Leinart vs. Warner: Another QB Controversy?

While coach Ken Whisenhunt named QB Matt Leinart the starter back in April, the competition will be wide open throughout training camp and the season. Veteran Kurt Warner may provide the Cardinals with the best chance to win over the inconsistent Leinart. Brad Wilbricht breaks down the potential quarterback controversy in this AZRedReport.com exclusive.

Matt Leinart joined the Cardinals after an exceptional college career at USC. In 2004, Leinart won the Heisman Trophy and helped lead the Trojans to a national championship. While many in the Cardinals organization still have high hopes for Leinart, he has yet to consistently produce on the field. Leinart has failed to live up to lofty expectations, after being selected with the tenth overall pick in the 2006 draft.

There are many question marks surrounding Leinart heading into the 2008 season. Accuracy has been a major problem, as he's completing only 56 percent of his passes during his NFL career. Leinart has thrown only 13 touchdowns passes while tossing 16 interceptions. Furthermore, he's experienced durability issues, including a season-ending collarbone injury last year.

However, given Leinart's struggles, he's a proven winner with the natural intangibles needed to succeed in the NFL. He was a three-year starter at USC, compiling a record of 37-2 as the starting quarterback. He led the Trojans to two straight national championship game appearances in 2004 and 2005. Leinart threw for 10,693 career yards and 99 touchdowns while completing 65 percent of his passes.


QB Kurt Warner
(Otto Greule Jr/Getty)

Similar to last season, the competition between Leinart and veteran QB Kurt Warner will be heavily monitored this summer. Although coach Whisenhunt has already named Leinart the starter, it will be an open competition throughout training camp and the preseason.

Keeping Warner off the field won't be easy. Since joining the Cardinals in 2005, he's been incredibly consistent in an unstable situation. Warner exhibits outstanding accuracy, awareness and toughness. During his 10-year NFL career, he's completed 65 percent of his passes with a QB rating of 93.2. In addition, Warner supplies Arizona with valuable postseason experience, as the Cardinals look to reach the playoffs for the first time since 1998.

With so much invested in Leinart, the Cardinals coaching staff and front office will give the third-year quarterback every opportunity to succeed. However, if Leinart struggles early, look for the quarterback rotation system to once again be utilized. The Cardinals implemented the system in Week 3 of last season before Leinart suffered a broken collarbone in Week 5.

While the competition should be extremely close, the Cardinals coaching staff won't hesitate to put the best player on the field. Regardless of who wins the starting job, with a tremendous receiving corps and an improving offensive line, whoever lines up at quarterback will be expected to produce a playoff berth in 2008.


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