Just as important to Matt Leinart as being back on the West Coast is being back in the West Coast.
Although his time with the Houston Texans ended with a broken left collarbone in his first game as a starter, Leinart achieved a comfort level working in a West Coast system he never had in his four seasons with the Arizona Cardinals.
When Houston quarterbacks coach Greg Knapp accepted the job as offensive coordinator of the Raiders and imported much of the offense, it only made sense to Leinart that he come along, as well.
"It made perfect sense for me to come here because this is a brand new offense for almost everyone on the offensive side of the ball except for myself and (guard) Mike Brisiel, who is from Houston, as well," Leinart said during a conference call with Bay Area media Monday as the Raiders began their organized team activity session.
Oakland's assimilation to the system will bear watching. Starting quarterback Carson Palmer did his best work last season throwing medium and deep passes from the pocket. He'll be asked to be more efficient, complete shorter routes and execute from an occasionally moving pocket.
Leinart, at 6-foot-5, 227 pounds, isn't considered overly nimble, either. Yet both quarterbacks thrived in a USC offense with plenty of bootlegs and short passes designed not only to get first downs but also to let big-play receivers hit seams and pile up yards after the catch.
Leinart is philosophical
His tenure in Arizona ended through his own inconsistent play following a solid rookie year, coupled with the arrival and rebirth of Kurt Warner. Warner's example serves as an inspiration, however.
"Everyone's path is different," Leinart said. "(Warner) didn't start a game until he was (28). He's probably a Hall of Famer."