|Matt York / Associated Press|
|Matt Leinart and Pete Carroll found success together at USC, but would a reunion in Seattle have the same impact?|
One of the fun things to do during a normal offseason is to the connect dots. For example, a coach leaves a team to go to another team, and then that coach signs free agents from his former club.
This happens all the time. In some cases, the urgency to reunite can come from an assistant who changes jobs or from one who is suddenly promoted to head coach. It's the old adage: "He knows what to do and is better than what we have," running rampant through a new staff.
Yet, is that true? Is a player who knows what to do always better? Does a team benefit from surrounding a new coach with players familiar with his schemes regardless of talent? The answer to both questions depends on the player.
Let's take the curious case of quarterback Matt Leinart, who achieved tremendous collegiate success while playing for coach Pete Carroll while both were at USC. They achieved so much success that Leinart ended up being drafted extremely high (10th overall) in the 2006 draft and Carroll was eventually rewarded with a ton of Paul Allen's money to be the coach of the Seattle Seahawks.
Can you see where I am going with this one? Simple really, Carroll needs a quarterback -- badly -- and Leinart badly needs a job. Heck, if going to Seattle rejuvenated wide receiver Mike Williams' career, imagine what it could do for Leinart?
Imagine the lovey-dovey press conference with Carroll extolling the virtues of Leinart, and the quarterback believing that being reunited with Carroll means his career is back on track. But once the press conference is over, would anyone besides Carroll and Leinart think it will work? I sure don't. And it has nothing to do with Carroll or new offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell. It has all to do with Leinart.
Leinart's poor work habits were legendary when he was first with the Cardinals. Once he matured and stayed away from the hot tub, his main problem went from work ethic to his overall physical skills to play the position. He became the king of the check down in Arizona, refusing to hold the ball, not being able to process quickly or deliver the ball in a timely fashion. He was often wild high and just plain wild.
His teammates in Arizona never came to his support when coach Ken Whisenhunt was clearly setting the stage for Leinart's eventual release. He spent all of last season with the Texans, but never ran a play in a game. Then Houston went ahead and selected Taylor Yates in the fifth round, clearly sending the signal to Leinart that his time with the organization had ended.
All of which sets the stage for us to connect the dots: Carroll and Leinart reunited in Seattle. It might happen, but I am fairly confident it won't work because Leinart is not up to the task.
Follow Michael Lombardi on Twitter @michaelombardi.