We all know that Whisenhunt stated almost as soon as the season ended that Leinart was the starter for the 2008 season even though Kurt Warner had just finished his best season since he was winning Super Bowls in St Louis. Warner ended the season with 27 touchdowns versus only 17 interceptions, 3,400 yards, a 62.3% completion percentage and a respectable QB rating of 89.8, but he's still not considered the future of the organization or even a challenger for the starting job. How does he feel about that? That's exactly what Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports decided to find out:
“Why can’t a veteran guy become the face of a franchise? Why can’t he be the guy?” Warner asked. “I would love for it to be that way….The indications are that I’m going to get a shot – that the best player is going to play,” Warner said. “I’ve been there before and had coaches who tell me one thing and do another, so you’re always skeptical. You know how this business works with draft picks and money and all of those things. But until the people here prove me wrong as far as what they say, I’ve got no reason to doubt it. … They told me the best player is going to play come the first Sunday of the fall. That’s what I hang my hat on.”
Warner certainly doesn't sound like a guy who's ready to take a back seat to anyone. He's confident in his abilities even at 37 years old and in the final year of his contract. I'll say that I would always want my quarterback to be confident in his abilities but, I don't want Warner to be the starter at the beginning of the season or to become the starter at any point.
Let me explain myself, before I get blasted with "Leinart sucks and will get hurt" or "Warner's the better QB right now." I'll admit that Warner is very likely the better quarterback today and may be on September 7th when the Cardinals go to San Francisco. Warner might in fact be able to lead the Cardinals to a better record in 2008 than Leinart, but then what? Then we enter the 2008 off season still not knowing what we have in Leinart and Warner is a 38 year old free agent. Does the organization really sign a 38 year old quarterback to a new contract hoping that Leinart learns from the sidelines and is ready to start in 2009? The bottom line, as I see it, is I'm not interested in being good one season just to dive back into the doldrums of the NFL. They've built a solid foundation around the quarterback position and now it's time to develop the quarterback to take that foundation and build something great.
If Leinart starts the season and proves that he simply doesn't have the goods to play in this league, then I can accept Warner finishing the season. They can try to find another quarterback in the off season or through the draft again. Until they've figured out exactly what Leinart is though, I want him to be the quarterback of this team. Let the kid sink or swim. His future directly mirrors the future of this franchise.
Agree or disagree? Would you rather see how far Warner can take this team with an improved defense?