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The extra work Leinart's been doing

Texans’ quarterback Matt Schaub has been great the past two seasons at throwing from outside of the pocket, largely because of the way the team employs bootlegs and rollouts.

He has thrown 14 touchdowns and two interceptions outside the pocket, while connecting on 11 pass plays of at least 30 yards, second most in the NFL during that span.

I expect Matt Leinart will be sent on the move just as often when the Texans look to throw now that he is taking over for the injured Schaub. The team will try to maintain balance, but we are likely to see them go left more often than right as he’s left-handed.

Texans quarterback coach Gregg Knapp was offensive coordinator in Oakland for two seasons, where he worked for Lane Kiffin. Kiffin coached Leinart at USC.

“The play-passes and keepers that Lane used were very similar to what Gary Kubiak has done here,” Knapp said. “When Matt Leinart got here last year, we saw he had a real quick reference from experience with our play-pass and our keepers.”

Leinart got some recent practice work with the first team offense when Schaub needed some time to rest after getting banged up.

But he’s also had intensive tutorials from Knapp, who’s worked with Steve Young, Jeff Garcia and Michael Vick in previous coaching stops. (Leinart raves about the quality of the Texans' coaching.)

Knapp said he’s worked for 10 to 15 minutes with Leinart after practice every day, as the quarterback’s thrown to young receivers and/or tight ends. Then on Sunday’s there is a 30 minute fundamental session on the field three hours before kickoff.

“He has spent a lot of extra time working on our drops and our progressions,” Knapp said. “What we believe is so important is the way our footwork is tied in with our progressions. That’s what we spend a lot of extra time on.

"As far as the classroom goes, he is definitely one of the sharpest guys I’ve worked with… Matt’s very studious about knowing his progressions with the reads based on the coverages he’s getting.”

A few other notes on Schaub from ESPN Stats and Info, as he shifts into the background:

  • He had started 46 straight games for the Texans and entering Week 10 he was one of seven quarterbacks to take every snap.

  • After throwing a combined 27 interceptions in 2009 and 2010, Schaub had just six in 10 games this season, tied with Colt McCoy and Jay Cutler behind only Aaron Rodgers (three).

  • According to Total QBR, Schaub has been an elite-level quarterback since the 2008 season. His 66.2 QBR in that time period trails only Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Rodgers and Drew Brees.