Matt Leinart named new starter in Houston
Matt Leinart weighed all his options over the summer, and would eventually decide to re-sign with the Texans. He did so knowing any quarterback competition would be strictly held for reserves, with Matt Schaub cemented as the starter in Houston.
The former first-round selection was slated to see little action after exhibitions came to an end, destined only to make rare appearances in lopsided games, or sprint to the huddle whenever the designated starter was unable to perform. On Monday, Leinart received word of the latter, and was suddenly cast into a starting role for the first time since 2007.
Schaub performed for ten weeks, leading his team to a 7-3 start. But as we enter week eleven, Gary Kubiak announced that his Pro Bowl quarterback can perform no more, giving Leinart the green light to lead his offense against the Jaguars in two weeks. The early diagnosis on Schaub is a fractured foot, which may bring an end to his season. That leaves Leinart, now in his sixth NFL season, to steer the ship on November 27th, and possibly longer.
The former Trojan will grab the reins of a Texans unit that currently ranks second in the NFL in total offense. It is also a Texans team that has never made a postseason appearance in the history of the franchise, but shares the AFC’s best record, and was poised to make its first with Schaub under center.
Matt Leinart will be the fourth USC quarterback to make a start in the NFL this season, but we may never see the entire group compete on a single weekend. While an injury allowed Leinart to be elevated to the starting position, it is an injury in Kansas City that will remove Matt Cassel from the active roster. The Chiefs quarterback sustained a significant hand injury in the Sunday loss to Denver, and the early word is that it will require surgery. Cassel played behind both Carson Palmer (Raiders) and Matt Leinart (Texans) at USC, and was drafted in the same year that Mark Sanchez (Jets) was arriving on the Southern California campus.
Leinart will start for the Texans after the bye week, and in doing so, he will become one of five Heisman Trophy winning quarterbacks commanding the huddle on that weekend. The 2004 award winner would join Tim Tebow, Sam Bradford, Cam Newton, and Carson Palmer.