• 08/16/2011, 11:00AM ET

Matt Leinart is better than the bottom 3rd of the NFL's starting quarterbacks.

Stealth_Punch (0-4-0) vs BigJoeWall72 (3-0-0)

I'm no Leinart slappy, but after watching him in preseason play, and thinking about what difference, if any, would be made if he were under center for most of the season instead of Matt Schaub, I've decided that I think that he is better than a third of the current starting QB's in the league. I suppose this means I'll have to define who I consider to be the bottom 3rd of QB's are. Here we go, in no particular order:

Chad Henne
Tarvaris Jackson
Alex Smith
Andy Dalton
Ryan Fitzpatrick
Colt McCoy
Blaine Gabbert
Matt Hasselbeck
Jason Campbell
Rex Grossman?
Christian Ponder

I think he might be better than a few others, even, but a 3rd was the cleanest break. We can do breakdowns on performance after the response.

There is no way that Matt Leinart is one of the top 24 QBs in the NFL, which is what he would have to be if he were better than the bottom 1/3 of starters. A team would have gone after him if he was better than what they had.

Not only did Arizona release Leinart after not impressing in the off-season/preseason last year, but he didn't even get a look from his best friend (college coach) Pete Carrol up in Seattle. Nor did he sign there this year. That is a huge indictment of his lack of skills in my book.

So that we aren't bouncing around and talking about 20 different QBs, I'll stick with the 12 (teams) that you have already listed. I'll touch on the no-doubters first:

Matt Hasselbeck has led his team to a Super Bowl, and while he isn't quite his former self, he's still better than Leinart, who hasn't even started an entire season for a team. Same goes for McNabb, who I think will be starting in Minny.

When he's been given a chance, Jason Campbell is a little above average, and that's plenty enough to be considered better than Leinart. Likewise with Fitzpatrick.

Colt McCoy showed something last year, and has looked better in his preseason time than Leinart has.

I hope I'm safe in assuming you think he's better than 8 you did not list. If I'm wrong in the assumption, we can address the others in the next one. If I'm right, then he's already better than a quarter of starters, and I've only got to show he's better than the other three to win.


In Hasselbeck's last season as a starter (2010) Hasselbeck went 266-444 for 3001 yds, 12 TDs, 17 INTs. His record was 6-8 in those 14 games.

In Leinart's last season as a starter (2006) which is the last time he was in enough games for a fair comparison, he went 214-377 for 2547 yds, 11 TDs, and 12 INTs. His record was 4-7 on those 11 games.

Leinart threw for 17 more yards per start, had a better TD to INT ratio, does not have a bad back, and has never thrown an INT immediately after guaranteeing a score on a microphone. I'd take him today over Hasselbeck.

Campbell: Satistically similar to Leinart. TD to INT ratio is better, but YPG is often much lower. Edge on arm strength to Campbell, slight accuracy edge to Leinart. Campbell has been given far more chances and has never put up a winning record.


YPG, TD-INT, Record, all worse than Leinart as starter.

28 minutes remaining? Uh-oh, looks like I'll need to make this short and sweet. I'll give you Henne, Jackson, and Smith, even though none of those guys were replaced the way Leinart was in AZ. I can't give you Hasslebeck, McNabb, McCoy, Garrard, or Campbell - teams even went after those old guys!

I'll say it again, if any teams thought Leinart was good enough to start, they would have gone after him. Even one of the rookies you mentioned could have been replaced by Leinart, yet was not (Dalton).

Forfeited Turn

Forfeited Turn

August 16, 2011  11:05 AM ET

Dupe vs Dupe.

August 16, 2011  11:06 AM ET

I'm not sure I understand what you mean

August 16, 2011  11:06 AM ET

Dupe vs Dupe.

Probably, would not surprise me

August 16, 2011  11:08 AM ET

If you mean they're duplicate accounts, then that's not the case. A friend and I have the occasional argument on here. I'm happy to do a TD with anyone else as long as it's football related.

August 16, 2011  11:12 AM ET

He is not better than Campbell, Hasselback (even though I hate him), McCoy (after what he showed last year)

August 16, 2011  11:15 AM ET

I'd start him over Hasselbeck now, though he's not as good as Hasselbeck was. I like Colt McCoy, but I think that Leinart is a bit better right now. I'd expect that to change by season's end. Jason Campbell is just not good.

August 16, 2011  11:15 AM ET

There is very little difference between him and the rest of the QBs on your list. He is not overwhelmingly better. Face it, if these are the QBs you have to chose from, your team is in trouble.

August 16, 2011  11:29 AM ET

Yeah, it struck me as I was putting the list together the NFL is hurting for quarterbacks worse than I thought. No wonder Culpepper wants another shot. Maybe Whitlock is right, and someone should call Jeff George. Honestly, Favre's still better than most of this list and a few more.

August 16, 2011  11:32 AM ET

"after watching him in preseason play"

Oh yeah, the way he plays in preseason is completely indicative of how viable an NFL QB he is. Especially since he chose to hold a clipboard all season instead of competing for a starting job.

Face it, the only thing Leinart's better at than these QB's is ballroom dancing.

August 16, 2011  11:36 AM ET

I only added that to put in context why I thought of it. His actual preseason performace in the game had little to do with the argument.

August 16, 2011  11:42 AM ET

I only added that to put in context why I thought of it. His actual preseason performace in the game had little to do with the argument.

And you're going to base your arguments on what? The garbage time stats he accumulated as Kurt Warner's towel boy? His one flame-out season as starter?

Other than your opinion you have nothing to back up your stance, besides meaningless preseason performances. (That were so good the Cardinals cut him and went with Derek Anderson instead)

August 16, 2011  11:46 AM ET

I don't really know how the argument will go until I see the response. I can rest assured, however, that I won't be getting your vote regardless. If you've looked at the few TD's I've been a part of, I rarely use anything but stats, so I'll go with what Leinart gives me, which, while not fantastic, isn't as bad as you're making it out to be.

August 16, 2011  11:49 AM ET

I don't really know how the argument will go until I see the response. I can rest assured, however, that I won't be getting your vote regardless. If you've looked at the few TD's I've been a part of, I rarely use anything but stats, so I'll go with what Leinart gives me, which, while not fantastic, isn't as bad as you're making it out to be.

I don't auto vote, thanks. But you'll need more than stats to convince me that Leinart can ever do anything more than collecting a paycheck in the NFL.

August 16, 2011  11:51 AM ET

He was only going against the backups. I didn;t watch after halftime but the l ongest pass before halftime was about 5 yards. Not that difficult to complete.

August 16, 2011  11:53 AM ET

I hope you meant what you said about not auto-voting. Also, I doubt much more than stats will be necessary, but if I can win you over then I've probably got a decent shot at this one. I like to take on the side of the argument that would be potentially valid if not marred by perception. It's usually a sure-fire way to lose but I enjoy the challenge and sense of being the devil's advocate.

August 16, 2011  12:16 PM ET

Also, to be clear, I want to make sure no one thinks that I was saying he's better than Schaub. That's clearly not the case. I could see how that could be misinterpreted from my original post.

August 16, 2011  12:18 PM ET

I just don't get the reasoning for Leinart. Other than the rookies Gabbert, Ponder, and Dalton who haven't played a regular season down yet, Leinart hasn't shown any skills considerably better than the other veteran quarterbacks on the list.

August 16, 2011  12:31 PM ET

McCoy and Fitzpatrick are definitely better than Leinart.

August 16, 2011  12:44 PM ET

First impression, I wouldn't take him over Campbell, McCoy, Fitzpatrick, or hasselback. Most of the others have a starting role with no real history, aside from Jackson.

August 16, 2011  12:52 PM ET

Keep in mind, those are my bottom 3rd of the league. Someone else's bottom 3rd would be different, but I think Leinart is better than them.


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