Around the League  

 

Matt Leinart struggled for Oakland Raiders, OC says

Oakland Raiders coach Dennis Allen is scheduled to pick a starting quarterback for this weekend's season finale against the San Diego Chargers after Friday's practice. Matt Leinart desperately wants to be that guy.

"I still feel I have a lot to prove at this point of my career," Leinart said Thursday, via The Associated Press. "No matter what the naysayers say, I do feel like I still can play. I do feel like that, and I think I'll play like that until the day I retire.

"But you're only given so many opportunities in this league. That's why this weekend would be awesome."

Leinart had an opportunity to make an impression last weekend when Carson Palmer left the Raiders' 17-6 loss to the Carolina Panthers with broken ribs and a bruised lung. Leinart didn't impress, though, and offensive coordinator Greg Knapp didn't sugarcoat his evaluation.

"He didn't play as well as I would have liked," Knapp said. "I wished his footwork would have been better on a consistent basis. It's hard for any backup quarterback to come in on short notice without any reps, but that comes with the job. You got to know that going in. He struggled a little bit with the footwork and his consistency. He had it sometimes but not all the time."

Leinart has been a colossal disappointment since being drafted No. 10 overall in 2006. He threw 14 touchdown passes and 20 interceptions in four seasons with the Arizona Cardinals before the sides parted ways. Last week, Leinart threw for 115 yards with no touchdowns, one interceptions and a 45.7 passer rating.

"I felt a little rusty," Leinart said. "I think my footwork, for me, wasn't as good as I wanted it to be and what I work on. But I think again, that was just kind of getting in there, hadn't played in a while.

"But it is what it is, moved on and watched the film and been practicing well this week and just trying to correct those mistakes."

Leinart said he deserves to start, but there's no upside to sending him out there. He's not the long-term answer for the Raiders, and they have Terrelle Pryor, a youngster who could be that guy. There's six years of tape on Leinart. Pryor has two pass attempts in two years.

Allen and Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie need to see how Pryor responds to the situation, even if Leinart is the better quarterback right now.

Follow Kareem Copeland on Twitter @kareemcopeland.

Fan Discussion

NFL News
CONTENT
15