Sunday, April 23, 2006

Leinart Over Young

Rumors persist that the Oakland Raiders—despite Raider Take’s selection of Michael Huff in the Blogger Mock Draft—will pursue a quarterback in the first round. So we need to be prepared for this possibility. Call me a reactionary traditionalist, but I’d take Matt Leinart over Vince Young.

There’s a lot of talk about Young’s elusiveness and athleticism, and about how he would add an “x” factor to any offense with a Vick-like ability to take off and run. But I’m not sure I want my QB running around. I want him to get the ball to Randy Moss. Can Young take snaps under center, stay calm in the pocket, make progressions and hit Randy mid stride at 30 yards? Are you sure? Or will he just take off running again? Remember, the Raiders play the vertical game, not the diagonal game.
This is not to suggest that Vince Young isn’t an incredible talent with tons of potential. I could be eating my words in a few years. But I wouldn’t bet my first round pick on it.

Matt Leinart played a pro-style offense on the biggest stage (USC) in college football for the past two years, and did nothing but win (except for when Young’s Longhorns smacked the Trojans down in the Rose Bowl, of course). You could say that he won because of an awesome supporting cast (Reggie Bush, Winston Justice, etc.), but that’s what winners do: they win with good players. Losers lose with good players. If the Rose Bowl left a bad taste in your mouth regarding Leinart, then rewind to his fourth-quarter performance against Notre Dame last year. National stage, huge plays, gutsy audible with the game on the line. Victory.

I also like Leinart’s football maturity (he stuck around for his senior year, Young is a junior). Yeah, he’s become a bit of a celebrity down there in Los Angeles, but that’s probably good training. Winning quarterbacks in the NFL become celebrities, so that’s another thing we know the guy can handle. I think that this guy is cool under pressure. I think he can make a seamless transition to the NFL. What exactly does that mean? See Ben Roethlisberger vs. Alex Smith.

The knock on Leinart is that he’s the “least physically gifted” of the three elite passers in the draft (Young and Cutler being the other two). I keep hearing about Jay Cutler’s arm strength, about how his ball will “cut through a wind” better than Leinart’s ball. But who’s ball will best cut through a sea of hands, not just a stiff breeze? Yes, I am invoking Ken Stabler to make a point.

I would be fine with Aaron Brooks and Andrew Walter duking it out for the starting role, and with the Raiders filling a need at another position in the first round. But if the rumors are true that they are in the QB hunt, then I’d vote for Leinart over Young and Cutler.

P.S. Click here to view a nice Trojan propaganda piece featuring Leinart's final drive heroics against Notre Dame (thanks to Anonymous for this link).


Blogger Raider Raza said...

There is another Quarterback who lacked arm strenght, had a sideways delivery, rarely zipped a spiral and was drafted to be a DB not a QB.
That QB was Gannon.
Gannon never had the nickname Cannon but he made up for his lack of cannon by being a smart QB, studing tape, reading defenses and demonstrating leadership.

10:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are good reasons to draft Leinart.

1. His family is reported to be die-hard Raider fans from the LA Raider days.

2. He's left handed, so Gallery could stay at RT and protect his blind side.

3. He's a proven winner and ice in the clutch.

4. He's a potential franchise QB and that is arguably the most difficult and important position to fill.

5. He's more ready to start on opening day than any other QB in the draft.

My question on Lienart (other than the obvious super risk in drafting QBs at the top of the draft) is his personality. All you hear about from his agent is how he wants to be "the next Broadway Joe in NY".

Leinart loves the LA nightlife, so would he be happy in the less glamourous (to say the least) confines of Oakland?

For a guy who is supposed to be "the next Tom Brady", I sure don't see the humility in Leinart that Brady brings to the *Patriots...

Leinart doesn't have the physical skills that Carson Palmer brings, either...

In any case, Leinart won't be there at #7, so the real question is, "Is Leinart worth trading up for?"

The Raiders probably have to move to #2 to guarantee a shot at he worth throwing in next year's #1 too? It'll take at least that much.

10:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

12:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

RT, you know this latest take was music to my ears. In breaking down the 3 top Qb's, I would agree that Leinart appears the most ready to step in right away and lead/win. Leinart may not have the biggest arm, but in watching him, he seems to be very good at finding 2nd, & 3rd options if the 1st option is covered. I think his arm is good enough, but my concern with him is lack of mobility. We really would have to protect Leinart. Vince Young can run, & throw, no doubt, but how long will it take him to settle in, learn to read defense's, and lead. When you see Mick Vick still stuggling in Atlanta, it does make you wonder. Jay Cutler is the most curious choice. He did not play on a good team like Leinart, & Young did, but he has good mobility, and a rocket arm, good enough to make any throw needed in the NFL. He also played behing a poor O-line at Vandy, so we know he can gun it under pressure. However, this has led to some poor mechanics as he is often throwing off his back foot unbalanced. In the end, I agree that Leinart would be the best choice, and best of all, if Tenn. passes on him, he may fall right to us at #7. I hope the rumors you're hearing are true. Keep the good news coming. Can't wait til Saturday, and the moment of truth.

1:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i agree with all of you on this one. something tells me that something huge is coming down for us this weekend. yes, it has been frustrating to wait and continue to hear/see all this speculation BUT i think something major is coming our way.

i always said that if we did anything to move up, the #2 spot is our ticket. if not #2 count on us making a safe defensive choice at 7.

at pick 2, the raiders can even pick bush if the texans don't. heck we cab get just about anybody - just not young. i don't care how freakishly athletic he is. he's not ready to play in the nfl right now and probably won't be for a couple of years. leinart is and if davis wants him, go get him or bush or hawk (perhaps trade up to 5 with GB).

the question now is - do we have enough in trade to get up there? hmmm, looks like we shall see soon enough.

7:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ok, i think we have more pressing needs than a QB right now, but if that is what we get it needs to be young, Sure Matt had a great record, so did young, All young does is win, in the biggest games when they matter most. How anyone can watch the Rose Bowl and think he cant play in the NFL didnt watch the same game, Carroll threw every blitz in the book at him and he did not always run first, Carroll had six weeks to prepare(pete carroll NFL defensive "genius") couldnt stop Young from destroying his NFL ready USC team. If we pick Matt over Vince it will haunt us.

8:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

trade the pick. we have so many needs to fill. high draft picks are iffy and expensive. plus we
have a young talented qb in walter with a big arm.

10:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry to swich gears, but if the Raiders do bail on Michael Huff at #7, Broderick Bunkley would be my pick over the QBs. #52 just lives in the backfield...

Check this $@#% out!!!

Excuse the commercial gibbersh at the beginning.

2:28 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Nice find, Stick'Em. Dude's a monster. I like how he punishes QBs with a little extra velocity at the end of his takedowns. That's the spirit.

P.S. Folks, check out Stick'Em's latest article on today's entitled "The Raiders Will Draft." Great stuff.

P.P.S. Happy birthday, Stick'Em, and thanks for the good words. I hope that Gorilla Rilla pops out of your silver & black birthday cake.

3:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually RT, I was hoping Kim Basinger would pop out of the cake in a Silver'n'Black French maid outfit with a can of stickum...

but alas, Huff, Bunkley, Hawk, or Williams on Saturday will be more likely -LOL!

6:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stick'em: I know you would like to see the Raiders take a defensive player with their 1st pick, and you know I would like a Qb. Please consider this: In the 2005 draft, Dallas, with two 1st round picks, took Demarcus Ware, & Marcus Spears. For good measure, they took LB, Kevin Burnett with pick #42 in the 2nd round. By all accounts, Ware, & Spears, had outstanding rookie seasons, & Burnett was more then solid. However, when the season ended, & the smoke cleared, there were no playoff's in Dallas. Why ? Because their Qb is Drew Bledsoe. I'd bet they go through a very similar season again. Why ? Because their Qb is Bledsoe. Just another something to think about when we consider defense vs Qb, come Saturday.

7:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

RT, I've got one for you too. Remember back in March when you suggested the Raiders sign Qb Josh Mccown with the idea of him possibly starting ? Well, in the 2002 draft, Mccown was pick #81 of the Cardinals. The Raiders passed over him four times, the first two times for defense. Pick #17, the unforgettable Peabrain Buchanon. #23 Nap Harris. #53 Langston Walker, & # 55 Doug Jolley. Fast fowarding to today, not only did the Raiders show a little interest in Mccown, but he turned them down to go play for the cowardly Lions. Go figure. Just a little tidbit I thought you might find intersting.

7:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know........I know...........I may be the only one on this blog who thinks this way But, Brooks could be the second coming of Plunket. All the talk of him being a "stop gap" would inspire anyone but Brooks is a gamer. You all may say what you think............He will suprise the entire Raider Nation with his passion and leadership. Those who compair Brooks to The "Tin Man" are dead WRONG! Brooks has ten times the heart of the "throw out-a bounds" Collins and he will bring it to Oakland. Lets not sell Brooks short..............I have seen his fire and it fits the Raiders very well.

7:29 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

Best Silver and Black Birthday wishes to you Stick'Em! Great post today. I'm firmly in your corner on Huff. Ngata/Bunkley would be nice fall-backs too.

Along with Raider Greg, I'm very optimistic about Brooks being the right fit for our offense. Here are a few reasons why I think Brooks will lead us out of our offensive quagmire;

(1) he is in the prime of his career; not too young (read as inexperienced) and not too old (read as injury prone or immobile)

(2) AB2 is one of the top 5 most athletically gifted QBs in the league. (quickness, speed, size, arm strength, mobility = the total package)

(3) Brooks will have a plethora of offensive weapons at his disposal which he did not have in New Orleans. The Brooks/Moss connection will be electric.

(4) His mobility and ability to improvise will result in keeping drives alive and making big plays down the field. Instead of a sack or a toss into the 1st row stands, Brooks will be able to keep the chains moving with his arm AND legs.

(5) Last but not least, I firmly believe that Brooks truly needed a change of scenery and a fresh start. The silver and black fountain will rejuvinate AB2.

Regarding Raider00's point about the Cowboys draft not equating to team success;

Bledsoe's lack of mobility & the team's inconsistent rushing attack (sound familiar?) are the key reasons for their lack of team success. Parcells had to call max protection schemes to cover for the corpse-like Bledsoe. This serverly limited the Cowboys attack.

With Brooks' mobility we can send out 3 receivers plus our TE & RB as release valves.

9:28 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

I hear you, Raider00.

I was pleasantly surprised by the Brooks signing, which served a similar function as McCown would have: putting an experienced veteran presence on our QB roster, to captain this ship or compete with Walter for the helm.

I still think McCown is solid, but that's a moot point now. Like Raider Greg and Calico Jack, I believe Brooks will bring a lot to the table. He's like Kerry Collins with legs...and intangibles...and fire...and upside.

The looming question is: a QB in the first round? I haven't seen the Raiders do it in a LONG time. I would have never predicted it...And yet here we are, four days before the draft, and it looks like a possibility.

Raider00, maybe your dream will come true!

10:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Calico: Don't get me wrong, if Brooks is the man, I'll be rooting like crazy for him, but you can't tell me the thought of Matt Leinart running onto the field in Sept. clad in Silver, & Black doesn't send chills up your spine. Bledsoe's lack of mobility the reason the pokes missed the playoff's ? I'm sure that was one of the reasons, but Mike Vick is the most mobile Qb in the NFL, and Atlanta missed out too. What I'm saying is a good Huff + bad Qb play = no playoff's. RT: I'm dreaming of a franchise Qb, just like the ones I used to know...

10:33 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Raider00, I admire your willingness to take the heat and stand your ground. I'm ashamed to still be on the fence. My heart tells me you might be right, my head tells me to play it safe with a Huff or Bunkley.

Back in September, in a take on Walter, I wrote: "The Raider way is free-agent veteran QBs: Collins, Gannon, George, Hostetler, Beuerlein, Plunkett, etc. But this trend of old QBs might be getting a bit...old. There are more Georges and Collins than Plunketts and Gannons out there."

I like Leinart, and if it came to that, I would be stoked. But if not, then I'll be with you rooting for Brooks, certain that he will be a major upgrade over Collins. And if Walter can beat out Brooks, then we may already have the QB of the future in our hands.

10:46 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

Raider00 - Leinart is the real deal. I have seen him play numerous times in person. If Al makes the move for Leinart, we could be set for years to come. The only hang-up would be if Sea-Bass plays hardball with Leinart for the #11 jersey!

6:49 AM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Pantyraider, thanks for the correction on Beuerlein, I should have said Jay Schroeder.

7:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stick'em makes a good case for drafting either Huff or Bunkley with our #7 pick. If we are drafting DEFENSE in the first round, then those are the two that I would agree with.
However, I still can't shake the notion that with a Pro Bowl offensive lineman as our new head coach and another Pro Bowl offensive lineman brought in to coach our troubled line this year, we will draft OFFENSE.

Case Number One - Draft a quarterback:

Rumors fly that Al loves Vince Young, or that he equally loves Matt Leinart. He may love them, but I doubt he will draft either one of them. My bet is that Brooks will start, with Walter breathing down his neck, waiting for his opportunity. Those two will fight it out in Traning Camp, and who knows, Walter may win the battle. However, I think that Brooks, with his veteran savvy, will start while we work with our O-line.

Case Number Two - Shore up the O-line:

If it all starts in the trenches, then drafting Winston Justice makes sense, especially since Gallery has been told he will move to left tackle. The knock on Justice is the prank that got him suspended in '04. But it didn't dishearten Justice, who sought out Mike Tyson's coach and boxed throughout his entire suspension. He then came back and had a great year at USC in '05. Adversity can strike us all. How we handle it speaks more to our character than the youthful mistakes we make.

Case Number Three - Get a play-making tight end:

Vernon Davis is my pick here if the O-line remains basically the same and continues to struggle for a time. Davis will provide that extra protection we need, as well as giving us an excellent outlet receiver with soft hands who has an uncanny knack for getting the yards after catch and the ability to make the big plays once he has the ball. Think red zone here. Isn't it time we consistantly score 7 points in the red zone rather than 3? Almost every mock draft I read has Davis going to the Niners. Is Al letting this fly while secretly plotting a way to nab Davis? That would be so like him.

So while my esteemed collegue Stick'em so eloquently represents his defensive choices in this year's draft, I have presented to the jury my closing arguments for my offensive choices.

The resulting verdict will be read on Saturday - "With the seventh pick, the Raiders take.........."

I can't wait!!

7:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ally, didn't know Justice had worked out with Tyson's trainer. Thanks for the head's up!

As a former boxer and trainer (Muay Thai), lemme tell ya, it is one hell of a good way to stay in shape!

BTW, Howie Long was a Gold Glove guy himself. How'd ya think he invented that hump move?

But all pranks aside, didn't Justice get popped for solicitation of prostitution too? Hope the trainer told 'em too many women before the fight weakens the legs -LOL!

But seriously, I agree with Oop that folks should get 2nd chances in this life. Gawd knows I am grateful for the eleventy-five hundred chances I've gotten...

Forgiveness is the Raider way, as long as you can PLAY! (or run a 40 faster than the average bear)

Wouldn't it be great to be able to interview these guys ourselves? We speculate so much about the characters of folks we've never met. A little like gossiping at times, no?

Like Bunkley got popped for shoplifting at Wal-Mart and is said to be wound pretty tight... Wonder what he's really like to have a plate of wings and a pitcher of brew with?

Well, at least I got you all for that!

4:31 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

Both Bunkley & Justice seem to be cases of young men making immature mistakes. The important thing is how they handled the adversity. Were they accountable for these minor transgressons?

Both seem to have put it behind them by playing well in 2005, performing well at the combine and pro-days. By all accounts both men interviewed well, showed maturity, and acted like true professionals.

I think one of the keys to finding the right guys is beyond the measurables and game tape. The interview process and background check would be a good time to evaluate whether the prospect has a genuine love for playing football or is just in love with getting paid. What are his practice habits? Does he take plays off? What kind of a student of football is the prospect?

I would love to be a fly on a wall listening to one of Al's interviews. Fascinating stuff.

8:28 PM  
Blogger Doobie said...

I think as spectators we tend to cast a jaundiced eye towards the missteps of college atheletes instead of asking whether or not we, or our friends, might not have done the same thing in our younger days (or even currently).

If we're not guilty ourselves, I'm sure we know someone who's shoplifted or solicited prostitutes, gotten into fights, etc. and we more than likely laugh about it. These events are all good fodder for the media, but not necessarily big news outside of the celebrity world.

So, all that being said, what's everyone doing for the draft Saturday? I was trying to work out a chat room scenario with RT so that we could all BS about the draft, but it appears that Yahoo is no longer doing conventional web-based chat rooms and, although you can use chat rooms via Yahoo Messenger, it appears they've disabled the ability to create *new* chat rooms...meaning that you're forced to use the public rooms. I did a quick check around the net and it appears that there are no other free chat room services to use aside from Yahoo.

So the idea of having a "Raider Take" chat room has been scrapped. Unless I hear otherwise, since I live on the east coast (and can't bond locally with other Raider fans) I'll probably be hanging in the public "Oakland Raiders" chat room in Yahoo during the draft.

5:22 AM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

If you want to use my webpage / comments section as a pseudo chat room, let me know. I would be happy to post something late Friday night or early Sat. morning (ie. "Raider Fans 2006 Draft Chat Room"). Just let me know.

Chris (aka Calico Jack)

6:37 AM  
Blogger Doobie said...

Calico, thanks for the offer. I was thinking about that too (just asking RT to put up a post and having everyone post comments), but I wasn't sure if it would have the same flow as a chat room (you'd constantly have to refresh the screen to see new comments).

I once pirated an empty "Cleveland Rockers" chat room for a fantasy football draft, so maybe we could do something similar again in the name of Raider Take for the draft. Or we could just hop on to the generic Oakland Raider room. Problem with either, though, is now you have to download Yahoo Messenger first in order to use their chat rooms.

Of course, if either of you guys wanted to put up a live post sort of thing, i think everyone would be able to chime in there too.

9:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Doobie: I'm all for doing the chat thing... what else are ya gonna do while Al takes 15 minutes to pick?

Just lemme know where to go...

I loved the year Al took the whole 30 minutes for the Asomugha and Brayton picks to build the suspense - then Tagliabue comes out looking like Mr. Magoo with, "ASS-O-mooga Bambis."

Instant classic!

11:12 AM  
Blogger Doobie said...

Guys, all I'm going to do chat-wise is go into the Oakland Raider chat room on Yahoo (since I can't create a Raider Take one). If you want to join in, here's what you have to do:

1. Download Yahoo Messenger and install it. As I mentioned before, Yahoo no longer has web based chat rooms, so you can only access them through Messenger.
2. Once you've launched Messenger, click on "Messenger", "Yahoo Chat", "Join a Room..."
3. From the folders listed, choose "Recreation & Sports", "Football (American)", then "Oakland Raiders".

11:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To speak to the original question, I would rather have Young as a Raider than either Leinart or Cutler. I'm just not buying the hype on either of the two.

Vince Young...well, he could turn out to be Steve Young or Vince Evans. Who knows? At least he has that kind of potential.

I don't believe Leinart projects as anything more than an above-average rhythm passer in the NFL. He should have left last season, when Alex Smith and Aaron Rogers would have made him look like the #1 pick. Now it's too late.

Don't be suprised if Leinart slides like Rogers did last year...perhaps not as far, but slide he probably will.

12:54 PM  

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