When they were together at Southern Cal 10 years ago, Carson Palmer was the mentor and Matt Leinart the student.
These days, the Raiders backup quarterback has flipped those roles, serving as Palmer’s teacher in his new offensive system.
Because Leinart’s worked with Raiders coordinator Greg Knapp the last two years in Houston, he’s sharing his wisdom with the guy he followed under center for the Trojans.
“It’s an interesting turn of events,” Leinart told Paul Gutierrez of CSNBayArea.com. “To be with Carson again, it’s crazy. It’s 10 years removed since he left USC. It’s 10 years, we’re back together, which is fun. It’s interesting because Carson’s been around the game a long time, [but] for me, being part of this offense a few years, I’m still competing my butt off, but this is the first year I’ve really felt like that veteran leader to help the young guys.
“Because we’re a young football team, so this is the first year I’ve really felt like I’m helping the young guys.”
Granted, Palmer’s 32 and Leinart’s 29, but the point stands.
Leinart said their familiarity makes it seem like college all over again, but Palmer said he can learn some things from Leinart because of the time spent with Knapp.
“No disrespect to my quarterback coach, Coach Flip [John DeFilippo] and Coach Knapp, but it’s different when you hear it from a player, for whatever reason,” Palmer said. “Your coach can tell you the same thing over and over again and every once in a while Matt will chime in and say, ‘You know, I hit this on this play against this team’ or whatever. It’s nice to get a coaching point from a player some times. Not all the time, but sometimes.
“He’s got experience in it because he’s done it and if he hasn’t done it, he’s seen it done by another quarterback in [Matt] Schaub or T.J. Yates or whoever it was. It’s really nice to get kind of the same coaching points, but it’s a little more believable when you get it from a player sometimes.”
Even if that player is the guy who was your understudy a decade ago.