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 .

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The Super Bowl preview from the Coach's box. The Colts need to hide their defense.

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Overall:

The Colts have had to outscore their opponents all year long. When the opponent is one dimensional, the Colt D has been able to slow them down. The Jets and the Ravens were both primarily a running team and the Colts slowed the run. Against the Jets the Colts D was hit hard by the passing of Sanchez. The Colts D made him look like anything but a rookie.

Offense:

The O is the strength of the team. The line is the smartest in the league. Manning is the best QB in the game now and one of the top 5 in the history of the league. Despite having lost 2 key receivers, the team can score in a handful of seconds from anywhere on the field. They rank 2nd in passing. But, the team can’t run a lick. They were dead last in rushing.

The Colts top 2 RBs Addai and Brown averaged 3.8 and 3.6 yards per carry respectively. In the playoffs it has been even worse. Addai is still averaging 3.8 but Brown has fallen to 2.3 per attempt. The Saints are one of the best red zone Ds in the league. Because the Colts can’t run the ball well, it makes the red zone even more dangerous. Because both teams have outstanding Os, there is a lot of pressure on both to score TDs rather than FGs when they get into the scoring zone. The Saints can run a little but the Colts will have to throw the ball to score.

Injuries have taken a toll on the passing game. The latest problem is lone vet WR Wayne has strained a knee in practice. Wayne had 100 catches and is the only vet not on IR. The next 2 WRs on the depth chart are 4th round pick in the 09 draft Collie and second year WR Garcon who had a total of 4 catches in his rookie year. With both being in their first SB, there are bound to be glitters. The TE is now the strength of the passing game. TE Clark also had 100 catches and is a match-up nightmare for any team. He is too fast and mobile for a LB and too big and strong for a S. Covering him will be easier if Wayne is not 100 percent. The Saints will probably single both Collie and Garcon and double Clark if Wayne is not on the field. I think that Wayne will be at least 80% and give the Saint D problems. Clark is the key to the passing game and the O of the Colts for the Super Bowl.

Defense

All the media coverage of the D has been on DE Freeney’s ankle. The latest news is that he will try to go but is not expected to be able to contribute much. I doubt he will be able to go. DE Brock will be an adequate replacement for Freeney. He can rush the QB but is not nearly as fast as Freeney.

The key to the Colt D is speed. They are on the whole undersized. Despite this, they were able to contain if not control the running games of both the Ravens and the Jets. The key is for the D line to keep the O line off the LBs. That allows the backers to get to the ball and keep the run to under 4 yards. That is the key to the Colts stopping the run and making the Saints one dimensional.

The other key is the Colts D backfield. Rookie DB Powers has started 12 games and has played well. The question is can he overcome rookie butterflies and perform like it is any regular season game? The Colts’ DBs will struggle with the Saints WRs. WRs Colston and Henderson are both wily vets that eat things tougher than rookie CBs for breakfast. Whichever receiver Powers is on will be Brees’ favorite target. TE Shockey has not been as much of a factor as the team had hoped for but could be in this game. OB Wheeler will be the one most likely to cover Shockey. OB Session will be needed to blitz Brees unless the front 4 can generate enough pressure. Look for 3rd WR Meachem to have a big game as well. He is hard for a starting CB to cover let alone a nickel back.

The Bottom Line:

The game plan for the Colts will be to control the clock with short and medium passes so that Brees and Co. are off the field. The one factor that gives the Colts the edge is Manning. I look for a close game to be won at the end by a drive by Manning for the winning score.

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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 is a regular contributor on Cleveland Sports Radio http://www.sportstalkcleveland.com/ Monday morning at 11. He has also published several novels on

and edits .

Technorati Tags: NFL Football,Super Bowl game plan,Super Bowl,Saints,Colts,Manning,Brees,Super Bowl game prediction
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  • Published: Oct 17th, 2009
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on What to look for this weekend in College Football.

What to look for this weekend in College Football.

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Arkansas @ 1 Florida

The Gator D shut the LSU O down last week to 3 points and less than 100 yards passing. This week Arkansas brings in another very hot offense led by former Michigan QB Mallett. The Hogs beat Auburn last week but this team plays much better at home. Look for Gator QB Tebow to look more comfortable and do more passing. The Hog D is playing better but is no match for Tebow et. al. The Gators win comfortably.

22 So. Carolina @ 2 Alabama

Alabama went to Mississippi and pummeled the Rebs 22-3. The score should have been a lot worse except for the inefficient passing game. Bama QB McElroy was only 15-35. But next to the over hyped Reb QB Snead he looked great. Snead was 11-34 with 4 interceptions. The Bama D is outstanding.

SC is much better at home where it beat then #4 Mississippi 16-10. They do not play well on the road but have a solid O led by QB Garcia (134 qb rating) and 3 good RBs. They are going to have a tough time moving against the Bama D. SC squeaked out a win last week at home against Kentucky but they will not leave Bama with one. Alabama wins.

20 Oklahoma VS. 3 Texas

This is the game of the week. The key will be how well Sooner QB Bradford really is. He was not tested too much last week against a very weak Baylor team. He will get a lot more pressure from the Texas D front 7. The Sooner running game is supposed to be outstanding but so far has not produced as advertised. Instead, they have depended on the passing game. Bradford was hurt against BYU but came back last week and looked good (27/49 389yds 1TD 0 int). That was Baylor but this is Texas.

Texas has looked steady but not spectacular against only 1 good team. They were asleep last week against Colorado until the second half. That will get them beaten badly this week. But this game is “THE” game for both teams. The Texas running game is not as good as expected either. The Oklahoma O line and the young WRs are the weak points. They won’t run the ball well and Texas wins in a tough game.

4 Virginia Tech @ 18 Georgia Tech

Since the opening loss to Alabama, no team has looked better than VTk. They beat 2 ranked teams back to back and are playing outstanding D. QB Taylor looks better each week and is making good decisions with the ball. He has a passer rating of 159.

GTk has to get out to a quick start to have any shot. They have a great running game but VTk will load the D line to take the running game away. The it will be up to GTk QB Nesbitt to move the ball in the air. He has a passer rating of 160 but is completing only 50.7 percent of his throws. Most of the TDs have been long runs after the catch because the opponent is playing the run. Nesbitt will have to complete some passes early in the game and on 1st and 2nd down because he will be blitzed heavily on 3rd and long. He will not be able to complete enough to score against VTk. VTk wins easily.

6 USC @ 25 Notre Dame

The difference in the game will be the USC D. It will stymie the ND O and harass QB Clausen. He will have to get rid of the ball very quickly which means that his WRs will have to get open. WR Rudolph has big shoes to fill due to the injury of Floyd. RB Allen is OK but the O line is no match for the USC D front 7. ND struggled to beat Washington last week.

USC has had 2 weeks to prepare for the game and QB Barkley is back. That gives USC a lift. The D has played very well despite losing a number of players last year. Forget all the talk around ND that “this is THE year.” It is not and USC will win.

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 .

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