Cardinals Positional Analysis: Quarterback

Matt Leinart and Kurt Warner (Getty)

AZRedReport.com will be doing a position-by-position analysis of the Cardinals' roster for the next few weeks. First up are the quarterbacks. A competent leader is needed at this position for the Cardinals' wide-open offense. Led by Pro Bowler Kurt Warner, this group is full of depth and experience. Here is a look at what to expect from them this season.

By game six of the 2007 season Kurt Warner gained the right to the starting job over Matt Leinart and has yet to relinquish that title. Barring injury, there is no reason to think things will be different for the 2009 season.

Over the last two years Warner has shown he is the Cardinals' best option at quarterback, throwing 57 touchdowns to just 31 interceptions and leading the team to its first Super Bowl berth. He still has a strong arm and the touch needed at the quarterback position.

It seemed Warner's career as a starter was over by 2007; he had fallen out of favor with the Rams in 2003, he started just six games in New York before Eli Manning took over in 2004, and his play in 2005 and 2006 with the Cardinals was inconsistent. The time had come for Leinart to lead the Cardinals.

But after five games of subpar performance first-year head coach Ken Wisenhunt decided to plug in the much more experienced veteran, a choice he wouldn't regret. Warner led the Cardinals to an 8-8 record in 2008 and a conference title last year, earning a trip to Hawaii and new two-year contract. Warner looks to have another solid year in 2009, remaining healthy and leading one of the most potent offenses in the league.

Warner does turn 38 in less than two weeks, so it is vital for the Cardinals to have a sufficient backup. Arizona's insurance policy is former first-round pick Matt Leinart. Although Leinart hasn't lived up to expectations, he has progressed during his time under Wisenhunt. The third-year coach understands he has an old quarterback and is plenty confident in Leinart should Warner go down. Leinart is the ideal size for a quarterback standing at 6'5", 230, and possesses good arm strength and instincts.

Leinart's only opportunity to play in 2009 will result from an injury to Warner or extremely poor play from 38-year-old, the latter of which seems much less likely. Leinart's best chance to become the full starter won't come until 2011, but by that time the Cardinals may choose that they haven't gotten enough bang for their buck.

Sitting at No. 3 on the Cardinals' depth Chart is veteran Brian St. Pierre. The seventh-year pro has been a career backup and has attempted just one pass in his career. After one season in Arizona, St. Pierre re-signed with the Cardinals after coach Wisenhunt promised him a chance to compete for the No. 2 spot. Leinart definitely has the edge over St. Pierre heading into the summer, but if St. Pierre impresses during training camp and preseason, he could jump ahead of Leinart on the depth chart.

VikingUpdate.com Recommended Stories