The League

Jeff Nelson

Jeff Nelson

Sports Correspondent and the Wes Welker/Dante Hall of flag football.

Leinart Has Less Baggage


When Matt Leinart and Vince Young were evaluated for the 2006 draft, the principal question was one of style. Would an NFL team rather have the traditional drop back passer with limited mobility, or the electric runner with questionable accuracy?

The answer to that question could still be debated three years later, but really, style has become immaterial.

Leinart is preferable to Young now, and only because of what's happened off the field.

While Leinart had a shaky rookie season and then lost his starting job to Kurt Warner (and as we all witnessed this past season, Warner is still pretty good), Young had two shaky seasons and then seemed to melt down emotionally after getting hurt and losing his job to Kerry Collins last September.

Following his knee sprain, Young went missing amid reports that he was severely depressed, perhaps suicidal, and the police were called to search for him. Even though Young did his best to downplay the incident and later said he was not depressed, you can bet the entire ordeal was discussed in every NFL locker room.

As a result, the perception has become that Young is mentally fragile, and whether that's true or not, few things could be worse for a quarterback. A football huddle isn't exactly the most progressive place in the world and it's hard to imagine his teammates sympathizing with his problems, let alone accepting him as their leader.

To be fair, Leinart hasn't done anything to prove he can be a leader, either. But his off-the-field issues -- partying too much, or at least too publicly -- are not something his teammates will hold against him.

At this point, Young's baggage is much worse, which makes the former Texas star too unreliable to be wanted as a starting quarterback.

By Jeff Nelson  |  June 12, 2009; 10:42 AM ET  | Category:  Arizona Cardinals , Draft , Quarterbacks , Tennessee Titans Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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