Matt Leinart: I deserve to start
Carson Palmer is scheduled to miss this weekend’s game between the Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers after suffering cracked ribs and a bruised lung on Sunday. That means either Matt Leinart or Terrelle Pryor is in line for his first start of the season. Rather than naming a starter earlier in the week, Raiders head coach Dennis Allen has decided to let Leinart and Pryor compete for the spot.
The former USC star does not sound overly thrilled about that.
“I just think in this situation, I think I deserve to play, I deserve to start,” Leinart said according to CBSSports.com. “Not sure what’s going to happen, but that’s all you can do — just keep preparing, keep working hard, be here, be accountable and whatever happens, whatever decision is made, that’s what’s made. You can’t do anything about it.
“So if they want to start Terrelle and evaluate him and see what he can do, then I’ll support that, and I’ll help him this week and help him during the game. But if they make me the starter, I’m just going to go out there and try to capitalize on that opportunity.”
Leinart handled most of the work after Palmer went down in Carolina, and he didn’t exactly make a strong case to be handed the starting job in Week 17. He completed 16 of 32 passes for 115 yards and an interception and finished with a passer rating of 45.7. Pryor took only two snaps.
The difference between Leinart and Pryor is that we know Leinart’s days of being an everyday NFL starter are behind him. He proved on multiple occasions that he is incapable of handling that role. Pryor is in only his second season, so we can’t be certain that he won’t morph into a starter. With the playoffs out of reach and one game remaining, the Raiders have nothing to lose by giving him a chance to state his case.