Print and Go Back ESPN.com: AFC South [Print without images]

Friday, November 25, 2011
Can Leinart speed things up in Act II?

By Paul Kuharsky

Replacement quarterbacks are winning about a third of their starts, points out ESPN.com’s venerable John Clayton. He wonders how Houston’s Matt Leinart will fit in with that, starting Sunday in Jacksonville.

In this Insider piece, Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. discusses Leinart in detail.

“Leinart fits the Texans' scheme much better than what he was asked to do in Arizona. He has been in this system for a year and a half now, and Houston's designed rollouts and play-action passes off of an elite running game play to Leinart's strengths. Can coach Gary Kubiak win games and manage his offense much as Jim Harbaugh is doing with quarterback Alex Smith and the San Francisco 49ers?

“If Leinart is able to manage the game and distribute the football reasonably well -- particularly to Johnson -- while leaning heavily on running backs Arian Foster and Ben Tate, Houston should have no problem winning the AFC South.”

Williamson says Leinart has “very average physical tools” and is “ slow and deliberate in everything he does.” So a key to his performance will be how he can speed things up, but be in better control.

I’ve not joined the chorus of those projecting doom for the Texans, and not just because the division is weak and Leinart’s surroundings are strong.

We haven’t seen him in meaningful action in some time. He’s been working with great quarterback teachers in quarterback coach Greg Knapp, offensive coordinator Rick Dennison and coach Gary Kubiak.

It’s possible Leinart is a guy with a quality second act in him, who plays well after learning from different coaches and gets to play with a second team in a more favorable situation.

It’s actually what I am expecting.

Like Williamson, I’m just not sure it will extend into the playoffs.