Oakland Raiders receiver Rod Streater at 2012 training camp (photo by Levi Damien)
Raiders rookie Rod Streater has shown a lot of potential as an undrafted free agent out of Temple. He has been making great catches in practice since the day he came out to rookie minicamp. He came out on the field in his first game in an NFL uniform and looked even better. In the process, Matt Leinart looked pretty good too.
Streater caught six passes from Leinart in the Raiders preseason opener for 66 yards. It's more than he ever had in a single game in two full seasons at Temple. He had been telling us that he slipped through cracks mainly because the Temple offense was a running attack and didn't take to the air very much. That appears to have been a mistake on the part of Temple. And the team scouts who didn't draft him seem to have made an even bigger mistake.
"It was good." Said Streater. "It was very fast. I just had to stay calm and remember it was just football and go out there and play hard and continue to do the things I'm used to doing in practice.
"It means a lot. That's the big thing to make plays under the lights. I just wanted to go out there and perform and show these coaches that I can play."
Streater came in with the second team and he and Leinart were hooking up like they had been old college buddies or something. But those two couldn't have come from more opposing college offenses. Leinart won the Heisman Trophy and took the Trojans to the National Championship on his arm. While Streater comes from a conservative, run-first offense at Temple. It makes it all the more interesting then for the QB from the high-powered USC attack and Streater who spent most of his time in college running decoy routes and blocking. None of that matters now.
"Since I've been running with the 1s and the 2s me and [Leinart] have connected." Said Streater. "He always helps me out no matter what if I need help. It felt good to connect with him."
Leinart echoed his thoughts on the level of play that he's seen from Streater.
"Streater's had a great camp." Said Leinart. "For someone who was an undrafted rookie coming in and do what he's been doing and come out here and take it to the game, it's pretty awesome to see. He's a great kid, he works hard, he's got the utmost potential I've seen from a wideout so he's gonna keep working. But he's been doing that in camp every day so we expect that from him. He's gonna continue to grow and he's gonna make mistakes but I was very pleased with how he played."
It is clear that Leinart has found a reliable target in Streater which is great during camp and preseason. Once the season starts, Leinart is not expected to play much. But if Streater can continue to get open consistently, he could see more time in the offense. And if that happens, it could be another former Heisman winning Trojan quarterback who develops a nice bit of chemistry with him-Carson Palmer.
If Denaius Moore doesn't come back from injury soon, Streater could even be given more chances to catch passes from Palmer both in practice and in preseason games. There is two weeks more camp and the next two preseason games will feature more of the first team so anything's possible.
Until then, Leinart will continue to enjoy the chemistry he has with this rookie gem.