With today’s rumored trade rumblings surrounding Matt Leinart, the New York Football Giants may now have found the veteran quarterback they wanted to backup Eli Manning. The question, though, is Leinart the right veteran quarterback for the Giants? I say no.
However considering Eli Manning’s ironman nature Leinart probably wouldn't see field anyway if the trade happens so it almost doesn’t matter.
Two things that jump out about Leinart when breaking down his first years in the league; Leinart loves the things that football affords him and Leinart believes himself to be a starting caliber NFL quarterback.
From the Giants perspective I find both these things troubling. Eli is not going anywhere, and the last thing the Giants need is a whiny man-boy quarterback walking around the locker room with a sense of entitlement. Eli doesn’t do it, why would the Giants accept that attitude from Eli’s backup?
The other part of the equation is that Leinart loves the nightlife, but does he love the game? The fact that people were making it a big deal this offseason that Leinart was training in MMA with Foxsports analyst Jay Glazer, to me was telling.
Was it a big deal because he previously just partied all offseason? Was it a big deal because that was the first time Leinart actually endured a tough training program in the offseason? Based upon his play on the field I would imagine the answer to that question to be yes.
But to be clear those two issues aren’t the main reasons why I believe Leinart might be a bad fit for the Giants. The main issue is that Leinart’s skill set does not match up well with what the Giants do offensively or with where they play, the east coast.
The Giants are a power running team but they rely on Eli Manning to get them out of tough spots. Close game; go win it in the fourth quarter. Third and eight, go get us the first down no excuses. I don’t think Leinart has the moxie to play in such a high-pressure offensive style.
Then there is the issue of Leinart’s arm strength, which is just ok. On the west coast where a cloudy day is bad weather Leinart’s arm strength is just fine. However on the east coast where bad weather is normal, and 20mph gusts of wind standard, I don’t think he has the arm to muscle the ball through those conditions.
Lastly there is the Tom Coughlin issue. Leinart likes to carry himself about like a star, yet on the field he still makes bad mistakes. Those are two things Tom Coughlin hates, arrogant people and mistake prone players.
If Leinart ever mouthed back to Coughlin, or if he acts holier than thou in the locker room of the Giants he might find himself cut after getting traded. However if Leinart shuts his mouth, sits on the bench and learns from a Class-A quarterback and coaching staff maybe Leinart could become a starter after he left the Giants.
Now do I think that will happen if the trade goes through? No. While Leinart is a smart player who has decent size and physical skills, the NFL is all about taking advantage of opportunities. Several times Leinart had a chance to be the Arizona Cardinal’s starting quarterback and he failed to capitalize every time.
Leinart is a check-down player on the field and in life. Instead of taking the bull by the horns and going deep, he constantly checks down.
From the Giants’ perspective this deal does make a modicum of sense. Jim Sorgi is on the IR and Rhett Bomar is not ready to even be a backup quarterback let alone play. Leinart offers a backup with actual game experience. To top it off Eli Manning’s backup is as pointless as Peyton's. In other words they are both ironmen, they never miss games so a backup is almost a pointless thing. Almost.
Now a lot of Giants fans are thinking, “Given the David Carr experience trading for Leinart makes sense.”
And I say to that, “No it doesn’t.”
Carr was a sad story, you could write a book on how to ruin a quarterback focusing on just Carr’s time with the Texans. He tried as hard as he could on the field, never partied and always tried to improve. Can you say the same thing about Leinart?
No. So while Carr was a great locker room presence, Leinart has the chance to be the exact opposite of that. Carr was affable, charismatic and a leader. Leinart by all accounts is grumpy, mercurial and entitled. Carr and Leinart are two different players with two different situations.
Now this is not to say that I believe Leinart’s failure with the Cardinals was his entire fault. Once upon a time he showed great promise his rookie year against a Bears’ team that was a powerhouse at the time.
But from the moment Ken Whisenhunt was hired as their head coach it was obvious that Leinart was not his guy. Had Whisenhunt actually attempted to establish a real rapport with his young QB maybe things would have turned out differently.
But that didn’t happen so here we are with Leinart’s career in the dumps and his future prospects looking dim. Can Leinart salvage his career with the Giants if this rumored trade goes down? Sure. Will he? Probably not.
So while the Giants are in blatant need of a veteran backup quarterback, trading for Leinart is probably not the right move.