Matt Leinart is the Next Man Up


Defense thriving despite this worst case scenario

 

The NFL has and will always be a next man up league. That’s the reason the roster includes 53 guys despite having only 22 starters on each squad. The Houston Texans are a perfect example of that mantra. Much to everyone’s surprise, the Texans currently have the best record in the AFC, the best scoring differential in the AFC, and the 2nd best scoring differential in the whole NFL. Not only that, they are #2 in total offense, #1 in total rushing, and #5 in points scored per game. All of this despite missing all world wide receiver Andre Johnson for 6 games, NFL rushing leader Arian Foster for 2 official games (in reality its 3 games as he was mainly a spectator in his 1st game back), and sack leader Mario Williams for 5 games. Foster has looked spectacular since his return, and the same is expected for Andre Johnson. Williams is out for the rest of the year, but probably most damaging is news of the season ending foot injury to quarterback Matt Schaub. Schaub is rarely electrifying, but he is far from incapable of leading an NFL team to the playoffs (he has a 15/6 TD/int ratio and 96.8 QB rating this season). Next man up is none other than Matthew Stephen Leinart.

 

This is not a sight Texans fans wanted to see with their team rolling

 

Everyone is well aware of Leinart’s famed college career, lousy NFL stint up to this point, and chicanery in the hot tub. He was supposed to be the heir apparent to hall of famer Kurt Warner, but ineffectiveness (his best year included 11 td and 12 ints … yuck) and a difficult attitude landed him on the waiver wire back in 2009. Interestingly enough, he hasn’t thrown a pass in a regular season game since the 77 he threw during the 2009 season. Now he has a chance to completely rewrite his career by guiding a well oiled machine to just their 2nd ever winning season, first ever playoff berth, and possibly home-field advantage in the playoffs. Leinart obviously won’t be expected to carry the team; he’ll rely heavily on the unmatched running attack of Arian Foster and Ben Tate. Foster is 8th in the NFL in rushing yards despite missing almost 3 total games, and he’s 2nd on the team in receptions and receiving yards. Tate is 10th in the league in rushing despite being a part time participant. Not only will Leinart have two stalwarts in the backfield, he has a fantastic defense to pick him up.

 

Yes, this will be the guy leading the top team in the AFC

 

Texans Defensive Improvement

 

2010

2011

Points against

29th

2nd

Total defense

30th

3rd

QB rating allowed

Last

1st

Passing defense

Last

5th

Interceptions

13

14 (through 10 games)

 

It’s pretty clear from the statistics above that Wade Phillips’ aggressive 3-4 scheme has completely turned the defense around from the laughing stock it was last year. With a top notch rushing attack and significantly upgraded defense Leinart has been given the keys to a supped up Ferrari, similar to what the Jets thought they were doing with Mark Sanchez. Leinart doesn’t have to win anything by himself; he’s only being asked not to lose the game. With games left against Jacksonville, Carolina, and Indianapolis the Texans should finish the season with at least 10 wins if Leinart doesn’t completely implode. Games against Atlanta and Cincinnati will prove to be a bit more difficult, and the season ends at home against arch rival Tennessee with a potential division crown on the line. Personally I think Leinart is up to the task and the Texans will get a top 2 seed in the AFC playoffs. Houston sports fans have a reputation of not being fully invested in their teams, but all eyes will be on Leinart since he’s the guy in the hot seat as the next man up.

The NFL has and will always be a next man up league. That’s the reason the roster includes 53 guys despite having only 22 starters on each squad. The Houston Texans are a perfect example of that mantra. Much to everyone’s surprise, the Texans currently have the best record in the AFC, the best scoring differential in the AFC, and the 2nd best scoring differential in the whole NFL. Not only that, they are #2 in total offense, #1 in total rushing, and #5 in points scored per game. All of this despite missing all world wide receiver Andre Johnson for 6 games, NFL rushing leader Arian Foster for 2 official games (in reality its 3 games as he was mainly a spectator in his 1st game back), and sack leader Mario Williams for 5 games. Foster has looked spectacular since his return, and the same is expected for Andre Johnson. Williams is out for the rest of the year, but probably most damaging is news of the season ending foot injury to quarterback Matt Schaub. Schaub is rarely electrifying, but he is far from incapable of leading an NFL team to the playoffs (he has a 15/6 TD/int ratio and 96.8 QB rating this season). Next man up is none other than Matthew Stephen Leinart.

Everyone is well aware of Leinart’s famed college career and lousy NFL stint up to this point. He was supposed to be the heir apparent to hall of famer Kurt Warner, but ineffectiveness (his best year included 11 td and 12 ints … yuck) and a difficult attitude landed him on the waiver wire back in 2009. Interestingly enough, he hasn’t thrown a pass in a regular season game since the 77 he threw during the 2009 season. Now he has a chance to completely rewrite his career by guiding a well oiled machine to just their 2nd ever winning season, first ever playoff berth, and possibly home-field advantage in the playoffs. Leinart obviously won’t be expected to carry the team; he’ll rely heavily on the unmatched running attack of Arian Foster and Ben Tate. Foster is 8th in the NFL in rushing yards despite missing almost 3 total games, and he’s 2nd on the team in receptions and receiving yards. Tate is 10th in the league in rushing despite being a part time participant. Not only will Leinart have two stalwarts in the backfield, he has a fantastic defense to pick him up.

 

 

2010

2011

Points against

29th

2nd

Total defense

30th

3rd

QB rating allowed

Last

1st

Passing defense

Last

5th

Interceptions

13

14 (through 10 games)

 

It’s pretty clear from the statistics above that Wade Phillips’ aggressive 3-4 scheme has completely turned the defense around from the laughing stock it was last year. With a top notch rushing attack and significantly upgraded defense Leinart has been given the keys to a supped up Ferrari, similar to what the Jets thought they were doing with Mark Sanchez. Leinart doesn’t have to win anything by himself; he’s only being asked not to lose the game. With games left against Jacksonville, Carolina, and Indianapolis the Texans should finish the season with at least 10 wins if Leinart doesn’t completely implode. Games against Atlanta and Cincinnati will prove to be a bit more difficult, and the season ends at home against arch rival Tennessee with a potential division crown on the line. Personally I think Leinart is up to the task and the Texans will get a top 2 seed in the AFC playoffs. Houston sports fans have a reputation of not being fully invested in their teams, but all eyes will be on Leinart since he’s the guy in the hot seat as the next man up.


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