Jim Hart, who will be going into his sixth pro season, has it all in
front of him. Despite a crash learning program Hart still doesn't seem
to have the necessary knowledge and poise, though this should begin to
show more and more in 1971.
Opportunity, which seemed to have slammed the door in his face, really
opened up for him all of a sudden. Jim had signed as a free agent out of
Southern Illinois University and joined the Cardinals in 1966. He did
not play and appeared in for an extremely long wait on the bench; but
regular Cardinal quarterback Charley Johnson was called up by his
reserve unit for active duty. Thus, Hart became the Cardinals starting
quarterback in 1967 and 1968. Showed fairly good poise for his age,
despite some nightmarish experiences such as setting a club record by
throwing 30 interceptions in one season. Hart had an even chance of
beating out Johnson in 1969 but injured a finger in pre-season and fell
Jim Hart has size- 6-2, 210- and a good, sound arm. But he still tries
to force the ball and throws uncalled for interceptions.
slight doubt remains about his native intelligence but most feel he just
needs aging. But when Johnson was traded to Houston, the Cardinals put
their immediate future in Hart's arm. Johnson definitely was smarter, a
better field general, but Hart had far more talent and promise and St.
Louis felt he could gain the experience.
Jim is a conventional drop-back passer who goes by the book. He is
somewhat like Snead in that he likes to throw long. And he throws long
well. He will go for the bomb often and thus keeps the secondary loose.
He is able to throw a light ball, which receivers like to catch, and it
is just difficult to find him lacking in physical capabilities.
He sets up quickly and throws on timing. Will take lumps in the pocket
rather than come out and attempt to scramble. Must stay in pocket to be
effective because he does throw on timing. If he had any notions of
scrambling he lost them early last season when he came out of the pocket
and got knocked cold. He does not dump the ball well when his receivers
are covered and sometimes tries to force throws, causing interceptions.
Excellent with intermediate passes, 30-35 yards, and throws well against
man-to-man or zone. He throws the sideline route as well as anybody.
A good, consistent rush upsets him. Under pressure he will often get
wild and confused. Has good receivers, about the equal of anybody's in
Jackie Smith, Dave Williams and John Gilliam, and he uses them all well.
St. Louis runs all types of draws and Hart mixes them up well with his
passing game, keeping the defense guessing and somewhat off balance.
Hart should now become more consistent. He won't be a Unitas, a
Jurgensen or a Namath, but has the potential of leading St. Louis to the
Eastern Division title and should become a good, sound quarterback for