Can the Cardinals QBs earn a passing grade?

There are many questions facing the Cardinals as the NFL offseason continues down the road to opening day. One position of particular intrigue is quarterback, where Matt Leinart and Kurt Warner are set for a desert duel. AZRedReport.com's James Jones analyzes the quarterback spot and compares Arizona's group to the rest of the West.

Coach Ken Whisenhunt has made it clear at Matt Leinart is his starting quarterback. The question is how long it will remain that way. Leinart will have some much needed competition from last year's 11-game starter, Kurt Warner.

Leinart has the ability and intangibles to take the starting job and run with it, even if he has failed to prove himself in his first two years in the league. Having both seasons cut short due to injuries didn't help his cause, being that Warner was able to come in and play very well.

Whisenhunt deciding to name Leinart the starter speaks volumes about the confidence he has in the third-year player's chances of performing at a high level. Regardless of any announcements, the final decision will come down to who shows more when running the first-team offense this summer in Flagstaff.


QB Anthony Morelli
Brian Bahr/Getty

With two potential starters on the roster, there would have seemed little reason to bring in another quarterback. However, Arizona did just that when it signed undrafted rookie Anthony Morelli (6'4", 232 pounds) out of Penn State. He will battle it out for the third and final spot on the roster with Brian St. Pierre, who has experience in Whisenhunt's offense from their time together in Pittsburgh.

It is believed that Morelli was signed to breed some competition among the other quarterbacks and give the team some options when cuts are made. The team will not keep more then three quarterbacks, but if Morelli shows enough in the offseason he could carve out a spot on the practice squad.

The best in the West?

Leinart's potential and Warner's experience certainly put the Cardinals at or near the top of the NFC West in terms of quarterback play.

Seattle's Matt Hasselbeck would have to be considered the best of the bunch right now based on last year's 28 touchdowns and 91.4 passer rating. His ability to take his team to the postseason year in and year out is another factor in his favor.

Marc Bulger had a sub-par 2007 season, posting only 11 touchdowns against 15 interceptions. His 70.3 rating was the lowest in his seven seasons as the club's starting quarterback.

San Francisco's Alex Smith had his season cut short by injury in 2007 and his backup, Trent Dilfer, is no longer with the team. Career backup Shaun Hill came into start the final two games, both wins, and will be in the mix for the starting position.


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