Why Do USC QBs Struggle In the NFL?

That is the talking point from this story by Mike Freeman of CBS Sports. Two of his theories stand out: USC QBs are surrounded by so much talent in college they can’t elevate the talent on poor NFL teams.

Another theory is that because of great coaching (i.e. Norm Chow) USC is a system school that can pump out quarterbacks at the college level.


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  • NoMercy

    I disagree with this article. It is incorrect.

  • jetman624

    The very fact that you can talk about “USC quarterbacks in the NFL” is proof enough they are doing something right. What other school can you point to that has put as many quarterbacks into NFL jobs the last 12 years? None. What a terrible problem to have. They are so frequently putting quarterbacks into the NFL that they are now being evaluated on the NFL productivity of those players. No other school has that problem.

    • Cheap seats

      Agreed. Even powerhouse Alabama can’t say they’ve groomed NFL QBs.

      Also, why do so many people selectively look at Carson Palmer’s career? They guy was a pro bowler for many years until he injured his throwing shoulder.-

  • USC quarterbacks in question (nobody expected much from JDB) generally get drafted very high. Teams with high draft picks suck. An average or even good quarterback can’t overcome a terrible team (KC, NYJ, ARI, OAK, ETC).

  • a third, more evidenced-based theory is trOXan QB’s simply have no guts!!

    put a little pressure on them, and they dry up and blow away!! sure they light it up against the san jose st’s, but in big games or against underdogs who get a lead in a game, troXan QB’s dissapear, the Pious Passer was just the latest example.

    proof of this is that Southern Cal, despite having the most talent in college football for the past decade, cannot claim even ONE BCS Champeenship!!!

    ahhh, thanks for the GUMBALL, wolfman!!!

    • Cheap seats

      How many UCLA QBs even played a snap in the last decade?

      • we had a dry spell, sure but dont forget more UCLA QB’s (6) have been on Superbowl teams, and winning teams than any other School!!!!

        led by Aikman who was the first QB to win 3-4 superbowls, and Jay Schroeder, Billy Kilmer and Steve Bono, etc etc…..


        • Jethro G Sabbath

          Great point chuck! When one thinks of all time great NFL quarterbacks, Steve Bono and Jay Schroeder must be on that list.

          Also, Bradshaw and Montana each won four Superbowls before Aikman won his three but who cares about details.

        • Cheap seats

          That’s no dry spell — that’s menopause!

  • dtksr1 @dslextreme.com

    Competition should be used as an excuse rather than talent in USC’s conference. There are way too many schools in this conference who should put forth better efforts to produce top programs. Do you see other schools who have top football programs having money issues? But other schools use money as an excuse they can’t compete. Even the school across town has discovered if they take a few more dollars out-of-the AD’s meal allowance and use it for a good coach, they get better results.

  • How many of those coaches that drafted USC QB’s are still with that franchise? Palmer was a Top 10 QB last year on the worst team. Sanchez hasn’t had anyone to throw to since edwards and changing of OC, and a horrible OL.
    Its hard to be successful without help.

    • Cheap seats

      Also, Matt Leinart had the curse of having to backup Kurt Warner and afterwards broke his collarbone in his very first start with the Texans.

      I didn’t read the story above in the link, but he better have bad luck as a factor as well.

  • Cheap seats

    It’s funny this article uses “QBs who won a Super Bowl” as a measuring stick then the author goes on to mention guys like Marino and Dan Fouts.

    Make up your mind.

  • Ben Factor

    As observed by Cheap seats, it’s unreasonable to consider Carson Palmer a failure.

    As good a college QB as Leinart was, his weak arm and poor work habits conspired against him.

    I don’t really know what’s up with Sanchez, although his teammates don’t seem to like him, and he supposedly slept through some QB meetings. I believe he was thought to have pretty good physical tools.

    Matt is an interesting prospect, because he’s not a playboy, although he’s an “average” physical talent (among NFL QBs, that is). I thought he needed more demanding coaches at USC, and now he will probably get them. He’s no sure bet, but I think it’s too early to write him off. He might do just fine, and become a Drew Brees sort of QB.

    Booty was never much at USC. Who really expected him to succeed in the NFL?

    So that’s the “sample” group. Way too small for statistical analysis.

    As many here observed, which school consistently produced successful starters? Aside from the Archie Manning bloodline, there is no great track record.

    As to USC being a “system school,” what does that even mean? 4 and 5 star QBs and WRs, pro-style offense, good coaches? All we do is complain about LK and deterioration of coaching in PC’s later years.

    Here’s a talking point: Mike Freeman is a mediocre analyst.

  • rusoviet

    USC gained national attention due to the mediocrity of the conference upon PC’s arrival. Carroll brought an attitude and results not seen since the 1970’s. Carson Palmer bluntly stated the Trojans would quickly win an ‘NC’ and they did under Leinart. It took the conference 4 years to catch up and they did as PC’s stint came to an end 2009.

    Sanchez is stuck with the worst fan base in America – naw yawkahs.with a front office to avoid. Cassell found out real fast the talent NE Pats had and the KC Chiefs did not. Leinart hung himself regardless of injury or talent. Last I heard Booty is attempting to start a mlb pitching career. Palmer? bad team in CIN and OAK – sadly age is now a real factor in AZ. Barkley? Time will tell.

    Of the five Sanchez has to hope he is traded to a mid level team – his back-to-back AFC Championships losses are more than any NY Jet qb has ever done – he needs to get out of ‘naw yawk’ and return to the USA.

  • This is bull cr*p! Since 2000 : Palmer was/is a good QB. Leinart had bad breaks (2 collarbones), a coach who didn’t draft him (Whisenhunt), and an attitude problem. Booty never was going to be a starter. Sanchez has had ups and downs, and Barkley just got drafted. Name a school since 2000 that has multiple starting QBs in the NFL. Nick Foles is the first Arizona QB to ever start a game in the NFL. This is something sports writers can write about to fill the 24 hour news cycle.

  • RememberTheFreedomBowl

    And how are Florida’s National Champion QB’s doing..Chris Leak & Teblow ?