It’s official. Matt Leinart is the newest member of the Buffalo Bills.
With rookie quarterback and projected starter E.J. Manuel sidelined with a knee injury and Kevin Kolb now out with a concussion, head coach Doug Marrone was forced to bring in a veteran in Leinart for much-needed depth at the position.
At the very minimum, Leinart is a very capable third-string quarterback. However, the 30-year old has shown that he is a productive back-up and at times, although inconsistent, an average starter in the National Football League.
While E.J. Manuel is expected to be the starter after being taken 16th overall in this year’s draft and Marrone is hopeful that the knee will not be an issue come time for the regular season opener, Leinart is not a bad option to trot out there with two quarterbacks down with injuries.
At USC, the lefty was absolute dominant. When the Arizona Cardinals selected him with the 10th pick, they were expected to have landed a gem. It unfortunately failed to pan out that way for Leinart, along with the majority of the high-profile quarterbacks that have come out of Southern California recently.
In 2006 as a rookie, Leinart managed a 74.0 quarterback rating with a 56.8% completion percentage, 2,547 yards, 11 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions in 11 starts. While those are far from glamorous numbers, they are most certainly numbers that you can deal with from the third guy on your depth chart.
Buffalo added a quality locker room guy that will put in the work, show up early, leave late, and compete every single day whether on the practice field or if he has to start come Week 1. Matt Leinart could be a solid mentor to a young kid with high expectations such as Manuel after struggling to cope with and live up to them himself.