You maybe wondering if this article is in fact about Matt Barkley or Mark Sanchez, well I suppose it is indirectly about Barkley and is inspired by Sanchez with cameo appearances from the likes of Matt Leinart and Carson Palmer.
Let me explain, Mark Sanchez is the latest in a long line of Quarterbacks from the University of Southern California to have had successful college careers and then proceeded to fail in the NFL. Maybe I’m being a little harsh on Sanchez as at the age of 26 he still has a few more years to crack life in the pro’s but if his early career is anything to go by it will be an uphill struggle.
Sanchez could argue that he has lead his team, the Jets, to two AFC Championship games and although I’m not going to go as far as to say the Jets got there in spite of him, I can’t also say it was because of him.
Sanchez’s first concern may well be finding a new team, despite signing a new 3 year contract in the off season that guaranteed him $20 Million the fact that he as thrown the same number of interceptions (68) as he has touchdowns is a telling statistic, that’s without the 41 fumbles means it would be a major surprise if Sanchez is the starting Quarterback in new York next season.
Sanchez took over the starting job at USC from John David Booty whose NFL career never got going. After being selected by the Vikings in the 2008 draft, Booty never took a single snap in the NFL; he was cut by the Texans in 2010 and has never been seen since. Sanchez has been accused of seeking the limelight away from football and being more interested in fame, dating and appearing on magazine covers than actually working on being a better football player. Maybe he had some lessons in this department from another former USC Quarterback and NFL failure, Matt Leinart.
Leinart’s college career was impressive; he was part of a team that was dominant during his time, winning two Bowl games including a National Championship and narrowly losing out to Texas in that classic BCS title game in 2005. Leinart also won a Heisman Trophy.
However when Leinart got to the NFL in 2006 he soon found out that things would not be quite so easy. After a decent enough start, Leinart lost his job mainly due to injury, to Kurt Warner and would never get it back. After a brief stint as a back up in Houston he was released in May 2012, and is now the back up to another former USC man, Carson Palmer in Oakland.
Palmer, whose career in the NFL has had it s ups and downs, is really the best Quarterback to have come out of USC although that’s not really saying much. Palmer had early success with the Cincinnati Bengals and still holds several team records for passing. That said Palmer has only played in 2 playoff games, losing both and although he is having a decent year, numbers wise in 2012, his best days are behind him and possibly could be classed as an under- achiever in terms of winning in the NFL.
Two other names for the ‘failed USC quarterbacks list are, Todd Marinovich and Rodney Pete and now it’s over to Matt Barkley to try and buck the trend.It won’t be easy however, as Barkley has not had as good a year as he expected when he decided to stay in college for one more year instead of entering the 2012 NFL draft.
Strangely though Barkley’s year which was ended by injury may actually help him come draft time and here’s why. Injury and expectation will likely be lowered in Barkley whose stock will have no doubt fallen and the chances of him being drafted in the first round are not as great as they would have been 12 months ago. It won’t help his bank balance by slipping down the draft but could end up benefiting him if he is not thrown in at the deep end on a struggling team straight away. That said, the success of the likes of Robert Griffin and Andrew Luck in their rookie year may have General Mangers and Head Coaches thinking otherwise.
Barkley will do well avoiding the circus that is the Jets and replacing Sanchez in New York and that leaves around 5 other teams who maybe in the market for a new starting QB come draft time. Only time will tell if Barkley can break the mould of failed USC quarterbacks or if he can write a new chapter into this story.