Arizona Cardinals history: Starting QBs 1996-present

Andy Marlin

We continue our evolutionary look at the Cardinals quarterback dilemma .

The series continues, looking at the starters at different positions in team history. We already covered the QBs from 1987-1995. Scary, we know.

1996:

Name: Completions: Attempts: Completion % Yards: Touchdowns: Interceptions:
Boomer Esiason 190 339 56 2293 11 14
Kent Graham 146 274 53 1624 12 7

Vince Tobin puts up a 7-9 record in the desert with former Bengal Boomer Esiason and Giant Kent Graham. Esiason would finish the season 3-5 while Graham went a respectable 4-4.The Cardinals offense however was better this year scoring 300 total points for 22nd in the league.

Note: This season marked one of the greatest examples of the "cheap Bidwills". Boomer was due to make $300,000+ if he were to play in two more games. The team benched Esiason in favor of Graham and Boomer asked to be let out of his contract. Boomer hates the organization to this day.

1997:

Name: Completions: Attempts: Completion % Yards: Touchdowns: Interceptions:
Jake Plummer 157 296 53 2203 15 15
Kent Graham 130 250 52 1408 4 5
Stoney Case 29 55 53 316 0 2

Now we enter a time period where I know some of these quarterbacks. Jake "The Snake" Plummer was drafted by the Cardinals in the second round of the 1997 NFL Draft. He split time with Graham and Case, as he only played in 10 games, with nine starts. Vince Tobin's team would go 4-12.

1998:

Name: Completions: Percentage: Completion % Yards Touchdwons Interceptions
Jake Plummer 324 547 59 3737 17 20

With those stats you figured we had a sub .500 record. With the help of Adrian Murrell with his 1000 yards and eight touchdowns, plus Mario Bates six, the Cardinals went 9-7 and stunned everyone in the playoffs beating the Troy Aikman lead Cowboys in the wildcard then getting destroyed by the Vikings the next week. The defense was horrible during the season, but the Cardinals offense ranked 15th.

1999: The Forgettable Years

Name: Completions: Attempts: Completion % Yards: Touchdowns: Interceptions:
Jake Plummer 201 381 53 2111 9 24
Dave Brown 84 169 50 944 2 6

After we took the NFL by surprise in '98 we fell back to our usual ways going a beautiful 6-10. Our Offense was second worst in the league averaging 15 PPG and scoring 245 over the season.

2000:

Name: Completions: Attempts: Completion % Yards: Touchdowns: Interceptions:
Jake Plummer 270 475 57 2946 13 21
Dave Brown 40 69 58 467 2 3

Vince Tobin gets sacked and is replaced by Dave McGinnis, the defensive coordinator for the past few seasons. Cardinals finish 29h in the league posting 13 PPG.

2001:

Name: Completions: Attempts: Completion % Yards: Touchdowns: Interceptions:
Jake Plummer 304 525 58 3653 18 14

The NFL runs a week longer than usual due to the horrific events on 9/11. Jake Plummer for the first time in his career throws more touchdowns then interceptions. Cardinals go 7-9 and their stats are better than former years.

2002:

Names: Completions: Attempts: Completion % Yards: Touchdowns: Interceptions:
Jake Plummer 284 530 54 2972 18 20

Plummer's career in Arizona comes to an end after this season. Poor play over much of his career give him the boot. The divisions get realigned and the Cardinals move from the East to the West. Cardinals finish the 29th in both defense and offense.

2003:

Name: Completions: Attempts: Completion % Yards: Touchdowns: Interceptions:
Jeff Blake 208 367 57 2247 13 15
Josh McCown 95 166 57 1018 5 6

The Cardinals finished 2003 with the worst statistical season on all fronts. They finished 32nd on offense, defense and 32nd in point differential.

2004: The Denny Green Era

Name: Completions: Attempts: Completion % Yards: Touchdowns: Interceptions:
Josh McCown 233 408 57 2511 11 10
Shaun King 47 84 56 502 1 4
John Navarre 18 40 45 168 1 4

We selected the best player in the draft with Larry Fitzgerald, so you figure we're good to go with Emmitt Smith, Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald, to go along with everyone's favorite coach Dennis Green. Well we're wrong. Cardinals go 6-10 but our Defense goes from worst to 12th in the league.

2005: The Rebirth of Kurt Warner

Name: Completions: Attempts: Completion % Yards: Touchdowns: Interceptions:
Kurt Warner 242 375 64 2713 11 9
Josh McCown 163 270 60 1836 9 11

Green goes out and gets former Super Bowl winning QB Kurt Warner. He played in 10 games going 2-8 on the year. Our offense looks somewhat respectable, as it is 17th overall in the league.

2006:

Name: Completions: Attempts: Completion % Yards: Touchdowns: Interceptions:
Matt Leinart 214 377 57 2547 11 12
Kurt Warner 108 168 64 1377 6 5

The Cardinals go out and draft Heisman winner Matt Leinart to become their future star, the same thing that happened to Kurt Warner in his brief stint with the Giants. The Cardinals finish last in the NFC West. The defense looks horrible, but Matt Leinart, Kurt Warner, and Edgerrin James makes the Cardinals the 19th rated offense.

2007: The Ken Whisenhunt Years

Name: Completions: Attempts: Completion % Yards: Touchdowns Interceptions:
Kurt Warner 281 451 62 3417 27 17
Matt Leinart 60 112 54 647 2 4

Matt Leinart starts the season 3-2 before getting injured. Kurt Warner comes in and takes the Cardinals to an 8-8 finish. Dennis Green was let go, and Ken Whisenhunt is brought in as is Todd Haley. Cardinals finish with the seventh rated offense to couple with the 27th ranked defense.

Note: This was the season when Warner began the season coming in to run the no-huddle offense and then took over once Leinart was lost for the rest of the season with a broken collarbone. Warner would also get hurt, injuring his left elbow pretty badly, but played through it. He learned to hand off with his other hand Tim Rattay and Tim Hasselbeck come in to replace him in certain situations.

2008:

Name: Completions: Attempts: Completion % Yards: Touchdowns: Attempts:
Kurt Warner 401 598 67 4583 30 14

The most successful season in Cardinal history, and the greatest quarterback in Cardinal history takes the Cardinals to the Superbowl. Ken Whisenhunt has his offense as the 3rd best in the league.

2009:

Name: Completions: Attempts: Completion % Yards: Touchdowns: Interceptions:
Kurt Warner 339 513 66 3753 26 14
Matt Leinart 51 77 66 435 0 3

The end of Kurt Warner occurs in the 2009-2010 playoffs. It was a season to remember as the Cardinals made won 10 games, and put up the highest scoring game in the NFL Playoffs.

2010: The Fall of Ken Whisenhunt

Name: Completions: Attempts: Completion % Yards: Touchdowns: Interceptions:
Derek Anderson 169 327 52 2065 7 10
John Skelton 60 126 48 662 2 2
Max Hall 39 78 50 370 1 6

Cardinals go 5-11 with the trio of quarterbacks who frankly should never have played. Matt Leinart should have had this season but his attitude got him cut. Todd Haley left and left the playcalling duties to Ken Whisenhunt.

2011:

Name: Completions: Attempts: Completion % Yards: Touchdowns: Interceptions:
Kevin Kolb 146 253 58 1955 9 8
John Skelton 151 275 55 1913 11 14

Ken Whisenhunt made a trade for Kevin Kolb during the very short offseason. However, while he was supposed to be great, John Skelton is the guy who gave Cardinal fans hope. He filled in for the oft injured Kevin Kolb going 5-2 during that span. Cardinals finish the season 8-8.

2012:

Name: Completions: Attempts: Completion % Yards: Touchdowns: Interceptions
John Skelton 109 201 54 1132 2 9
Kevin Kolb 109 183 60 1169 8 3
Ryan Lindley 89 171 52 752 0 7
Brian Hoyer 30 53 57 330 1 2

This season we all cried. We started amazing, going a lovely 4-0... before we lost all but one game during the last part of they year. We all know how this played out, who is in and who's out.

As we can tell the Cardinals have struggled mightily finding quality quarterbacks throughout their years. Can our new regime change that, or will they falter like all others have?

Keep up with the Cardinals 24/7, by following Revenge of the Birds on Twitter, @revengeofbirds and hit our "like" button on Facebook. You can follow me personally @MannROTB

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