In the wake of the news that quintessential Trogan Matt Barkley won't be throwing at the combine, Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports decided to look more closely at the rash of QB "busts" that have come out of the southern California region.
Why this region in particular? Apparently, a veteran NFL scout had this to say about those news:
"Here we go again, another L.A. movie star quarterback who needs his own day to throw," a veteran scout said, the sarcasm splashing from his mouth like a wave hitting a seawall.
Now really, what would prompt someone to make such a generalization? I honestly don't think that connection gets made without the QB busts from Southern Cal. Here's what a team executive had to say about that:
"When you start at USC, it's like you've already made the big time," a team executive said. "You're a star. You're in the news all the time. It's like, 'Oh yeah, I'll be in the NFL in a couple of years, don't worry about it.' That's not how you make it in this league."
We have blogged multiple times about the culture in that cesspool of a football program, players thinking they were untouchable. Here's what Cole points out about the two most recent Trogan busts:
That sense of entitlement has manifested itself in different ways. With Leinart, there was a sense among people who were with him after he was drafted by Arizona that he was always wanting to be in Los Angeles, not with the Cardinals working on his game.
With Sanchez, his love of the limelight was cemented at USC. Even now with the Jets, Sanchez seems to welcome the attention that goes with dating starlets like Eva Longoria rather than shying away from it.
The other Trogan QB mentioned on the list is Todd Marijuanavich. I have mixed feelings about him, I think he was a head case because of an overbearing father with huge expectations. But he flipped off Matt Darby so he's still a Trogan, possibly the biggest bust of them all.
Cole has a list of all the QBs from the region to be drafted to the NFL, but I don't think he means that all of them are busts. I don't see how someone drafted in the 3rd or 4th round is really a bust. There is even a Bruin on the list, Jay Schroeder, and I doubt anyone would even think of Jay as a bust. A true bust entails that there was a lot of hype and big expectations, and that certainly fits the Trogans from Southern Cal.
Now, they haven't all been flops, as Cole points out:
Since Elway (and even fellow Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon of Hamilton High in Los Angeles before him), the quarterbacks from that region have been little more than a series of flops. While Carson Palmer, Alex Smith and Randall Cunningham have had solid careers in the pros, they are the best of an otherwise sad group.
I'm not really sure why QBs from big programs don't do so well in the NFL. Some do, others don't. Just look at the Super Bowl this year, with a QB from Delaware and one from Nevada. It's probably easier to get better when you don't play with other dominant players. No Trogan QB has ever won the Super Bowl, either.
I do find it interesting that we had to go back 30 years to get a Bruin, which is a combination of 1) not having very many elite QBs in the last 15 years, and 2) getting our QBs from out of state. Considering these flops, perhaps it is good not to get the local QBs? I like to think they would do better after they leave UCLA, no matter where life takes them.
Interestingly, Warren Moon is now helping out at Dorsey High, and he has more of an insider take on the whole thing:
"You ask me and it's the decline of the Los Angeles City programs," said Moon, who played at Hamilton in the 1970s. "Between budget cuts and lack of equipment and all the other things, they just can't offer the same kind of quality program that we had back when I was [playing in the area]. You have to have development and focus to produce really skill position players like quarterbacks. That doesn't happen. I see it."
The scout had something else to add:
"If there's one thing I would say, it's that they're not tough, especially from a mental standpoint."
Hmm...calling SoCal QBs soft...not sure I necessarily buy that, I think that's a bit of a stereotype.
Anyway, the truth is probably a combination of those things, but one truth stands out above all: Trogans suck.
Make sure you check the article for the list...and a special picture just for Bruin fans.