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Doug Farrar
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Doug Farrar

A FootballOutsiders.com staff writer

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Given the choice between Leinart and Young, I'll choose Option C -- whatever that may be.

My problem with Young is not so much the perceived mental stumbling blocks, but that he has the same issue common to all quarterbacks that benefited from a spread option attack in college; namely that he can't really get under center and make things work above replacement level. In 2006, Young's DVOA was -6.9% overall, and 3.8% in the 209 pass attempts he took from the shotgun. In 2007, the difference was even more pronounced -- a 21.9% DVOA from the shotgun and -30.5% under center. Now, there are quarterbacks who benefit from shotgun sets -- Kurt Warner, Matt Cassel, and Tom Brady come to mind -- but none of those players have displayed such a dramatic difference between shotgun and under center. Quarterbacks have to make things happen from under center. Play action has to be an option, and having the full arsenal of offensive looks is obviously important against defenses that are more sophisticated every year.

Leinart doesn't have this problem, having developed in a pro-style offense at USC, but he's regressed as much as any quarterback I've seen in recent years. He showed flashes of potential, most notably in the "They are who we thought they were!" loss to the Bears in Week 6 of the 2006 season, but the stages of development you want to see in a young potential franchise quarterback just haven't happened. When he threw three interceptions in the third preseason game of the 2008 season against the Raiders, Leinart looked as bad as a quarterback possibly can. That performance gave Warner the starting nod, and started Arizona on their improbable Super Bowl run. And let's be honest -- what can be said about a quarterback that can't provide consistent production with a receiver corps that includes Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin? How much help does one guy need?

Given the recent early successes of Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco, it's possible that guys like Young and Leinart may find their NFL careers over sooner than later. Teams are going to expect more of their young quarterbacks, and these are two players who haven't lived up to their early hype.

By Doug Farrar  |  June 12, 2009; 10:38 AM ET  | Category:  Arizona Cardinals , Doug Farrar , Draft , Quarterbacks , Tennessee Titans Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Is There a Third Choice? | Next: Leinart Has Less Baggage

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