...and hitting the playbook hard:
June 6, 2007
Cardinals notebook: Leinart plans to ‘work butt off’
Darren Urban, Tribune
Baseball was still on Matt Leinart’s mind Wednesday even after the Cardinals finished their organized team workout for the day, noting that one of his batting practice homers with the Diamondbacks the night before had been featured on ESPN’s plays of the day.
“SportsCenter top 10, baby,” Leinart said with a grin, brushing off the two blisters the temporary sports switch had created on his throwing hand.
Football, though, remains the most important sport in Leinart’s life, and he continues to insist his growth as a quarterback will continue even as the Cards’ offseason work comes to a close today.
“As an offense we are still learning,” Leinart said. “You don’t want to make excuses, but the defense has played well and has been ahead of us some days. They are giving us great looks. There is a lot more tempo and intensity than before.
“I have to hit the playbook hard the next two months. As the season comes closer, I have to know what I am doing, and that’s on me. I have to take advantage of the next seven weeks I have off.”
Leinart’s throwing during offseason workouts has gotten better as the weeks have passed. Coming off a left (throwing) shoulder injury late in the 2006 season, Leinart looked like he needed time to find a rhythm again.
Coach Ken Whisenhunt said he has seen Leinart’s confidence in his shoulder increase and that it has been easy to see the difference. Leinart said that more than anything, he needed to develop a trust in where his receivers would be in the new offense. As that has improved, so has Leinart’s accuracy.
One fact Leinart will not dispute is that he feels stronger and faster going through an entire offseason conditioning program under strength coach John Lott. Leinart is up to 235 pounds (from 230) and believes he is physically better equipped for the season.
And if Leinart is “bigger and stronger physically,” Whisenhunt said, “then you are more confident to stand in (the pocket) and make some of those throws.”
Leinart said he will spend the bulk of the time until training camp in California near his son, Cole, being a father and working out there.
“I want to take these next two months,” Leinart said, “and work my butt off.”