Archive for September, 2010

Matt Leinart: It wasn’t in the Cards

Posted in NCAA Football, NFL with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 4, 2010 by nathanelwell

Matt Leinart, supreme stud of the USC campus, and eternal back-up of the Arizona Cardinals, was released by Arizona on Saturday.  Not a shocker, as far as I’m concerned.  Leinart never seemed to sit well with Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt.  “I think that in the end we both agreed this was probably the best thing for him, to have a fresh start” said Whisenhunt.  Leinart’s history with the Cardinals has been a rocky one, to say the least.  His social life was often scrutinized more than his contributions to the NFL.  Beer bongs, playmates, parties, and a pregnancy were headlines instead of wins, touchdowns, and playoffs.  But to be fair to Leinart, several other NFL athletes have had over-publicized social lives only to excel on the football field.  So why don’t we look at Leinart’s career statistics in Arizona to see if the Cardinals were justified in releasing him.

Matt Leinart was selected 10th overall in the 2006 NFL draft.  At the time, this was considered a steal.  After a contract holdout, Leinart became the starter for the Cardinals over veteran Kurt Warner.  He ended the 2006 season with 2,547 yards and 11 touchdowns., but had a 4-7 record as the starter.  In 2007, Leinart’s season was cut short due to a broken collarbone.  He only started in 5 games, throwing for 647 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 4 interceptions.  His career numbers are nothing to write home about – 3893 yards, 14 touchdowns, 20 interceptions, 29 sacks.  For being in the league 4 years, these numbers are mediocre, for a QB drafted at the front end of the 1st round.  Steve Clarkson, who is considered a “private quarterback guru and friend” to Matt Leinart, said “when you enter the league with a certain perception, people will continue to believe that perception no matter what you do…its unfortunate.”  Or more simply put, “perception is reality”.

So where does Matt Leinart go to next?  The most media-tantalizing location would be Seattle, where Leinart would team up with rookie head coach Pete Carroll.  But before you USC fans quiver with anticipation, the Seahawks say they see no need for Leinart.  Another rumor was that the NY Giants may consider Leinart to be a back-up behind Eli Manning.  This rumor was quickly extinguished when the Giants picked up Sage Rosenfels from the Vikings.  What option is he left with?  I vote on a reality tv show.  Wasn’t it the fourth season that Leinart was the Bachelor?  Oh wait, nevermind.  That was Bob Guiney.

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Ryan vs. Schaub

Posted in NFL with tags , , , , , , , , on September 3, 2010 by nathanelwell

I was driving to work yesterday and was listening to Atlanta sports radio.  The question at hand was if the Falcons would’ve been in a better position if they kept Matt Schaub instead of trading him away for a 2nd round pick back in 2007, thus leading the way for Matt Ryan to be drafted in 2008.  There are so many different alter-realities that would’ve been caused if Schaub stayed with the Falcons, but for the sake of simplicity, lets take each QB head to head based on statistics:

Matt Ryan

08            09          08-09

Matt Schaub

08            09           08-09

CMP/ATT

PCT

265/434

61.1

263/434

58.3

528/885

59.7

251/380

66.1

396/583

67.9

647/963

67.1

YDS

3440

2916

6356

3043

4770

7813

AVG

7.9

6.5

7.2

8.0

8.2

8.1

TD

16

22

38

15

29

44

INT

11

14

25

10

15

25

FUM

2

5

7

6

1

7

RAT

87.7

80.9

84.3

92.7

98.6

95.6

RUSH YDS/TD

104/1

49/1

113/2

68/2

57/0

125/2

Matt Ryan 08 Matt Ryan 09 Matt Ryan 08-9 Matt Schaub 08 Matt Schaub 09 Matt Schaub 08-9
CMP/ATT

PCT

265/434

61.1

263/434

58.3

528/885

59.7

251/380

66.1

396/583

67.9

647/963

67.1

YDS 3440 2916 6356 3043 4770 7813
AVG 7.9 6.5 7.2 8.0 8.2 8.1
TD 16 22 38 15 29 44
INT 11 14 25 10 15 25
FUM 2 5 7 6 1 7
RAT 87.7 80.9 84.3 92.7 98.6 95.6
RUSH YDS/TD 104/1 49/1 153/2 68/2 57/0 125/2

I’m starting to think choosing Schaub or Ryan is like choosing a Big Mac or a Whopper.  You could choose either and still be happy.  But what else does each bring to the table?  (not the sandwiches, the QBs).

Matt Schaub came into the NFL with a successful college career at UVA.  He broke 22 school records including yards passing (7502), touchdown passes (56), completions (716), attempts (1069), completion percentage (.670), 300 yard games (8), and 200 yard games (20).  Schaub had two top notch campaigns in the ’08 and ’09 NFL seasons for the Houston Texans.  He set the franchise record for passing yards at 379 yards.  In 2009, Schaub led the league in passing yards (4,770), completions (396), yards per game (298), and passing attempts (583).  Matt Schaub is part of arguably the best QB/WR tandem in the NFL, the other half being Andre Johnson.  In the 2008 season, Johnson led the league in receptions and receiving yards, only to duplicate the feat in 2009 with 1569 yards.  Only one other WR in the history of the NFL went two consecutive seasons leading receiving yards – none other than the great Jerry Rice.  On top of receiving yards, Johnson went 7 games with 10 receptions, only further solidifying one of the most successful QB/WR tandems in the NFL.

Matt Ryan shined at Boston College, where he led his team to 3 bowl victories, and an overall record of 25-7.  He threw for 200 yards 15 times and is 5th all time in school history for both passing yards and completions.  Matt Ryan was picked 3rd overall by the Atlanta Falcons in the 2008 NFL draft.  Ryan beat out Chris Redman for the starting QB position, becoming the first QB in Atlanta since 1975 to start the season opener.  He threw a touchdown on his very first past completion.  Ryan became the first rookie QB in Falcon history to throw over 3,000 passing yards in one season.  Along with Joe Flacco, Ryan was the first rookie QB to start all 16 regular season games and lead his team to the playoffs.  He was also named AP Rookie of the Year.  In 2009, Ryan fought turf toe for a significant part of the season, but still led the Falcons to a 9-7 record, which was the first time in franchise history that the team had consecutive winning seasons.    Matt Ryan fired many of his shots to WR Roddy White.  White was 4th in the league for receiving yards in 2008, finished the season with career and franchise highs in receiving yards.  This is receiving from a rookie QB.  In 2009, White was able to break the franchise record for most receiving yards in a game, with 210.  Under Matt Ryan, Roddy White gained the 2nd and 3rd years where he had more than 1,000 receiving yards for the season.

What do I conclude from all of these statistics and accomplishments? (1) Matt Schaub is a seasoned veteran who has reached the pinnacle of his career.  The Falcons may have gotten one more season out of him, but he probably is over the hill.  (2) In Ryan, you have a young QB that played like a veteran in his first NFL season.  (3) If I wanted a franchise QB who I knew would take the Falcons to the Superbowl, then I choose Matt Ryan.  If I want a QB to help with my fantasy league, then I’d probably pick Matt Schaub.  (4)  If I’m choosing between the Big Mac and the Whopper, I would choose neither.  I always go with Taco Bell!

Roddick tanks in 2nd round of U.S. Open

Posted in Tennis with tags , , , on September 2, 2010 by nathanelwell

For the first time in his career, Andy Roddick (#9) lost in the 2nd round of the U.S. Open.  Janko Tipsarevic defeated Roddick 6-3, 5-7, 3-6, 6-7, to head to the third round for the first time.  Roddick’s play could be compared to that of a fat kid after an Oreo binge: slow and lethargic.  In my ever-so-humble opinion, Roddick lost his confidence after the 2009 Wimbledon Final defeat to Roger Federer.  In 2010, Roddick has had the capacity to win tournaments (ATP Brisbane International & ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Sony Ericsson Open), but he can’t win when it matters.  The Australian Open brought a 4th round loss to Marin Cilic, the French Open resulted in a 3rd round loss to someone whose name I can’t pronounce (we’ll say Fred Jones),  and his Wimbledon appearance…well, lets just say he lost in the 4th round to someone he had no business losing to.

Is Roddick losing steam?  Yes.  Why is he losing steam?  Himself.  Or his wife, Brooklyn Decker.  But seriously, Roddick used to be the most dynamic tennis player next to Roger Federer.  Roddick’s energy tonight was spent when he argued with a line judge over a foot fault.  Its one thing if you’re John McEnroe and can throw a tirade during one of your SEVEN grand slam titles.  Its another thing to do it and lose steam.  Could this be the end for Andy Roddick?  Will he soon bow out of competitive tennis?  How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop?  There is no way to know for sure, but if I were Roddick I would start taking steroids…