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The Arizona Cardinals have stated that they will enter the 2008 regular season with third-year pro Matt Leinart at quarterback. Some football pundits believe that this is the wrong move and Kurt Warner should be the starter after a strong showing in ’07. Let’s examine the dilemma the Cardinals faced in making this decision.
When the Cardinals were able to nab USC standout Matt Leinart in the 2006 NFL Draft, football fans in Arizona surely saw Leinart’s draft day slide as a sign of good fortune to come. Leinart played in 12 games during his rookie season and showed a lot of promise. But an injury-plagued sophomore campaign left room for veteran and former MVP Kurt Warner to step in and toss 27 touchdown passes in 14 games.
The Cardinals have handed the keys to the kingdom back to Leinart this offseason and have endorsed the young man as their starter. Why would head coach Ken Whisenhunt do such a think you ask? The team selected Leinart with a first round draft pick and is paying him a substantial salary that would be in line for that of a bench player. Warner, on the other hand, has a more modest salary and is better suited for the bench when looking at it purely from a financial standpoint. But you’re supposed to win games, right? Do what’s best for the team? Well Matt Leinart’s name, not Kurt Warner’s, sells Arizona Cardinals tickets and sometimes that’s the bottom line in the NFL. It’s not the most pleasant of truths, but it’s a truth nonetheless.
So Leinart is handed the starting job, but he’s sure to be kept on a short leash. Warner, meanwhile, is quietly and patiently waiting for his opportunity. He’ll get it should Leinart struggle or go down with another injury.
As much as I don’t like the financial motivations regarding this decision, I do agree with the Cards’ choice to make Leinart their starter from a franchise standpoint. The team is not going to win the Super Bowl this year, so playing Warner wouldn’t be the best idea. The team needs to let Leinart develop and play against NFL competition so the club can see how he develops and if he’s going to be their franchise quarterback of the present and, more importantly, the future. The former Trojan has looked good in the first two games of the preseason, but needs to remain consistent and make quick decisions in the pocket. I don’t disagree with the Cardinals’ decision to start Leinart, but I do disagree with some of the trends that take place in the NFL. It’s still the greatest league in professional sports though.
Morgan C. Dunn wrote this article, which was sponsored by StubHub, one of the finest places in the entire world wide web to get Arizona Cardinals tickets, concert tickets, theatre tickets, special events tickets, or almost any kind of sports ticket out there.