Houston Texans quarterback Matt Leinart is ready to step into the starting role.
He said in a conference call with reporters Monday evening he’s hoping to fill in for Matt Schaub with similar success.
The Texans have said Schaub is getting further examination on his foot, but that he’s out for sure for the team’s next game, Nov. 27 at Jacksonville. Adam Schefter reports the lis franc injury is a season-ender for Schaub.
Leinart joined the Texans for the 2010 season and was third in line behind Schaub and Dan Orlovsky. He liked things so much that while he might have been able to find a situation that could have got him on the field sooner, he re-signed and came back as Schaub’s primary backup, ahead of rookie T.J. Yates.
“I’m really bummed for Matt,” he said of Schaub. “But he knows and everyone knows in this profession things happen and the next guy has to step up and that’s my job, my responsibility as a quarterback, to take his place right now and to help this team win.”
“It’s a great opportunity and I’m on a great football team and I love these guys and I’m just excited about the chance.”
Leinart sounds like he believes he’s a different guy than the first-round draft pick who did not pan out in Arizona.
He loves working with Schaub and has high praise for coach Gary Kubiak, offensive coordinator Rick Dennison and quarterback coach Greg Knapp.
“The quarterback coaching here is second to none, it’s unbelievable.” Leinart said. “I think that’s why Matt has been able to be so successful and efficient for years now.”
It’s demanding in a way he said is intended to bring out the best in a quarterback and that’s how it should work for him now that he’s older and more mature. His job now is to trust what the coaches tell him, manage the offense and be efficient.
He’s worked hard on his footwork, and it’s supposed to help steer him to throw the ball to the right place.
The offense should be the same, as he shares strengths with Schaub.
“That’s something I’ve always been comfortable with, in college we ran (bootleg) all the time, as much as we do here,” he said. “And it’s part of the reason why I love this offense so much. At Arizona, we weren’t a big boot-action, play-action and boot-pass team at all. Obviously here with the way we run the ball so well, that’s a huge part of our offense and that’s something that I really feel comfortable doing.”
A healthy stable of weapons expected to include Andre Johnsonafter a long-stretch out with a hamstring injury will help Leinart a great deal, and the team can continue to lean on running backs Arian Foster and Ben Tate.
“I imagine now defenses are going to try to make me throw the ball to win,” he said. “We’ve got some great guys on the outside to do that… It’s going to be fun. Matt is the leader of this team and he got us to this position.
“I told Gary, we’ll just continue to go and win for him and keep this thing going forward.”
Schaub is a big loss.
But Kubiak is a great quarterback guy and he's really high on Leinart. We should wait and see if he shows us why before we start ripping up the tickets we've been writing for the Texans' first trip to the playoffs.