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Leinart going in the wrong direction?

Cardinals quarterback Matt Leinart, the 2004 Heisman winner who has to date been a bust in the NFL, made a much-publicized effort to improve his fortunes by spending part of the offseason engaged in MMA training with FOX’s Jay Glazer.

Though it might have transformed the “pretty boy” into a “killer,” Leinart also could be on track to becoming an “emergency quarterback.”

Leinart reportedly is in a battle with Brian St. Pierre, a guy coach Ken Whisenhunt brought from Pittsburgh, to serve as Kurt Warner’s backup.

I think they’re just pushing me, as they’ve been doing for a long time
now,” Leinart said Tuesday, according to the Associated Press.  “I’ve been through a lot
the last couple of years and seen a lot of different situations and
stuff, so what’s another one for the books?”

Leinart also takes issue with the notion that he’s a bust.

“For me, it’s just nonsense,” Leinart said. “I’ve learned you don’t pay
attention to that stuff.  Guys are going to try to create controversy or
drama and all that kind of stuff.  One little article is not going to
put me down.  I’ve been through a lot more than that.”

But it’s more than “controversy” or “drama.”  It’s fact.

Leinart has a career passer rating of 71.7.  And, after starting eleven games as a rookie under coach Dennis Green, Leinart has been unable to win the trust of Whisenhunt. 

In 2007, Kurt Warner began making relief-style appearances when the Cardinals would fall behind, with Leinart typically returning only after the spark provided by Warner helped erase any scoreboard deficits.  Leinart reportedly said that he wanted the team to “ride or die with me,” and then a broken collarbone made Warner the full-time quarterback for the rest of the season.

And last year Whisenhunt threw Leinart and the rest of the league a curve ball by benching Leinart and elevating Warner, who took the team to the Super Bowl.

So instead of Leinart trying to knock off Warner in 2009, Leinart finds himself potentially sliding down another notch — which possibly could get him traded or cut, in our view.

“To be talking about a competition at the second-team quarterback to me
just means there’s not a whole lot else going on,” Whisenhunt said, “because
nobody talks about the battles for the second-team running back or the
second-team linebacker and there’s no difference in my eyes.”

Sorry, Coach.  The gradual disintegration of the career of a top-ten draft pick is always newsworthy.  It was one thing to be leapfrogged by a two-time league MVP; this year, the fact that Leinart is in danger of being overcome by a bona fide journeyman slapola merits rubbernecking.

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26 Responses to “Leinart going in the wrong direction?”
  1. Big Stretch says: Aug 5, 2009 8:11 AM

    Hey Florio how about a story on the possibility Ramsey overtaking Young out in tennessee?

  2. Fan_Of_ Four says: Aug 5, 2009 8:14 AM

    Anyone else think Matt Leinart looks like a 70′s porn star ?

  3. Banvard316 says: Aug 5, 2009 8:17 AM

    The guy is sitting behind Warner who could have been the MVP last year. Its not like he is Alex Smith who cant beat out Shaun Hill for a job…now thats what you call a bust!

  4. EdR says: Aug 5, 2009 8:25 AM

    I think Whisenhunt wanted Warner the whole time, but the internal pressure was for Fatt Leinart to be given the job. Now Whis has a NFC title under his belt, he can exile the fat, wussy, cry baby!

  5. Big Vinny says: Aug 5, 2009 8:30 AM

    He and Vince Young are in a fierce battle to be the next Ryan Leaf.

  6. zangy says: Aug 5, 2009 9:12 AM

    No one will ever match the douchebaggery of Ryan Leaf, sorry.
    Who was the last USC qb to do well in the NFL? Seriously? Don’t say Carson Palmer, one playoff appearance in what, 8 years??

  7. AdamEagle5 says: Aug 5, 2009 9:16 AM

    @ Fan_Of_Four
    he doesn’t have the mustache for it.

  8. Brohamma says: Aug 5, 2009 9:26 AM

    Leinart needs to be traded and get a new start.
    I mean seriously people.. he plays for the Cardboards! They finally make an appearence at the Super Bowl and now everyone is projecting a dynasty type of atmosphere for this team?
    Arizona is an armpit!
    Now I’m no Leinart fan.. but honestly, since when have they had a reputation as a team which builds quarterbacks?!
    If he’s able to land on a team, such as the Texans where Kubiak is or Washington and get some time under Zorn.. or any team which knows HOW to develop a QB then Leinart, and the team which gets him will both benefit.

  9. Bill In DC says: Aug 5, 2009 9:30 AM

    What part of ‘bust’ does he fail to understand? Not sure how a #1 pick who, after several years, is fighting to remain a backup with an undrafted free agent instead of becoming a franchise type starting QB cannot be counted as a ‘bust’. It isn’t ‘nonsense’, but Leinhart’s response clearly is.

  10. Journeyman says: Aug 5, 2009 9:30 AM

    I thought he would be a good QB and he still might someday, but he never seems to take his job serious.

  11. gonzolo4 says: Aug 5, 2009 9:36 AM

    What a shame, maybe he should have gone pro 1 year before he did. Then he would have at least gotten 1 pick money from the niners instead of Alex Smith, now that guy sucks.

  12. Okey says: Aug 5, 2009 9:39 AM

    Just another example in an ever growing list of reasons why the NFL DESPERATELY needs a rookie salary cap. Millions of dollars waisted on unproven players (rookies) is irresponsible an extremmely poor business ethics.

  13. Outsyder says: Aug 5, 2009 9:40 AM

    Trade him to Denver. He’s bigger than Cassel and was obviously better than him at USC. Both sides could be happy.

  14. tv says: Aug 5, 2009 9:42 AM

    If you look at many of the USC “studs” they have not been very successful in the NFL. The reason is that USC is vastly overrated. They play no one in the Pac 10 (a very weak conference top to bottom) and have maybe a “tough” game during the year, then a bowl. Both “tough” games (including the bowl) are typically played against the weak-assed Big 10. The one bowl they didn’t play the Big 10, TX kicked their ass.
    Put USC in the SEC and they would have 3-4 losses per year. Yet the media thinks they are an NFL team. Absurd!!

  15. KILLER FIN says: Aug 5, 2009 10:23 AM

    Trade him & give him the chance to succeed some where else!!!

  16. hrmlss says: Aug 5, 2009 10:32 AM

    He’s “Been through a lot” . Poor Multi-Millionaire, partying with underage girls. Getting paid to wear a hat and carry a clipboard. Douche.

  17. Rauler says: Aug 5, 2009 10:46 AM

    When you’re a quarterback at a great school with superb athletes in the skills positions you will most likely fail in the NFL. Their environment hides their flaws.

  18. topcide says: Aug 5, 2009 10:57 AM

    USC has feaking stacked team every year, the talent level paired with Pete’s pro connections, and being smack dab in Socal.
    A QB going off at USC is easy when every player on the team is usually on par with the top players on other teams. Then they get drafted high, go to a shitty team and the corner backs they face can actually makes plays, and the D ends are rocking the shit out of them because they dont have top notch protection anymore, and they don’t have the best athletes to throw and hand off too. But hey, since the draf pay is retarted they get millions to blow.

  19. RIP__21 says: Aug 5, 2009 11:02 AM

    He plays with the BEST wr tandem in football and still only managed a 72 qb rating. That my friends is a busta rhymes.

  20. Big Vinny says: Aug 5, 2009 12:12 PM

    Go ahead and add him to the growing list of sure-thing first-round busts.
    Remember when he first go to Phoenix and he was out partying with Paris Hilton and Britney Spears? And people actually cared? How long ago that must feel like for those three douchebags.

  21. rusH1023 says: Aug 5, 2009 12:26 PM

    @ Outsyder
    That’s like comparing Drew Henson to Tom Brady. You must be mildly retarded.

  22. Banvard316 says: Aug 5, 2009 12:51 PM

    Leinart needs to be traded and get a new start.
    I mean seriously people.. he plays for the Cardboards! They finally make an appearence at the Super Bowl and now everyone is projecting a dynasty type of atmosphere for this team?
    Arizona is an armpit!
    Now I’m no Leinart fan.. but honestly, since when have they had a reputation as a team which builds quarterbacks?!
    If he’s able to land on a team, such as the Texans where Kubiak is or Washington and get some time under Zorn.. or any team which knows HOW to develop a QB then Leinart, and the team which gets him will both benefit.
    YOU’RE AN IDIOT! The cardinals finally have a great coaching staff in place. A WINNING coaching staff in place and they went with Warner so how could you say the Arizona cant “build” a QB when this staff hasn’t had to? I love how people just type to type…..You know New England and the Eagles were bad for a long time too now maybe not as long as the cardinals but Bidwill said you give him his own stadium and he would spend money on the team…well he got his stadium and in 4 years the team went to the Super Bowl and was 2 minutes from winning the damn thing!

  23. Slugbait says: Aug 5, 2009 4:05 PM

    Leinart made a huge mistake by choosing to dance over being drafted by the 49ers…a team rich with history, ratings and rings. Sure, they sucked, but most teams picking in the top 10 suck. He really had no place to go but sideways by staying in school.
    Instead of going sideways, he went down…he lost the prestige of being a No. 1 pick, he didn’t make 8 million dollars in 2005, and he didn’t get to a market that was as close to “Hollywood” as he could possibly get.
    Then he holds out. Drafted 10th, he’s the LAST player to sign, demanding (and getting) Alex Smith money. Yippee, way to go!
    He would have had no problem competing for the starting job in SF, and instead had to compete against someone old enough to be his dad…and lost.
    He could have easily finished his “college studies” after his rookie season ended and still got his diploma. But he didn’t want to play for such a loser of a team…instead he gets the Arizona Cardinals.
    He can always say, “My team got to the Super Bowl last year!” But in reality, Warner’s team got to the Super Bowl last year.
    Weird…I just convinced myself that he’s a bust…

  24. Troyfan1 says: Aug 5, 2009 4:09 PM

    TV is an idiot. USC has hammered teams from every conference over the past 7 years. Michigan, Penn St., Ohio St., Illinois, Arkansas twice (SEC), Auburn twice (SEC), Oklahoma (Big 12), Virginia (ACC). The Texas game was an aberration as USC had that game won with 6 minutes to play, but gave it away on a poor 4th and 2 play on offense with 2:45 left in the 4th, and bad defense to wrap it up. I know, I was there…
    As far as Leinart goes, he plays maybe half of year 1, 11 games in year 2, breaks his collarbone, and gets beat out by Warner last year (kudos to Warner). However, Warner is a two time MVP and Super Bowl champ, is no chump, and is quite a different passer. 3 steps and fire is what Warner does. The fact that AZ has a crummy offensive line and no running game means you need a QB like Warner to be sucessful. How many QB’s have you seen come out of college and had any real success in their first two years anyway? Not many and certainly not when they are not a good fit or have played partial years so as not to get into any rythym.
    Bottom line is Leinart is not a good fit with a team with no running game or O-line. Most QB’s aren’t unless they have a quick release or can scramble. I think it is fair to say he could be a bust, based on his attitude, not talent level. But he seems to have realized that and is making an effort to get his head in the game. I will be interested to see what happens should he get another shot.

  25. tv says: Aug 6, 2009 8:33 AM

    Troyfan1 – USC sucks and their players are vastly overrated, as is the team. If they were as “great” as proclaimed, they wouldn’t be sitting on NFL benches. You are a fool to believe the LA media bias.
    Further you are an idiot because you actually prove my point for me. You mention only 10 “tough” games in 7 yrs. Every team in the SEC has that many in ONE SEASON! 2 yrs ago LSU (Natl Champ year) played EIGHT games against top 15 opponents while SC played only 2 ranked in the top 25 (and one was the Rose Bowl game). WOW, what studs!!! And they lost to Stanford that year as well.
    Most of the teams you mention are Big 10 teams. That conference should be DII – take those out and USC has had 6 “tough” games in a 7 yr period. Call me impressed!

  26. Troyfan1 says: Aug 6, 2009 6:18 PM

    TV – USC has beaten every team in its non-conference schedule for the last 7 years. Beyond a couple of slips to Oregon St. (who by the way has won 9 or 10 games the last three years) and a major oops to Stanford, what else do you have? No team in any of the conferences USC has played has come close except Texas in 2005 Rose Bowl. Maybe the Pac 10 is tougher than you think. After all your mighty SEC wasn’t 5-0 in bowl games last year. Further, your argument about LSU is weak. I checked their non-conf schedule the last few years. As I suspected, along with all the other schools in the SEC, such powerhouse teams as App St., Vanderbuilt(should be D2 not SEC), North Texas, Troy, Arkansas St., UL Monroe are on the schedule every year. Not to mention mighty undefeated Alabama got their heads handed to them in the Sugar Bowl by Utah. Now that unlike the Texas USC game was a blow out.
    The SEC edges the PAC 10 by about 100 players in the NFL. Considering it has more teams, that is not saying much especially if the SEC is so dominant.
    Your logic IS impressive…

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