While the Cardinals are going to miss the playoffs again, quarterback Kurt Warner is speaking his mind about wanting to be the teams starter once again when opening day comes along in 2008. Warner talked to the media on Wednesday in Arizona and says that he feels that he has shown his worth this season, taking over the starting job for an injured Matt Leinart, and that while he has one-year left on his deal with the Cards he wants a shot at being the man under center full-time next year.
“Hopefully what I’ve shown is I can still play, and I can still start” he said. Warner went on to say that he asks only for a situation where “the best players play.” There is no denying that he has outplayed Lienart over the past season, as the vet has thrown for 21 touchdowns, the most by a Cardinals QB since Neil Lomax in 1987. Leinart, in playing five games this year and at points giving way to Warner during games, threw just two TD’s and four picks with a QB rating of 61.9. Warner has 21 TD’s and 15 picks and a QB rating of 87.6.
So how does this sit with Leinart? Probably not well, considering he felt and still feels that he’s the future of the Cardinals at quarterback. He took Warner’s comments in stride Wednesday, stating “I would not expect anything less of Kurt,” and “he’s a competitive guy.” Inside you know it’s gotta be killing Leinart, who was dissed in the draft two years ago till the Cards came calling, and now is getting shown up by a 36-year old QB that has been fragile over the past few seasons.
Give Warner credit, he’s played this year through injuries (torn ligament in non-throwing elbow) and through transition for the Cardinals, who seemed poised for a playoff run at 6-6 but have dropped two straight to end any hopes of postseason football. Now it’ll be interesting to see what head coach Ken Whisenhunt decides to do with the Warner-Leinart situation, as it’ll be hard to sit the vet after playing solid football in 2007.