We are a little over a week into Raiders camp and Leinart appears to be hitting his stide. He began camp going through some rough patches much like the rest of the Raiders as they learn new schemes on both sides of the ball. But today in camp, he looked the best I have seen him.
"Yeah, I'm feeling good." Said Leinart. "Just been going day to day trying to get better. The goal's just to keep focus and keep grinding away. I've been doing well so I just gotta keep it up.
"It's always a progression, you know; Just getting the timing down from the guys and stuff. There's gonna be some days where the defense gets us but I think overall for me I just wanna be consistent. Just have good footwork, get the ball in the right spot and so far I think I've done that pretty well. But I keep grinding, keep working hard, keep trying to perfect my craft."
Helping matters for Leinart is his familiarity with the offense. His quarterbacks coach while he was with the Texans is Raiders' current offensive coordinator Greg Knapp, who installed the same offense as he had in Houston.
"You're always learning, I'm still learning every day. Because there's some new stuff that we do but overall it's pretty much the same thing I've been familiar with the last couple years which is nice. So for me that transition has been easy."
"I think I'm in a spot where I'm helping out coaching the young guys because I do know this offense, I come from it, I know what to expect. For me I'm helping the young guys with the questions they have and also just trying to get better myself."
Some of those young guys are already pretty familiar with the West Coast Offense and Leinart as well because they played in the same offense in college. I mean the exact same offense.
There are Six different former USC Trojans on this team right now-all on offense: Leinart, Carson Palmer, Alex Parsons, David Ausberry, Brandon Carswell, and Nick Howell. While he is backing up Palmer at quarterback, he has Parsons snapping him the ball with Ausberry and Carswell to catch passes.
"It's nice. It's pretty cool. Guys I've been familiar with over the years. Obviously Carson too but, yeah it's been an easy transition. It's nice that we're representing the Trojans well."
"Lane Kiffin is there. [They run] a version of [the West Coast Offense], a lot of the same stuff we're doing here and I played for Lane in college so it's a lot of the same stuff."
Leinart's favorite receiver has been Juron Criner and today he connected with him a couple times. Criner is not a former Trojan but with the way he has been catching the ball, it doesn't matter where he went to college. He actually went to fellow Pac-12 school, Arizona.
Leinart also hooked up with Ausberry and Carswell today along with several other receivers. He hit Richard Gordon in stride on a crossing route which he took to the house.
There are three more practices between now and Monday when the Raiders meet up with the Cowboys in their preseason opener. Leinart will have a chance to show he is continuing his progression in that time and we will get a couple of quarters in the game to see if this former first round pick can show the skills that had him win the Heisman Trophy and leading the USC Trojans to the National Championship game out of the West Coast Offense.