. He did make better reads than he did even last year.

RB Johnson is the best back in the game. The O line is capable of opening small holes and Johnson squeezes through them. He has outstanding speed and can break any catch or run for 6 points.

The Titan D was blitz crazy despite being in the preseason. The LBs were getting to the QB and the coverage for the most part was good. Anderson hit on one long play vs the blitz.

Leinart’s problem has been accuracy. He is not a blitz killer like Warner was and as a result, will get blitzed a lot. He also does not process information as quickly as is necessary. He tends to throw a lot to his safety valve receiver short of the line to gain even on 3rd down. That tends to generate 3 and outs.

Ex-Brown QB Anderson looked much better this week than last. He drove the ball down the field after Leinart went 3 and out on every possession he had in the 1st quarter. But Anderson showed why he is not still in Cleveland. He fired a pass to a wide open WR in the end-zone on 2nd down too high and too hot. On 3rd down he threw behind the slanting WR and the team had to kick a field goal.

Neither Cards QB got much protection. They were under a blitz or heavy pressure almost every pass. The team’s best WR Fitzgerald was out of the game with an injury.

The Cards D lost a lot in the off season but will likely be called on to do more with less. The Cards had a lot of WRs running wide open in the D Backfield. They lost a S and CB in the off season.


It was the debut of QB Farve. He threw 1 swing pass and 4 snaps and took a 1 sack. That’s all folks!

QB Jackson has a great arm but the touch of a cruise missile. The Vike running game died in the middle of last year despite having one of the best backs in the league. RB Peterson has great speed but not much ball security. He cost the team a Super Bowl spot with his fumbles in the playoffs. He also struggled due to below average play from the O line. The line has name brands but did not create much running room for AP. 3rd down RB Taylor is gone and that is hole to be filled. They will try rookie RB Gerhart in that role. The team is also missing 2 of their top 3 WRs. Rice is out with a hip and Harvin with migraines. They signed Javaun Walker to fill in for Rice who could be out half the year.

The Viking D will have the Williams’ boys despite the NFL’s desire to suspend them. The courts have enjoined the league from imposing the suspensions until the case is heard. The D will also have MLB Henderson. He has recovered from a broken leg last year and is a critical part of the zone coverage. He has the speed to cover the deep middle in the 2 deep zone.

The 49er O has some issues in the O line but former #1 pick overall in 05 QB Smith looks like he may make it. He has to have a good season or he will be gone next year. He has always had “potential” but it is time for him to show it. He has had a lot of changes in O systems because the team has fired several O Coordinators after just a year. The 9ers were in 3rd and 8+ more than any other O last year. They need Smith and RB Gore to be more effective on 1st and 2nd down. Against the Vikes, the O looked OK. Gore did not play. Replacement RB Dixon has looked good.

The 9ers took 2 O linemen with their 2 first round picks in the 2010 draft. Both will get a chance to start.

The 49er D got a lot of practice last year because they were on the field a lot. They were in the top 5 in most categories and held up as well as could be expected. The D has some stars and it is capable of taking a step up in 10.


The Fish looked good on O, but they were in water so they should have. As in their first game, the rain was a factor in the first half. QB Henne has enough arm strength to stick the ball into tight coverage. He has shown better accuracy and has better receivers now that 2nd year Bess had developed into a reliable 3rd down back and with the addition of WR Marshall. TE Fasano is Henne’s favorite target in the red zone. QB Pennington is an outstanding backup.

The Dolphin D is a work in progress. It ranked in the 20’s in most ratings last year. If the Dolphins are going to challenge for the AFC East title, it will have to play better than that. The team focused on D in the draft and have a couple of rookies that can help but need to develop.

The Dolphins special teams are bad. They have allowed 2 punt blocks so far and have given up return yardage like Congress hands out cash–in bunches.

The Jags are a mess and things didn’t get any better when starting QB Garrard went down with an injury. The pressure is on both him and his HC Del Rio. Both will be gone in 2011 unless the Jags can turn the team around. Back up McCown is capable. WR Thomas is developing well and should have a good year. The O line has talent but other than LT Monroe and LG Manuwai have yet to develop. RT Britton has potential.

The Jag D looks soft as well. DEs Kampman and Harvey are solid but the DTs need to help with a pass rush. Thus far in the preseason that has not happened. The rest of the D are nothing special.


TB QB Freeman continues to stare down his target. That is why he threw 10 TDs last year and 18 picks. He got hurt in the game. Freeman has broken the tip of his thumb on the passing hand. He was replaced by QB Johnson who played well but it was against the TB D.

TB needs RB Williams to stay healthy. He has had knee injuries in 07 and 08. There is very little behind him. FB Graham is a high effort guy with very little athleticism or speed.

TB WR Mike Williams looks really good so far. He has above-average hands and FBI (Football Intelligence).

The pressure in on KC QB Cassel and the O line in front of him. Cassel has developed some bad habits like the classic stare down of the WR. That happens in part because he doesn’t have enough confidence in his protection.

KC ex-Jet RB Jones will help the O but fumbled on his first carry in this game. Jones is still a RB Charles is exciting but is not a 300 carry back. One rookie to watch is RB/WR/KR McCluster from Mississippi St. He is very quick and very tough to tackle because of his size. Despite that, he was a starting RB in the Southeast Conference.

For other games check out my article on NFL News, notes and rumors on

Technorati Tags: nfl,preseason,Dolphins,Jaguars,Chiefs,Buccaneers,Cardinals,Titans,Vikings,49ers,Browns,nfl draft,Young,Smith,Freeman,Leinart,Garrard

ANALYSIS: What do you do with a young benched starting QB?

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As things have worked out so far, the 2006 draft was not exactly the fountain of NFL quarterbacking excellence it was thought to be. That isn’t unusual. It is virtually impossible to judge a draft until 3 years have passed. Jay Cutler was taken by the Broncos and has done well enough to start. But even he was considered trade bait by new HC Josh McDaniels. So let’s take a look at 4 QB’s drafted in 06 that were supposed to be the future of the teams that picked them.

Vince Young TN #3-06 Earlier this off season, Young said he was not happy about being told he would back up Kerry Collins again in 2009. Now he has told The Sporting News and anyone else that will listen that he wants to start for Tennessee or be traded to a team that will start him.

In Young’s first year he started the last 13 games. The team went 8-5 over that stretch but it had very little to do with Young’s passing. His 51.5% competition rate and passer rating of 66.7 didn’t get it done. In 07, he started all but 1 game and had increased his competition rate to 62.3% but the 9 TDs were overshadowed by his 17 interceptions. Again, a 71.1 passer rating is not good enough.

When he was drafted there was talk about he and Mike Vick being the new bread of QBs in the NFL. Not so much. Both were victims of the learning curve in at the pro level and the transition from the college spread offense to the NFL under center passing game. They have taken somewhat related paths since then—Vick in prison for dog fighting and Young in the dog house of the coaching staff of the Titans.

Analysis: Vince—here is the problem. You are fundamentally unsound. Your mechanics are horrible. Your competition rate is inconsistent and you have never mastered the playbook. Until you are able to be consistent and execute the playbook effectively, expect to be riding the aluminum and carrying the clipboard for whatever team you end up with. Even if Collins gets hurt, I am not convinced that Young will get the call to replace him for any length of time.

I do not believe that Young will ever succeed at QB. The best he will ever achieve is a very good wild cat style QB. Young can not read defenses. He can not learn the playbook. He can not seem to get his mechanics straightened out.

Matt Leinart AZ #10-06 Like Vince Young, Leinart was a can’t miss prospect. He was shocked that he fell to the 10th overall pick. He was smart. He came from the pro style offense of USC and he was a winner. He was allowed to start from the 5th game on due to an injury to Kurt Warner from a totally inept line. Leinart did OK but his 74.0 passer rating wasn’t good enough to guarantee him the job in 07. With a new coaching staff, Leinart lost the QB competition to Warner in many minds but was still named the starter. In game 3, Warner was put in to try to pull the game out in the second half. Warner went 15 for 20 2 TDs and a QB rating of 150 against the Ravens. That was the beginning of the end for Leinart starting.

In 08 there was little doubt that Warner would be the starter. There was a preseason competition, but Warner started and led the team to the NFC West title and the Super Bowl.

Analysis: Leinart is probably the QB of the future for the Cards. The only question is when will the future get here. He clearly has not progressed along with the rest of the team. His 2.25 million salary cap is friendly enough to keep him around. Warner will play another couple of years most likely. Then, maybe, it will be Leinart time.

Kellen Clemens NJ #49-06 A second round QB does not have the pressure that a early first round pick carries into camp. He started most of the games in the second half of 2007 taking over for an injured Chad Pennington. His 52% competition rate and 60.9 QB rating was less than impressive. Even so, he went into the 08 season with a chance to win the starting QB position from Pennington. But when the owner decided he wanted to grab the back page of the Post by signing Bret Favre, Clemens was second string and Pennington was history.

Analysis: This season, the Jets traded up to get Mark Sanchez with the 5th pick. Clemens will be a reserve or elsewhere in 09.

Tarvaris Jackson MN #64-06 Jackson has been the designated starter for the Vikes since the end of the 06 season. In 07 he started 12 games but was hurt badly enough to miss 4 others. He amassed a 70.8 passer rating and 58.2 competition percentage. The team depended on the running of Adrian Peterson. When the opponent put 87 guys on the line of scrimmage, the Vikes offense stalled because Jackson was too inaccurate to take advantage of the situation.

Analysis: It is looking more and more like Jackson will get “Favred” like Pennington and Clemens did last year. Expect Favre to come if he can lift a football above his shoulder and maybe even if he can’t. Jackson is not going to be the future QB of the Vikes. After a second Favre disaster in 2 years for 2 teams, the Vikes will make other arrangements.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: NFL,COLLEGE FOOTBALL,NFL DRAFT,Young,Leinart,Pennington,Clemens,Titans,Cardinals,Jets,Vikings,salary cap

Saturday Niblets from around the net for 03/07/09

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Fryingpan Sports

Saturday Niblets from around the net for 03/07/09


By Bill Smith

Best comment of the week from Jack Lochrie [Long-suffering Lions fan]

on Beware of the Combine Warrior‏

I have some unsolicited advice for the Lions: Ignore all of the underclassmen in the April college draft, regardless of their assumed future potential and press clippings. The seniors have an extra year or two of maturity growth that will serve them well in the teeny, tiny, remote possibility they will need to cope with some setbacks in their early years with the Lions. The Lions’s management needs to be focusing on building a winning team, without the distraction of providing day care for fragile egos.

Note: Martin Mayhew has not yet called me for my objective opinions on the draft. ;~)

Updates on previous articles:

On KC’s trade for QB Cassel resulted in some unforeseen repercussions.

Adam Schefter, of the NFL Network, reports Denver Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels said the team will not trade QB Jay Cutler. “Let me be as clear as I can about this. We are not trading Jay Cutler – period,” McDaniels said. McDaniels will meet with QB Jay Cutler next week.

My Analysis: Josh, you might want to put your foot back in your mouth. Your comment would have a lot more credibility if you had not participated in the home version of “Let’s make a deal.” The Broncos had a huge locker room problem with the firing of Mike Shanahan. Josh if you can’t put out the fire, at least stop throwing gas on it.

On Major League Baseball gets “BALCOed” right between the eyes

Alex Rodriguez now has a torn labrum, is considering surgery that would cause him to miss some time. The furor over the admission that he used steroids had just begun to subside and then this news hit the wire. He may decide to try to play through the injury but that will likely reduce his productivity.

My Analysis: The official Yankee position is that A-Rod would miss 10 weeks if he had the surgery. Fantasy fans that drafted him already should be prepared to see him out until the All Star game. Hopefully he will not use steroids to get back sooner.

Barry “Balco” Bonds who will be 45 this year wants to make a comeback. His agent is trying to find a team that will sign him. The only reason he is available is that his purgery trial has been postponed so he won’t be wearing prison stripes this season.

My Analysis: Barry, don’t make things worse. Stay out of the game. Haven’t you done enough to hurt the game that did so much for you?

On My impressions of the first 2 days of the NFL Combine.

WR Michael Crabtree of Texas Tech has decided to have surgery on his foot now. This is a good move and the lack of an official 40 time should not hurt his draft stock too much.

On Will Vince Young ever be an NFL quality QB?

Major Adams, agent for Young, says that Vince wants to regain the starting position for the Titans again. “He is preparing like he is going to start.”

My Analysis: Well DAH! Vince, you can prepare all you want but until you learn to read coverages and the playbook, you will be a VERY expensive backup.

Beckham is coming back—Yeah?

David Beckham is reportedly coming back to the LA Galaxy after the AC Milan season is over. He has missed over half the season and has violated the “lending” agreement between the two teams in which he was supposed to be back to LA on Monday.

My Advice: DON’T BOTHER. Nobody cares, David. Stay in Europe and keep your over hyped wife there too.

Florida State will be penalized by the NCAA

FSU will be penalized for student athletes cheating on an on-line test. The penalty will affect all FSU sports and will cost the football team scholarships, a 4 year probation, and some wins off their record. According to a release by the NCAA Bobby Bowden who was not personally implicated in the scandal could lose as many as 14 wins in his race the Joe Paterno for the all time record for college wins. 67 players in 10 sports were involved. Virtually all the FSU sports are involved including the womens programs. According to the NCAA, the violations go back to 2006. FSU says it will oppose any loss of wins or championships.

Why the Cardinals REALLY needed to get Warner resigned:

Bill Kipouras, of The Salem News reported on a conversation with QB Brian St. Pierre about his position with the team. “I got a raise and (Whisenhunt) said he’d let me compete with Matt Leinart for the No. 2 job,” St. Pierre said. “I trust the coach. I’ve enjoyed him, and my wife Joceyln and I both love Arizona. It’s he best decision we could have made.”

My Advice: If Coach Whisenhunt thinks St. Pierre is competitive with Leinart, the team needs to start looking soon for a QB of the future. St. Pierre has no future in the league what so ever. If Leinart is in the same class, he doesn’t either.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

My email is [email protected]

Technorati Tags: Lions,Chiefs,Cassel,McDaniels,Cutler,Broncos,Rodriguez,torn labrum,Fantasy Baseball,Yankees,BALCO,Bonds,perjury,jail,NFL Combine,NFL,NFL Draft,Young,Beckham,College football,Florida State,Bowden. Paterno,ncaa,Cardinals,Warner,Leinart,St. Peirre Whisenhunt,NFL Network

Has Kurt Warner already punched his ticket to the Hall of Fame?

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Fryingpan Sports

Has Kurt Warner already punched his ticket to the Hall of Fame?


By Bill Smith

Technorati Tags: Warner, Super Bowl, Cardinals, Giants, NFL, NFL DRAFT, Rams, Leinart, Manning, NFC, AFC, MVP, Whisenhunt, Green, Vermeil, Martz

Kurt Warner will be only the third QB in the history of the NFL to go to the Super Bowl with 2 different teams. But unlike Craig Morton (1970 Dallas & 1977 Denver when he had a passer rating of 0.0 in the Super Bowl vs. Dallas) or Earl Morrall (1968 Baltimore & 1972 Miami who was benched for a recovered Bob Griese) Kurt carried the entire franchise on his back all the way to Tampa Bay. Most of you probably know that.

Warner has also ranked right at the top since 2003 in NFL history for all time quarterback rating. He was #1 after the 2003 season, and is now #3 (as of the end of 07). Most of the other guys below him on that list are already in the Hall. But you probably never thought about the two teams that Kurt took to the Super Bowl.

1999 St. Louis Lambs—The lambs were perhaps the most dysfunctional team in the league. Head coach Dick Vermeil almost walked away for the second time in his career after the 1998 4-12 season. The Rosenblooms were about ready to fire the entire staff at the end of the 1998 season but decided to give them one more chance. The Lambs had so much faith in Kurt Warner that they put him on the expansion draft list for the Browns. The Browns could have selected him as a vet allocation player. Had they selected Warner, the fortunes of both teams would have been totally different.

Then in a preseason game, starting QB Trent Green went down with a season ending injury. Vermeil looked around and the only one standing there ready to take the ball—Kurt Warner. All Kurt did was carry the team with the able assistance of another newcomer to the Lambs Marshall Faulk to a 13-3 record and a Super Bowl. Kurt won the 1999 league MVP and the Super Bowl MVP. Vermeil quit on top and the offensive coordinator Mike Martz took over as head coach. The Lambs were officially the Rams again and being called the Greatest show on Turf.

Over the next two seasons, the Rams went 24-8 and were in the NFC championship game both years and the Super Bowl once. In the 2001 season, Kurt again won the league MVP but the Rams lost the Super Bowl to the Pats on a field goal in the last seconds of the game.

There were differences between the Vermeil and Martz systems. The biggest one is that Martz didn’t believe in keeping a TE or RB in to help protect the QB. Add that to the rotation of what were at best average O-linemen because of injury and the QBs got hit often and hard.

In 2002, the all pro left tackle Orlando Pace went down along with a couple of other members of the O line. Warner suffered a broken hand in the 6th game of the season. Bulger took over as the starter. In 02 the Rams went 7-9 and in 03 with Bulger at the helm they went 12-4 but didn’t make the Super Bowl. Since then the Rams have become the Lambs again and have regrown their wool. They have been sheared regularly by every team in the NFL. After the beating that Kurt took in the Martz system, he was never able to get healthy again at St. Louis.

In 2004 Warner was released and signed with the Giants. He tutored rookie Eli Manning and helped turn the other Manning into a future Super Bowl QB. In 2005 Warner went to Arizona again to be the tutor and mentor to a rookie QB Matt Leinart. In both cases, the organization had to put the first round rookies in even though Warner was the better QB. They had not only used high first round choices on them, the teams’ GMs had spent millions of dollars to sign them. But in 05 at Arizona, Warner started 10 games because Leinart wasn’t ready to start. In 06 Kurt started the season but the coaching staff was feeling the heat over the Leinart draft and head coach Dennis Green put the youngster in at Atlanta in game 5 then let him start at home against the Chiefs in game 6. He struggled and was only able to produce a QB rating of 74 in 10 games that season. Also being as fragile as fine china, he went down again in game 15 and was replaced by Warner.

In 07 Ken Whisenhunt became the head coach replacing Green. Whisenhunt was not wedded to the Leinart pick but did start him in game 1. Warner came in as a relief pitcher in games 3-5 and won two of them. Again, Leinart went down and Warner came to the rescue. Kurt played very well in 07 despite suffering a major injury to his left (non-throwing) arm due to poor pass protection but still had a passer rating of 89.8.

In 08, Whisenhunt named Leinart the starter but promised to have an open competition. Kurt won the competition and had another MVP type season and was a favorite until the Cards hit a rough patch late in the regular season. But in the playoffs, Kurt was back at the very top of his game. Despite very questionable pass protection, almost no running game, and a very up and down defense, Kurt led the Cards to the Super Bowl. In the game against the Eagles for the NFC championship, he had a perfect passer rating of 158.3.

In my opinion, even if he can not reproduce the 1999 Rams magic and win the 09 Super Bowl, Kurt has done enough to earn election to the NFL Hall of Fame. He has done more with less than most of those QBs already there.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for NFLDraftDog.com and edits fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

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