He was the 10th overall pick of the 2006 draft, but for QB Matt Leinart, it finally appears his time to be a starting QB in the NFL is here. With Kurt Warner retiring, the keys to a high powered offense in Arizona is now in the hands of Leinart. The bigger question now is – will he crash the car?
“When I start playing, that’s just going to be the true test if I’m ready,” Leinart said Wednesday. “Leading up to then, there’s not much I can do except work hard.”
That’s a big question, as there has been plenty that have felt that Leinart has not worked as hard as he could in making sure he is prepared to be a successful starting QB in the NFL. “I’ve said all along, I know I can play,” Leinart said. “I’m ready to play. I have to go out and prove it. I understand that. I haven’t done a whole lot in my career to this point.
“This is the first time I’ve had an opportunity where I don’t have to look over my shoulder. I feel like I can be myself and be the quarterback I am and can be.”
He takes the role of leader after Warner led the Cards the past two seasons to two division titles, and an outing in Super Bowl XLIII that was spoiled in the final minute by the Steelers. Leinart has stood back and watched the past two seasons, and in his only start almost pulled out a win in Tennessee if it were not for a last play TD by Vince Young and the Titans.
“He’s had three years now in our offense, and there is definitely a different comfort level than when we got here,” coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “He’s had the opportunity to work behind a quarterback who played at as a high level as anybody in the league.”
Now the question simply will be – can he continue the Cards QB play at the high level that Warner played at the last two seasons?