Cardinals Offense Set for Season Opener

The Cardinals quarterback controversy has been finalized for now, but the competition will be ongoing throughout the year. Matt Leinart will start the season on the sidelines while Kurt Warner will lead what should be a potent offensive attack. Brad Wilbricht breaks down the two quarterbacks and the rest of the Cardinals offense as they prepare for the season opener in San Francisco.

While third-year QB Matt Leinart was named the starter back in April, he was unable to keep his grasp on the starting position. Leinart flashed his potential during his rookie season in 2005 but injuries and inconsistent play have since hampered his development. The final dagger came in Week 3 of the preseason against the Oakland Raiders.

In only one half of play, Leinart was 4-of-12 for 24 yards and tossed three interceptions. Although he rebounded with an impressive performance in the Cardinals preseason finale against Denver, Leinart was unable to convince head coach Ken Whisenhunt that he's capable of leading the offense. However, given veteran QB Kurt Warner's injury history in the latter stages of his career, Leinart must be ready if called into duty.

Although Warner may have won the quarterback competition by default, he has been a model of consistency since arriving in Arizona. Warner has played 30 games in a Cardinals uniform, throwing for over 7,500 yards 44 touchdowns while maintaining a QB rating of 88.3.

In addition to his on field contributions, Warner has been a tremendous leader in the locker room. Despite sitting behind Leinart in the early weeks of last season and throughout this offseason, Warner has been supportive of the Cardinals coaching staff and their decisions.


TE Leonard Pope
(Getty)

Luckily for both quarterbacks, the Cardinals feature several weapons on the offensive side of the ball. Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald make up arguable the best wide receiver tandem in the NFL. Backup receivers Steve Breaston, Jerheme Urban and rookie Early Doucet supply the Cardinals with numerous options in the slot. Furthermore, TE Leonard Pope has developed into a tremendous red zone target and Ben Patrick provides solid depth at the tight end position.

Joining Warner in the Cardinals starting backfield will be RB Edgerrin James and FB Terrelle Smith. In addition, rookie RB Tim Hightower and second-year FB Tim Castille will see plenty of playing time during the season. Hightower proved to be an excellent short-yardage back in the preseason while Castille's versatility allows him to be utilized in a variety of different ways.

Regardless of who is under center, the Cardinals offensive line will need to continue their growth in the trenches. Starting center Al Johnson has been out due to an injury but second-year center Lyle Sendlein has filled in admirably. At tackle, Levi Brown and Mike Gandy continue to show improvement and will parole the perimeter. Additionally, guards Deuce Lutui and Reggie Wells held off top backup Elton Brown and will protect the interior of the Cardinals offensive line.


Brad Wilbricht can be contacted at brad.wilbricht@gmail.com

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