He Said, She Said: Leinart or Warner?

AZRedReport.com's Amberly Richardson and Brad Wilbricht sound off with a little back and forth bantering, centered on the 2008 Cardinals. Up first, the two look at the starting quarterback situation. Richardson explains why Leinart is the man for the job, while Wilbricht insists it's the other guy. Read on to find out the rationale behind each argument.


B. Wilbricht
He said…

Although Matt Leinart boasts more long-term potential, Kurt Warner provides the Cardinals with the best chance for immediate success. Warner has been an extremely consistent performer since arriving in Arizona. He's completing 64 percent of his passes and has a QB rating of 88.3. Furthermore, he provides the Cardinals offense with unmatched veteran leadership in the huddle.

Although Leinart's offseason progress has been praised by head coach Ken Whisenhunt, his commitment has been questioned by the Cardinals fan base. Leinart has struggled up to this point in his career, completing only 55 percent of his passes with a QB rating of 68.0. After flashing his ability as a rookie, Leinart took a step back last season. He played in only five games before suffering a broken collarbone in Week 6.

While Whisenhunt made the correct move naming his young quarterback the starter, he won't hesitate to insert Warner if Leinart struggles. Like last season, the Cardinals could implement a quarterback rotation system. However, if Leinart is unable to take a firm grasp of the starting position this year, the team may give Warner the nod and focus on an alternate route for the future.

With one of the more potent offenses in the NFL, the Cardinals can't afford to wait any longer on Leinart's development. The combination of Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin is arguably the best wide receiver tandem in the NFL. Their exceptional talents need to be maximized. In addition, the Cardinals running game should begin to blossom as the offensive line continues to gel under coach Russ Grimm.

The Cardinals possess all the necessary tools to win the NFC West division this season. The quarterback position will once again be a vital component of the team's offense. Anything short of a playoff berth will be a disappointment and the Cardinals best shot to reach the post season comes with Warner at the helm.


A. Richardson
She said…

Long-term seems to be the popular phrase when arguing Matt Leinart over Kurt Warner. The 25-year-old has yet to reach his potential, but the Cardinals are banking on its existance.

Warner is as viable as a backup as they come, but it's Leinart's job to lose, not to fight for. While a Super Bowl puts Warner in good company, his proven-skills aren't enough to out shadow his age.

Leinart is the Cardinals future; everyone hopes it's a bright one.

Leinart needs to show significant progress early. He is well-aware of all aspects involved. Ever since his off-season antics were widely criticized, his commitment to being a positive role model to his fans and a leader to his team, have been top-notch. His leadership on the field was great at USC. Now, that seems to be coming into its own in the big league.

Two of the big questions looming Leinart in 2006, are the same today. Can he be effective without his talented USC teammates, and can he be reliable against a good defense?

The Cardinals have assembled a good-looking lineup to help Leinart out. Accuracy and vision have never been a problem for him and having Boldin and Fitzgerald down the stretch will help that trend continue. Also, his offensive line has vastly improved since the last time he saw action. As far as reading the defense, that's something the coaching staff will be able to evaluate on opening day and can figure out where to go from there.

Typically, it takes a quarterback a few years to fully adjust to the NFL. With Leinart's injuries, he's been robbed of the chance. Key moving forward is to stay healthy, in order to continue his progression as an NFL quarterback.

Whisenhunt has said that Leinart's confidence and mechanics are much further along than they were at this time last year.

It was also noted at minicamp that his depths are improving, he has a positive and organized approach to film study, and he appears for more comfortable running the offense at minicamps.

Everyone needs to hold on to his or her "bust" tags, this is the make it or break it time for Leinart.

The chip on his shoulder just might be enough for a playoff run.


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