I’ll say this for ESPN, they do stand by their men, especially when it comes to Chris Mortensen. The other day, Mort issued a breaking report, stating the Arizona Cardinals named Kurt Warner as their starting quarterback after Matt Leinart had a horrible preseason outing against the Oakland Raiders.
Once news got out about Mort’s report, the Cardinals coaching staff, namely head coach Ken Whisenhunt, indicated Leinart is still his starting quarterback. Actually, he said no changes have been made while discussing his disappointment in Mort’s report.
That, however, has not stopped the Worldwide Leader from posting articles discussing how Kurt Warner’s patience in Arizona finally paid off. In fact, John Clayton’s article speaks as if the decision is already set in stone, obviously spurred on by Mortensen’s (premature?) report.
Whisenhunt gave Leinart every chance to win the job. Sure, he probably felt threatened when Warner earned first-team snaps every other day, but too bad. All he had to do was light up practice and do the same in games. He didn’t, and his skills have deteriorated inexplicably.
While that seems to be the consensus on Leinart’s performance thus far, it’s apparent Whisenhunt isn’t ready to give in to ESPN’s perspective, bringing up another point — if the heir apparent to the Arizona starting quarterback position is performing poorly, why wouldn’t you make the change to Kurt Warner?
Remember, Warner posted these numbers –3417 yards and 27 touchdowns — in relief of an injured Leinart last season.
The object of playing is to win the game, not to pamper a quarterback who doesn’t seem to grasp what it takes to be an NFL quarterback (it’s not as easy as it was at SC, aye Matt?). I understand Warner’s not getting any younger, but when he presents the Cardinals their best chance to win, making a change seems like the obvious choice.
I can understand Whisenhunt’s displeasure in ESPN’s methods, but keeping Leinart as the starter just to save face seems petulant and stubborn. I also understand Arizona wants to know what they have in Leinart and rightfully so. Any time you make such an investment, you need to know whether or not it was a wise one. But isn’t that what the NFL preseason is for?
I’m not sure keeping Leinart as the starter just to prove a point to ESPN is the best thing for Cardinals, especially when it’s becoming more and more evident Warner is the man for the job.