Warner Wins Role After Loss

As game four wrapped up against the Denver Broncos, the conclusion of the Arizona Cardinals preseason series ended with a 28-14 defeat. The game was important for many players on the bubble as they fought for the spot on the finalized roster. Steve Baylark put the ball on the ground and it was enough to get cut. Kurt Warner earned the starting job. Here's what worked and what didn't from Friday.

What worked

The major factor of Cardinals game against the Broncos was held together in the first half by the two who have been in the most heated battle of the offseason, quarterbacks Matt Leinart and Kurt Warner.

Warner started the game in the first quarter strong with some swift accuracy displaying his knowledge and veteran skills. Looking tight and level headed on the field he made some key passes to Anquan Boldin as the Cardinals made their way up the field. Warner was 4-4 with 48 yards at the end of his start.

After Warner's display, Leinart took the field for his redeeming quarter where he made up for his unfortunate game against the Oakland Raiders. Leinart was displaying some of the skills that made him such a major prospect from the college draft in 2006. With his first play in the game being pressured into a sack on the Arizona 5-yard line, he recovered with an 87-yard drive to a touchdown.

Leinart had four key passes in the second quarter that progressed up the field. A 23 and 35-yard pass to Jeremy Urban, a 12-yard pass to Steve Breaston, and a 17-yard touchdown pass to Leonard Pope. Not only did Leinart make strong passing plays but continued to show patience and working his way into the pocket.

Urban appeared to click with Leinart's timing, totaling 94 yards.

Leinart's performance wasn't enough to win him the starting role. The Cardinals announced that Warner will be their guy moving forward. Warner's plans are from his lips to the football gods' ears.

"Hopefully," Warner said, "I can take us somewhere where we haven't been in a long time."

On another note, Ken Whisenhunt was also a major factor of what worked in the overall preseason as he was 3/3 in his preseason challenges.

J.J. Arrington provided an offensive show in Friday's game. His 26-yard touchdown run continued him to three weeks in a row of scoring for the Cardinals.

What Didn't Work

The major factor that led to Cardinals loosing after Leinart and Warner's strong performance was the continuous turnovers. The game totaled five major turnovers on the Cardinals behalf, leaving Denver with zero. The first of those turnovers was a fumble by Tim Hightower in an attempt up the middle in the first quarter. The game led to two more fumbles one by Leinart and one by Steve Baylark who would later get cut from the Cardinals.

Anthony Morelli came in around the fourth quarter to unfortunately add to the number of turnovers with two interceptions, one of them being ran in for an 89-yard touchdown by Jack Williams of the Broncos.

Also defensively many holes were being left open for the already strong Broncos running backs to break through the Cardinals line for a few major carries. Rookie Anthony Aldridge of the Denver Broncos was able to pull in 110 yards on 23 carries against the Cardinals defense.

What's Next

Though Leinart came on the field and redeemed himself for his last performance, it is seen that he was playing against mostly the Broncos Junior Varsity team. Leading up to tomorrow the coaches have to decide on who will be cut from the roster and who will stay for the final 53 spots on the team. Also with the season opener against the San Francisco 49ers on Sept. 7, only a week away the decision on who will be starting quarterback will be answered soon. Will Leinart's performance against Denver be enough to regain his hopeful spot as starter or will the veteran quarterback Warner be more suitable? The question many are waiting for is soon to come.


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