The vanilla defenses of the preseason can make any quarterback look solid. San Diego Union-Tribune writer Nick Canepa entitled his August 16, 1998 piece "Sure, it's early, but Ryan Leaf is for real". Against the St. Louis Rams, Leaf was 13-20 for 200 yards and a touchdown. He ran for a touchdown and had another touchdown dropped. Canepa's piece starts:
Last night's Chargers-Rams exhibition game here was Salute to the Military Night. There were two generals on the field. The Marines' Henry Osman and the Chargers' [Ryan Leaf]. Battlefield promotion, after the rookie quarterback, playing the first half only, led his team to a 17-0 start in what eventually became a 41-27 Chargers victory.
Starting his career 7-15 for 75 yards, a touchdown and an interception isn't reason to stop ogling college quarterback prospects. But it's how Mike Teel got there that's exciting. He looked poised in the pocket. He showed read. He has an absolute cannon and can be accurate in spurts. Right now, he's only an intriguing prospect, but if he can build off the skills he showed last Saturday and turn his sporadic accuracy into consistent accuracy, you know, accuracy, he's got potential. He's got potential to be an absolute steal.