Once Matt Leinart finally put down the beer bong and picked up his playbook it was too late. The former Heisman Trophy winner might not have ever got a fare shake from Ken Whisenhunt in Arizona but when you’re constantly being outplayed by castoff NFL QBs it is hard to make a case no matter the pay check. His uninspired attitude upon entering the NFL didn’t endear many executives or pro personnel people to the former Trojan. His injuries have also prevented Leinart from showing what he can do once he started taking the game serious.
Being that Al Davis has always had a close connection to USC and given that the most iconic owner in this history of football loved him some reclamation projects it was far too easy to speculate Leinart and the Raiders were on a collision course. Naturally none of those rumblings ever came to be but this time could be different.
The Houston Texans have given Leinart his walking papers and wouldn’t you know it the speculation has started again. This time around there, of course, is no Davis connection. This time the rumoring comes via Leinart’s connection to current Oakland offensive coordinator Greg Knapp.
For the last two years Leinart was holding a clipboard behind Matt Schaub in Texas while be coached up by Knapp. With Jason Campbell officially out of the Bay and Terrelle Pryor the only other quarterback on the roster not named Carson Palmer it makes that the Raiders are in the market for a quality backup.
However it is hard to know what kind of quality you’d get from Leinart. He didn’t take many snaps behind Schaub and was only on the field long enough in Schaub’s absence last season to make some unimpressive throws and get injured.
Still, adding Leinart would be an imminently better backup plan than what we saw last season. For whatever reason the Raiders were convinced that Kyle Boller would be up for the task should injury occur. As we all know, Campbell’s collar bone exposed the ugly truth Hue Jackson didn’t want anybody to know, his backup plan was like George W. Bush’s exit strategy – inherently flawed and almost non-existent.
As of now the Raiders have very limited funds to spend in free agency. They’ll likely be watching the NFL’s version of musical chairs, waiting to see who is left standing. If Leinart is still around, which seems very likely, then there is a good bet he’ll be getting a call from the silver and black.