NFL: Warner Leinart 2.0?

Once upon a time in Arizona the franchise that had little success in the desert drafted another Star quarterback out of Southern California with the number 10 pick, his name was Matt Leinart. Although I think rookie Josh Rosen is much better than Matt Leinart, there are some similarities. For instance, Josh Rosen was also taken number 10. At the time, Kurt Warner was an after thought, all the hype surrounded former Heisman trophy winner and national champion Matt Leinart from USC. Leinart went down due to a crushing hit from the Rams Will Witherspoon, Warner stepped up having his best season since his MVP days. The only person that can validate this theory is Larry Fitzgerald, who played with Warner and Leinart. Fitz seems to be pretty high on Sam Bradford telling everyone to bet the “Over” of 5.5 wins for the Cardinals next year. To make the situation even more ironic, Bradford is joining the Cardinals in his 8th NFL season, Warner also joined the Cardinals in his 8th NFL season.

Warner Leinart

Like Matt Leinart, the Cardinals drafted Josh Rosen knowing that he was one of the most NFL ready QB’s in the draft. A proven college leader and winner. Rosen has a chance to learn from Sam Bradford, who’s been in this league for a while. With Bradford starting there is always the chance at an injury, even if it’s a gust of wind, there is still a chance Bradford gets hurt. With that being said, Rosen needs to be ready to call a game. Bradford has a ton of football knowledge and is one of the best practice players you’d ever see. Watch him in 7 on 7 drills, he’ll pick you apart. He gets the ball out quick, has good size, high football IQ, and a good teammate.

Leinart and the new look Cardinals had so much hype going into the first year of the new $450 million stadium. A big knock on Leinart was if his heart was truly in it. He was seen countless times out enjoying the night life of Scottsdale and Phoenix. Leinart last played with the Raiders in 2012 and now is a broadcaster for College football. This wasn’t bad for Cardinals fans, because Kurt Warner took them on the greatest ride in team history and he cemented himself in the same conversation with the great QB’s that have ever played. Now let’s shift focus to Kurt Warner 2.0, Sam Bradford.

KURT

It’s hard to truly feel bad for Bradford and his injury-laden career because he continues to cash paychecks. He earned $50 million guaranteed as the number 1 overall pick by the St. Louis Rams. The most recent team to overpay Sam Bradford is Arizona, signing him to a 1 year, $20 million deal. If for some reason Bradford finds the fountain of Youth like Warner did, the ceiling is very high. He’ll have a top 5 RB in David Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald, the second best Wide Receiver in NFL history. If the Offensive line can keep Bradford on his feet there is no question he has the quick release and IQ, which can translate into wins. Vegas has the Over/Under of Cards wins at 5.5. Something Fitz laughs about, urging fans to go to Vegas to lay it down on the Over. Bradford looks to avoid being the target of countless funny memes about his injuries.

bradford

So all joking aside. If Bradford stays healthy, he can lead the Cardinals in 2018, earning him another big contract in 2019. Steve Keim is no stranger to the “One-Year Deal” that pays off. Look at Jermaine Gresham and Chris Johnson before he got injured he was leading the NFL in rushing a few years ago. Bradford would love to show teams that the former number 1 pick still has some juice left. Having Rosen sit back and observe can only benefit the young signal caller. I know Cardinals fans want to see Rosen earlier than later. Patience is key with young quarterbacks. Dak Prescott and Russel Wilson are anomalies in football. The NFL is a grown¬†mans league if Rosen can avoid the early career hits that ended David Carr’s career before it began, that would be great. Especially since the supporting cast surrounding Rosen aren’t as strong as Prescott or Wilson. Not saying Bradford is going to be like Kurt Warner, but he certainly has the skills and knowledge to compete and push Rosen every day in practice. Bradford can also control a huddle which is invaluable for a quarterback. Cardinals fans should be pulling for Bradford because the rest of the Cardinals like their chances with Bradford. Especially when you add in former Chargers HC and Broncos OC who won a playoff game with Tim Tebow, Mike McCoy. McCoy is outstanding with quarterbacks.

Bradford CardsSo here you have it, no quarterback controversy in the Desert in 2018. Fans want to see the young UCLA standout but the former Heisman is better suited to lead this team. Especially with a rookie head coach like Steve Wilkes, a veteran like Bradford can really elevate his confidence as well as feed the ball to the future Hall of Famer, number 11. Mike McCoy is poised to reestablish himself as an elite offensive coordinator after an unsuccessful tenure in San Diego. He’s capable of calling a great game based off the quarterbacks strengths. How else do you think he can get a playoff win out of Tim Tebow against the Steelers? McCoy plans to use a quicker drop back with Bradford to avoid hits and so far in camp he’s on point. Now, if only the dude can stay healthy and confident. Then we’ll see the next Kurt Warner in AZ and Rosen’s time will have to wait. If Bradford does go down, then we’ll have to see what the young QB can do on the fly. Although the Rams are the team to beat, the Cardinals should out perform their projection of 5.5 wins in ’18.

College Football: The Trojan War, The Pete Carroll Version

Didn’t take long for Pete Carroll to settle into the bright lights of Hollywood. His smile was contagious, same with his love for being on the football field, acting like a kid. Most of the time you can see Carroll throwing the ball with his quarterback getting warmed up and pumped up banging on player’s shoulder pads, it’s a pre-game ritual. The glamour of LA, the bright lights, the red carpet were all useful tools for Carroll and recruiting. What 18-year-old would not want to come play in LA. Also doesn’t hurt that Snoop Dogg was a frequent visitor of the football program, also stars like Will Ferrell, P. Diddy, and many more would frequent the facilities.

USC- Ferrell and Snoop Dogg

Many boosters, alumni, and SC fans were upset about the Carroll hire because he wasn’t a home run candidate, he was an unknown, generally speaking. Carroll laid out goals during his first coaches meeting, that was to beat ND and UCLA, win the Rose Bowl, then win the National Championship. Before taking his talents to the Pacific Northwest, Carroll accomplished all 4 goals he set out for. Winning 2 National Titles, one of them was the Rose Bowl and going 16-2 against ND/UCLA. Carroll’s attitude and ability to communicate with the younger generation separated him from anyone else in the country. He also had NFL experience so he was able to handle the spotlight having coached in New York. If you’ve coached in New York, you can coach anywhere. One reason Hall of Fame Safety Ronnie Lott left the Raiders to player for Carroll with the New York Jets. He has high praise for Carroll, for the same reasons any player had high praise for him.

One of the reasons I wanted to play with the Jets is I wanted to play for Pete… I wanted to learn more about the game of football and I thought he was a great teacher. So for me — he was the defensive coordinator one year and head coach the following year — it was great.”- Ronnie Lott on his 2 years with the Jets

The Trojans were the biggest ticket in town. Pete Carroll was lucky to inherit Carson Palmer as the QB and Mike Williams at wide receiver. Made it an easier transition back to coaching college and he took off from there. With LA not having an NFL franchise, the Dodgers struggling, Wayne Gretzky was traded, and the marriage between Shaq and Kobe had recently ended. The city of LA was up for Grabs and Pete Carroll had the perfect cast to grab LA, Reggie Bush, Lendale White, and Matt Leinart were players that weren’t afraid of the spotlight and the big city and pressure of Hollywood. I’ll take that ’04 and ’05 team against any college team since 2000.

USC- Trojan War

Reggie Bush, Lendale White, and Matt Leinart were Carroll’s major chess pieces. All 3 were made for LA, thriving in the spotlight. They had a swag you really haven’t seen since Jimmy Johnson was coaching the Miami Hurricanes, The U, as they were referred to. The ground attack and Matt Lionheart were fearless. They brought USC back to Championship level.

USC- White BushWhite and Bush were better known as thunder and lightning. Bush was lighting because he was so shifty and he was a nightmare in the open field. Lendale White was a ‘savage’ just blowing up tacklers and embracing contact. White was known as Thunder because of his bruising style of running. That bruising style of run caused Lendale a series of hurt post football, saying he had about 20-30 concussions during his college and NFL career. They were constantly challenging one another to outdo the other. White had an insane 52 TD runs in 3 years at USC, and he was the second best RB, according to ‘experts.’ While Bush had 4,470 total Yards and 38 TD’s. Combining for 7,960 total yards and 95 TD’s in a 3 year-span. That is insane to think about. Not any coach would be able to handle two stars like that in the same backfield, Pete Carroll embraced the challenge. Managing their play was a major challenge for Carroll, but he used them to perfection. Leinart threw for just under 11,000 yards with 99 TD’s and 25 INT in 3 years as well.

USC Vince

Vince Young trampling in for a an 8 yard TD to beat SC in the National Championship game was just the beginning. Trojan fans wish that was the worst part. Unfortunately, that was the start of a very tumultuous time in Southern California. In April of 2006 the NCAA opened up an investigation into USC football, mainly the possible benefits given to Bush’s family. Finally, the NCAA came out and crushed USC. They issued one of the harshest penalties given to a university short of the “Death Penalty.”

They were placed on probation for 4 years and lost 30 scholarships over a 3 year span. They were given a postseason ban for 2 years, had to vacate 14 wins from Bush’s games in 2004 and 2005,¬†including the national championship game in 2004 and the appearance in the title game in 2005. Bush gave up his Heisman voluntarily before the NCAA could strip him of it. Bottom line you can’t blame an 18-20 year old kid to say no when he is given the world. His family came from hard times and a few big names funded housing and paid out benefits. All Reggie Bush did was played football. This had a major effect on USC football and basketball because OJ Mayo was also found guilty of accepting benefits. It looks like USC is on their way back to contention but they need to beat up on teams outside of the West Coast to get that respect they once had. Young breaking the hearts of all Southern Cal fans was just the start of the Trojan War.