From Cam Newton to Ryan Leaf: A History of Big Baby QBs in the NFL
It takes a certain type of person to withstand the pressure of being an NFL quarterback.
It takes even more to deal with expectations once proving yourself to be among the elite.
Unfortunately, there have been some not-so-impressive leaders under center throughout NFL history. Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers is looking like the next signal-caller in line.
Back in September, according to the Associated Press via ESPN.com, Panthers' receiver Steve Smith stated:
"I said, 'Get up and learn from this,' " Smith said. "I watched DA (Anderson) and Jimmy (Clausen) observe from the sidelines the last 20-something games and try to get mental reps. This is an opportunity for you to get some mental reps. Don't just sit on the bench and sulk. I know you feel bad, but that isn't going to help us."
It's the second straight year teammates have questioned Newton's demeanor on the sideline.
This is just one example no fan wants to see from their team's quarterback. Along with Newton, let's see who else made the list.
Jay Schroeder, 1984-1994
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Jay Schroeder was the guy who got replaced by Todd Marinovich.
In addition, prior to playing for the Los Angeles Raiders, Schroeder was the Washington Redskins' starting quarterback off and on from 1984 through 1987.
It was, however, his antics during the 1986 season that made his teammates uneasy.
From William C. Rhoden's book "Third and a Mile: The Trials and Triumphs of the Black Quarterback," via ESPN.com in 2008, here is Redskins' quarterback Doug Williams on Schroeder:
"We were playing against the Giants in a championship game, and Jay took a hard blow. Joe Gibbs sent me into the game. On my way out to the huddle, Jay waved me off the field. It was one of the most embarrassing moments of my life. Like they always say, payback is a mother. That was my payback. He wasn't going to play no more -- not if I could help it."
"When I went back in the game, the guys said, "Let's give him time," because I couldn't move out of my own shadow. They gave me all the time I needed. Players are funny. Players know players. I think that team believed in me more than they believed in Schroeder. He was a little distant. A little arrogant. A little selfish. All the players knew it."
Schroeder was out of the league after the 1994 season.
Jeff George, 1990-2006
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Jeff George was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1990 NFL draft.
He also spent his career with seven different teams.
Getting drafted by the Indianapolis Colts to start his career, George lasted in Circle City for only four seasons. It was the longest tenure he would spend with any one team.
Unsurprisingly, George flopped and he wasn't the most well-liked quarterback, either. Back in 2009, speculation mildly came up about George potentially making one final return.
Thankfully nothing ever happened and he can be summed up in a nutshell according to Gregg Rosenthal of NBC Sports in July of 2009:
As one league source told us told, “Regardless of his skill set, he was hated by his teammates and was never a leader.”
Ryan Leaf, 1998-2002
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Ryan Leaf is the most obvious choice on this list to any NFL fan.
As the No. 2 overall pick of the San Diego Chargers in 1998, Leaf failed miserably and spent five seasons with four teams.
He's arguably the biggest bust in pro football history and had issues with criticism.
On the bright side, Leaf did admit to his issues during an interview with Dan Le Batard of ESPN's "Dan Le Batard is Highly Questionable". In 2011, Leaf stated, "I was a very talented egomaniac with a self-esteem problem."
So at least the guy was able to own up to that reality.
Vince Young, 2006-Present
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Vince Young was expected to revive the Tennessee Titans as the No. 3 overall pick in 2006.
Unfortunately, Young never performed consistently enough to fully develop under center and it's no surprise that he's a free agent.
The low point while with the Titans came during the 2010 NFL season.
Young, who tossed his pads into the stands while leaving the field, got into a heated exchange with [Jeff] Fisher and stormed out of the stadium.
Fisher confirmed that he instructed Young to leave the team's facility Monday because he was not welcome at the squad meeting that was held to discuss the quarterback's volatile standing with the team.
From that incident, Young reportedly texted an apology to Jeff Fisher and the coach responded:
Fisher confirmed for reporters Wednesday that he received the text, which came a day after Young was asked to leave the Titans' facility because he was not welcome at a team meeting.
"I'm not a real big text guy. I'm not really into this new-age stuff," Fisher said. "I don't Twitter or tweet. But I think face-to-face is a man thing, OK?"
And Fisher is right. Regardless of what kind of situation lies between two people, a text message is a cowardly way to apologize.
Cam Newton, 2011-Present
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In the past, Cam Newton has dealt with pressure quite well.
The reason for being able to do so, however, results from always enjoying success on the field.
Before the 2010 college football season, Newton won a junior college national championship at Blinn College and then became a trending topic for the Auburn Tigers.
Winning another national title, Newton added the Heisman Trophy and the NFL's No. 1 overall pick to his resume.
Despite the Panthers only going 6-10 in 2011, Newton dominated pro football with 4,051 passing yards, 21 touchdowns to only 17 picks and 60.0 completion percentage.
Additionally, Newton ran for 706 yards and scored 14 rushing touchdowns. He then won the Offensive Rookie of the Year award and expectations were higher than ever entering the 2012 campaign.
So Newton literally has done nothing but win on the field, whether it's from a team or individual perspective or both.
Now, though, he's finding out how tough consistency comes in pro football and the 1-3 Panthers are relying on him to lead. Until Newton actually does that, the bust potential continues to gradually increase.
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