Wednesday, March 24, 2010
One potential key for Leinart
By Mike Sando
The Cardinals are big on promoting competition throughout their roster -- even at quarterback.
Matt Leinart is the starter, though, and he won't have to worry about Kurt Warner beating him out. Leinart's college coach, Pete Carroll, said job security was critical for Leinart at USC. Carroll, speaking at the NFL owners meetings Wednesday, told reporters Leinart was "floundering" at USC before finding out he would get the call over Matt Cassel.
Carroll: I know the fact when Kenny [Whisenhunt] says to Matt, 'You're my starting quarterback', it makes worlds of difference to Matt. I watched that happen when we had to choose between he and Cassel years ago. Matt was floundering. Cassel was floundering. We didn’t look like we were going anywhere. Then we made a call the last day of spring practice, 'OK, if we were playing a game today, you’d be the starter, Leinart. Go ahead and take it over.' He had a look in his eye. He said what I think he probably said to Kenny: 'You'll never regret this and you'll never have to look back.' And he just flipped and hit the switch. I think that's what he’s been waiting for. He's been waiting for that recognition that you are our starting guy and I think he’s going to be a terrific player. I don’t know him in any other way. I don’t know how to think of him in any other way than he is going to be a great performer for them."
This isn't a new concept in analyzing Leinart and it doesn't mean Leinart will suddenly blossom, but Carroll's firsthand account does provide some credence to the thinking.