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Why did Matt Leinart fail in the NFL? (1 Viewer)

timschochet

Footballguy
Matt Leinart was released by Buffalo today, which very likely ends his NFL career.

I watched Matt Leinart all the time in college. He may be the best college QB I've ever seen. Certainly in the top 5. If he didn't have a strong enough arm, I didn't see that. He threw it over the top with great accuracy. He showed good leadership on the field. He seemed to have all the "intangibles".

So what happened? For whatever reason Leinart sucked as an NFL QB. You can't blame injuries- for most of the time he was fairly healthy. Some blame his attitude and lack of work ethic, but other quarterbacks have been accused of the same and have been more successful.

I thought for sure this guy was going to be a franchise NFL quarterback. What happened?

 
Didn't have great arm strength. This may be unfair, but there was a perception he was kind of a party boy. Also, I see the same issue with him that I saw with Sanchez. While playing on loaded USC teams with great WR talent, guys were running around the field wide open and he didn't have to make the kind of throws in college that he needed to in the NFL.

 
I keep thinking about that 2005 Rose Bowl. A lot of people consider it the greatest college football game ever, and it certainly lived up to that. But people also said we were looking at the NFL of the future, with Leinart, Vince Young, Reggie Bush, LenDale White. These guys were all supposed to dominate on Sundays.

 
I don't have an answer.

Weak arm? Bad work ethic? Bad recognition skills? Some combination of all of the above?

Lots of awesome college QBs fail in the NFL. The game is faster. The windows are smaller. Playing QB in the NFL must be insanely difficult because at any given time there are only 20-25 people on the planet who can do it halfway well.

 
I don't have an answer.

Weak arm? Bad work ethic? Bad recognition skills? Some combination of all of the above?

Lots of awesome college QBs fail in the NFL. The game is faster. The windows are smaller. Playing QB in the NFL must be insanely difficult because at any given time there are only 20-25 people on the planet who can do it halfway well.
At least it is a highly specialized skill set. Would be interesting if a truly successful NFL QB developer went back to college and brought on a new generation.

 
Weak arm. Terrible footwork. Wouldn't stay (or step up) in the pocket at the slightest hint of pressure. His first instinct every single time was to roll to his left (cutting off 3/4's of the passing field in the process).

Game never slowed down for the guy.

 
Weak work ethic.

Weak character when it came to dealing with adversity. I like to see a college player fail and get back up and take charge, I just don't remember seeing that with him. He sure didn't do it in the NFL.

 
I don't have an answer.

Weak arm? Bad work ethic? Bad recognition skills? Some combination of all of the above?

Lots of awesome college QBs fail in the NFL. The game is faster. The windows are smaller. Playing QB in the NFL must be insanely difficult because at any given time there are only 20-25 people on the planet who can do it halfway well.
At least it is a highly specialized skill set. Would be interesting if a truly successful NFL QB developer went back to college and brought on a new generation.
I'm not sure how much it can really be taught. Obviously coaching matters and will play an important role, but at some level I think it's something you either have or you don't.

I remember watching Luck during his redshirt freshman season at Stanford. There was just something different to him. He always seemed to make a play.

There are dozens upon dozens of tall, strong-armed guys who can throw a tight spiral. What separates the Luck/Rodgers/Brady of the world from the Boller/Carr/Russell seems to be completely mental. I'm not quite sure what it is. Speed of thought. Speed of recognition. Anticipation. For whatever reason, the former can thrive under pressure and consistently hit the open target where the others fold. It must be really hard because hardly anybody can do it. The drop in quality from the typical NFL starting QB to his backup is usually massive. You can almost always plug and play your backup RB and get decent results, but you stick your backup QB in there and you're in big trouble usually.

 
Weak work ethic.

Weak character when it came to dealing with adversity. I like to see a college player fail and get back up and take charge, I just don't remember seeing that with him. He sure didn't do it in the NFL.
I agree with this.

Also, his moment of truth came last year when he was primed to step in for Schaub in a playoff run year. he could have had fulfillment of promise and redemption in one scene. But he rapidly got hurt. Sometimes luck plays a role too.

 
Arm strength was definitely part of it. It's not just how far you can throw deep with arc on the ball, but whether you can drive it in there before a small window closes. I recall someone breaking down video of him and showing a number of his throws that were perfectly good throws in college for completions, that didn't have the zip on them that would be necessary to complete the same pass in the NFL where the corners don't get fooled as much and can close quicker.

You can get by in the NFL with an arm like that but then you need some other special attributes. Recognition to see where the pass needs to go and get rid of it earlier since you don't have that zip. He didn't have those extra attributes he needed to make up for it.

 
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The scenarios he kept getting handed to him were too perfect.

NFL teams were hamstrung by a salary cap in a way USC was not.

Recent decline in market demand for left handed, weak armed ####### with suspect work ethics.

Either that or...

...He's bad at football and never cared enough to be good at it.

 
I really think it comes down to a lack of desire. I have never seen him show any form of emotion on the NFL field.

Also, wearing a hat in the hot tub leads to failure.

 
All achievement is some combination of talent, plus hard work, plus opportunity, plus situation.

It's easy to see, in retrospect, which factors had the largest multipliers in Leinart's case. It's not always so obvious until we have the benefit of hindsight.

 
I used to think he was misunderstood. That he just need a second or third or fourth chance. He's got no love for the game. Just cashing paychecks. The play that symbolizes Matt Leinart's career in a nutshell was when he came in to mop up in a game that Carson Palmer got hurt and he ended up throwing the ball away under pressure, and it was already 4th down. No heart, no will to win, no gumption, just straight ####y. Come to think about it, maybe it's a USC QB thing, quitting when the going gets tough.

 
Is this a serious question?? His arm is good enough to be a good QB, but ONLY if he had top tier intagibles. He unfortunately has bottom tier intagibles. He is lazy, a poor leader, with poor arm strength and from what I saw not that great of accuracy. His attitude and mental makeup is his biggest downfall.

he has NOTHING in common with the good NFL QBs out there

 
I don't have an answer.

Weak arm? Bad work ethic? Bad recognition skills? Some combination of all of the above?

Lots of awesome college QBs fail in the NFL. The game is faster. The windows are smaller. Playing QB in the NFL must be insanely difficult because at any given time there are only 20-25 people on the planet who can do it halfway well.
At least it is a highly specialized skill set. Would be interesting if a truly successful NFL QB developer went back to college and brought on a new generation.
I'm not sure how much it can really be taught. Obviously coaching matters and will play an important role, but at some level I think it's something you either have or you don't.

I remember watching Luck during his redshirt freshman season at Stanford. There was just something different to him. He always seemed to make a play.

There are dozens upon dozens of tall, strong-armed guys who can throw a tight spiral. What separates the Luck/Rodgers/Brady of the world from the Boller/Carr/Russell seems to be completely mental. I'm not quite sure what it is. Speed of thought. Speed of recognition. Anticipation. For whatever reason, the former can thrive under pressure and consistently hit the open target where the others fold. It must be really hard because hardly anybody can do it. The drop in quality from the typical NFL starting QB to his backup is usually massive. You can almost always plug and play your backup RB and get decent results, but you stick your backup QB in there and you're in big trouble usually.
Funny that you mentioned Tom Brady. When he was a Michigan QB, wasn't Drew Henson the guy all the scouts were drooling about? Brady didn't come into the NFL with that much stronger of an arm than Leinart, did he?
 
I don't have an answer.

Weak arm? Bad work ethic? Bad recognition skills? Some combination of all of the above?

Lots of awesome college QBs fail in the NFL. The game is faster. The windows are smaller. Playing QB in the NFL must be insanely difficult because at any given time there are only 20-25 people on the planet who can do it halfway well.
At least it is a highly specialized skill set. Would be interesting if a truly successful NFL QB developer went back to college and brought on a new generation.
I'm not sure how much it can really be taught. Obviously coaching matters and will play an important role, but at some level I think it's something you either have or you don't.

I remember watching Luck during his redshirt freshman season at Stanford. There was just something different to him. He always seemed to make a play.

There are dozens upon dozens of tall, strong-armed guys who can throw a tight spiral. What separates the Luck/Rodgers/Brady of the world from the Boller/Carr/Russell seems to be completely mental. I'm not quite sure what it is. Speed of thought. Speed of recognition. Anticipation. For whatever reason, the former can thrive under pressure and consistently hit the open target where the others fold. It must be really hard because hardly anybody can do it. The drop in quality from the typical NFL starting QB to his backup is usually massive. You can almost always plug and play your backup RB and get decent results, but you stick your backup QB in there and you're in big trouble usually.
Funny that you mentioned Tom Brady. When he was a Michigan QB, wasn't Drew Henson the guy all the scouts were drooling about? Brady didn't come into the NFL with that much stronger of an arm than Leinart, did he?
Neither did Drew Brees. It seems like arm strength can be developed in certain quarterbacks even well into their career.

 
...He's bad at football and never cared enough to be good at it.
I remember posting when he decided to forgo being the #1 overall pick to stay in school that his heart wasn't in being a great NFL QB. People tried to say that he loved the college game, but I think he enjoyed the easy life of a college football star more than the game itself.

 
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...He's bad at football and never cared enough to be good at it.
I remember posting when he decided to forgo being the #1 overall pick to stay in school that his heart wasn't in being a great NFL QB. People tried to say that he loved the college game, but I think he enjoyed the easy life of a college football star more than the game itself.
This. Passing up on the draft was a red flag.

I don't really like California QB's in general. I think they grow up soft playing with their fancy prep schools in their gorgeous 75 degree autumn weather. California QB's that end up at USC get all that plus the benefit of cruising along with a loaded roster. They can certainly overcome it (Palmer had a nice run for a few years) but if they don't have the intangibles to deal with adversity, they're doomed for failure.

 
Why in the world would anyone in their right mind pass up $40 million to play another year of college football? Education has nothing to do with it, you can always go back to school after football or even during the offseason. The reason you go to college is to get a career and Leinart already has one in football. If he stays in school school, right or wrong, scouts are going to question his will to play football in the NFL.
That's why I posted at the time.

 
...He's bad at football and never cared enough to be good at it.
I remember posting when he decided to forgo being the #1 overall pick to stay in school that his heart wasn't in being a great NFL QB. People tried to say that he loved the college game, but I think he enjoyed the easy life of a college football star more than the game itself.
If memory serves, a couple other guys remained in school despite that opportunity and turned out ok.

 
Biggest issue was his failure to accept Christ. Now his career is over and there's no outrage. If little Christian boys around the world were Leinarting after doing well on the field, game-changer IMO.

 
The popular NFL scouts failed well before Lienart did. They just aren't objective. They attribute too much of a winning college program success to the QB. It happens every year and continues to happen.

They don't give enough emphasis to a QBs physical attributes, work ethic, love for the game, and maturity. They continue to overlook the obvious ie Colin Kaepernick, EJ Manuel.

 
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...He's bad at football and never cared enough to be good at it.
I remember posting when he decided to forgo being the #1 overall pick to stay in school that his heart wasn't in being a great NFL QB. People tried to say that he loved the college game, but I think he enjoyed the easy life of a college football star more than the game itself.
If memory serves, a couple other guys remained in school despite that opportunity and turned out ok.
True, but it's still a warning sign - especially the guy is a known partyer.

 
I can't recall reading that he wanted to improve. Maybe a fake overtone type statement where(exaggerated) he said he was the greatest ever but could throw a softer pass.

He's the poster boy for what not to do when everything is going right for you.

Didn't Warner throw for like 4k yards and the hype of Matt had him running neck N neck with Warner in preseason then? He had a former grocery bagger to learn from as to how to put the work in and develop your game and....unbelievable waste of talent IMO.

 
Not always on board with Bill Simmons, but every now and then he strikes gold with an out-of-the-box insight:

Matt Leinart is the target of 'Punk'd' or some Punk'd-esque show, and the gag involves convincing him he and his buddies have just committed a serious crime. They get him alone in a room with the camera secretly on him, and tell him if he's willing to rat out his buddies he can go free. He ratted them out almost immediately, long before the 'reveal'.

Simmons made a great point: Can you see such a person as a leader of men? Can you see a guy like that inspiring his teammates?

I'm not certain exactly when this show aired, but it was before Leinart was known to all as a straight-up bust. Simmons called it right then and there, and in retrospect, how could anyone disagree?

Edited for link: http://www.mtv.com/videos/misc/145494/caught-in-the-act.jhtml

 
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TLEF316 said:
cstu said:
candymanvandyfan said:
...He's bad at football and never cared enough to be good at it.
I remember posting when he decided to forgo being the #1 overall pick to stay in school that his heart wasn't in being a great NFL QB. People tried to say that he loved the college game, but I think he enjoyed the easy life of a college football star more than the game itself.
This. Passing up on the draft was a red flag.

I don't really like California QB's in general. I think they grow up soft playing with their fancy prep schools in their gorgeous 75 degree autumn weather. California QB's that end up at USC get all that plus the benefit of cruising along with a loaded roster. They can certainly overcome it (Palmer had a nice run for a few years) but if they don't have the intangibles to deal with adversity, they're doomed for failure.
Andrew Luck disagrees with these last two posts. And since when is being in the NFL not considered the easy life?

 
TLEF316 said:
cstu said:
candymanvandyfan said:
...He's bad at football and never cared enough to be good at it.
I remember posting when he decided to forgo being the #1 overall pick to stay in school that his heart wasn't in being a great NFL QB. People tried to say that he loved the college game, but I think he enjoyed the easy life of a college football star more than the game itself.
This. Passing up on the draft was a red flag.

I don't really like California QB's in general. I think they grow up soft playing with their fancy prep schools in their gorgeous 75 degree autumn weather. California QB's that end up at USC get all that plus the benefit of cruising along with a loaded roster. They can certainly overcome it (Palmer had a nice run for a few years) but if they don't have the intangibles to deal with adversity, they're doomed for failure.
Andrew Luck disagrees with these last two posts. And since when is being in the NFL not considered the easy life?
Why would you think playing pro football is easy?

 
TLEF316 said:
cstu said:
candymanvandyfan said:
...He's bad at football and never cared enough to be good at it.
I remember posting when he decided to forgo being the #1 overall pick to stay in school that his heart wasn't in being a great NFL QB. People tried to say that he loved the college game, but I think he enjoyed the easy life of a college football star more than the game itself.
This. Passing up on the draft was a red flag.

I don't really like California QB's in general. I think they grow up soft playing with their fancy prep schools in their gorgeous 75 degree autumn weather. California QB's that end up at USC get all that plus the benefit of cruising along with a loaded roster. They can certainly overcome it (Palmer had a nice run for a few years) but if they don't have the intangibles to deal with adversity, they're doomed for failure.
Aaron Rodgers

Tom Brady

 
TLEF316 said:
cstu said:
candymanvandyfan said:
...He's bad at football and never cared enough to be good at it.
I remember posting when he decided to forgo being the #1 overall pick to stay in school that his heart wasn't in being a great NFL QB. People tried to say that he loved the college game, but I think he enjoyed the easy life of a college football star more than the game itself.
This. Passing up on the draft was a red flag.

I don't really like California QB's in general. I think they grow up soft playing with their fancy prep schools in their gorgeous 75 degree autumn weather. California QB's that end up at USC get all that plus the benefit of cruising along with a loaded roster. They can certainly overcome it (Palmer had a nice run for a few years) but if they don't have the intangibles to deal with adversity, they're doomed for failure.
Aaron Rodgers

Tom Brady
Troy Aikman

Although that might be an example of a guy leaving a California school and landing with a team with better talent (eventually)

 
cstu said:
candymanvandyfan said:
...He's bad at football and never cared enough to be good at it.
I remember posting when he decided to forgo being the #1 overall pick to stay in school that his heart wasn't in being a great NFL QB. People tried to say that he loved the college game, but I think he enjoyed the easy life of a college football star more than the game itself.
I think this sums it up. I felt like he never got a true starting gig that the coaches and management stood behind him. But even so, he is just a "surfer" boy to me... wish he was good, not enough south paws in the NFL.

 

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