Matt Leinart NFL Stats
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Matt Leinart NFL Game Log
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Free Agent Team Injury Report
Released by the Bills in August of 2013.
Leinart will enter 2012 as the backup behind Carson Palmer. He probably won't see the field if Palmer stays healthy, but Leinart, and not Terrelle Pryor, will be next in line should Palmer go down.
Leinart opted to return to Houston this offseason after it looked like he was going to rejoin his former college coach, Pete Carroll, in Seattle. Even though the Texans are promoting him to be the team's No. 2 quarterback, it's a surprising move as it seems Leinart's chances of becoming a starter are better in Seattle. Houston starter Matt Schaub has shaken the injury-prone label after two full seasons, but if Leinart does get an opportunity, he's got a better offense with which to work in Houston.
Leinart has looked terrible when given
the opportunity to play after losing his job to
Warner a couple of years ago. Last year, his 5.6
YPA was absymal when you first consider he
completed 66.2 percent of his attempts. So he
could not remotely get the ball down field. Leinart is the favorite entering training camp, and as long as Larry Fitzgerald is around, the
Cardinal starting QB is worth carrying as a
backup with upside
Leinart was the favorite to win Arizona’s starting quarterback position last summer, but he lost a training camp battle to Kurt Warner and he is clearly Warner’s understudy this season. Leinart is hoping to eventually follow the example of Steve Young, who enjoyed a stellar career after waiting his turn behind Joe Montana in San Francisco. Leinart will probably have to wait until 2011 to take the reins of the potent Arizona offense. He seems to be maturing personally and professionally and he will be an interesting option when he finally gets to play.
Leinart is the likely starter at press time.
That's depressing given the production that Kurt Warner
generated last year. But that production was
more fantasy-oriented than reality-based: Warner's first-down
YPA of 7.44 was barely average, and he had a
terrible 5:8 TD:INT ratio on those throws. FAS
was lacking: 70.8 QB rating there, way below
average. He was great, though, at converting
attempts throughout the red zone thanks to the
supreme playmaking ability of wide receivers
Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald.
Warner was Joe Montana, though, compared
to Leinart, who took a big step back from 2006.
Leinart's also coming off a broken collarbone
and might be even more skittish in the pocket as
There's also a significant chance that there's a
QB committee like last year when, before Leinart's
injury, the Cardinals opted to use Warner in
two-minute drills and near the goal line, effectively
making neither QB playable.
The fantasy upside lies with
Leinart because if he has a good summer, seizes
the job and performs well, he's cemented as
the starter. Warner will always be threatened by
Leinart unless he's at the top of his game and the
Cardinals are playoff bound; how likely is that?
You’d think Leinart would be projected more aggressively given his weapons and the expected improvement in his second year. But we don’t like former Steelers offensive coordinator and new Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt coming in and immediately talking about implementing a power running game. Oh, we know that the Cardinals aren’t actually going to have a power running game with Edgerrin James ready for the glue factory. But if they try, they will cripple the Cardinals passing game because Leinart will face too many second- and third-and-longs to sustain drives and produce fantasy points. Sure, you need to mix it up. But if Whisenhunt goes into games thinking he’s going to run two thirds of the time on first down like he did in Pittsburgh, the punting unit will burn a lot of calories every Sunday.
Leinart was pretty terrible passing last year on first-down. But QBs are generally better when they have the element of surprise against base defenses. And here’s a big secret: there’s scant evidence that the threat of a running game helps you pass. The top running teams in yards per attempt last year collectively were below average in passing, and the teams that ran the ball the most often only very slightly above. If the Cardinals do open it up, and if Leinart develops and if Boldin and Fitzgerald finally stay healthy for a whole season, Leinart will be a steal. But most owners are going to put a much higher probability on those things happening than can be justified. When this occurs, you just have to let the player go.
The scouts say he’s the rookie most ready to play in 2006. He won’t get his chance if Warner stays healthy. But Warner has been getting hurt with regularity and has chronic concussion problems. So, it’s worth grabbing Leinart and hoping he gets a chance to break into the NFL with the Cardinals' outstanding skill position talent. But, if he does, temper your expectations because the learning curve for rookies is usually very steep. 9/3 Update: Leinart missed the first 15 days of training camp due to a contract dispute, but rebounded to win the second-string quarterback job from John Navarre. He saw action in three preseason games and looked good: 29-of-47, 314 yards and two touchdowns. He suffered a strained right (non-throwing) shoulder in the Cards' final preseason game, but the injury is not serious. Leinart is a solid option in keeper leagues, and is also a good 2006 insurance pick for Warner owners.