Leinart vs. Warner: QB Controversy?

While Ken Whisenhunt claims there is no quarterback controversy, he continues to play musical chairs with his signal callers. Matt Leinart will get the nod again this weekend in Oakland after he was replaced by Warner as the starter last Saturday in Kansas City. Brad Wilbricht dissects the Cardinals quarterback dilemma and explains how it could affect the team.

Although third-year QB Matt Leinart has looked impressive in two preseason games, he must prove himself in a regular season game. Leinart displayed flashes of brilliance during his rookie year in 2006, but his development took a step back last season after struggling with inconsistency and injuries. Leinart rededicated himself this offseason and his improved work ethic has been recognized by the Cardinals coaching staff.

Leinart's confidence continues to rise as he rebounds from a dismal 2007 season. The main areas of concern for Leinart have been his accuracy and awareness. He's completing only 56 percent of his passes over the course of his career and has a QB rating of 71.2. Despite his struggles, Leinart possesses ideal intangibles and size, qualities that must become apparent on the field this season.

Meanwhile, veteran QB Kurt Warner has been a model of consistency. He is a tremendous presence in the huddle and has resurrected his playing career since arriving in the desert. Warner has expressed his desire to re-sign with the Cardinals and finish his career in Arizona. GM Rod Graves seems committed to the idea of locking up Warner, further proving that the organization is still not sold on Leinart.

QB Kurt Warner

With tremendous skill players surrounding the quarterbacks, the biggest question mark on the Cardinals offense lies in the trenches. The offensive line has already suffered multiple injuries and has looked uninspired during preseason action. Regardless of who is under center, the Cardinals offensive lineman will need to demonstrate improved play in the final two preseason games heading into the regular season.

If Leinart is unable to secure the starting quarterback position and the trust of the Cardinals organization, the job will likely be turned over to Warner for this year and beyond. Warner's performance last season showed that he's more than capable of leading the offense effectively. While Warner may have two or three more years of solid play, the Cardinals will go back to the drawing board in search of a long-term replacement.

With what looks to be a relatively weak crop of quarterbacks set to enter the NFL from the college ranks over the next two seasons, the Cardinals are hoping that Leinart will finally realize his potential this season. After being selecting with the 13th overall pick in the 2006 draft, the organization was counting on Leinart's development to be further along at this point in time.

Regardless of who wins the starting job this season, the Cardinals offense has the potential to be one of the most potent units in the NFL. Far more important to the Cardinals faithful will be whether or not the team currently has the franchise quarterback they've been seeking or if the search will continue for years to come.

Brad Wilbricht can be contacted at bwill5025@msn.com

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