Coach Dennis Green appears on the verge of benching starting quarterback Kurt Warner for this Sunday's game in Atlanta and replacing him with rookie Matt Leinart.
Green wouldn't name a starting quarterback Monday, saying he doesn't discuss
personnel issues on those days. But that is a new rule, because he's never
mentioned it before in his three seasons in Arizona.
ESPN reported that Leinart will start Sunday, and it's doubtful that Green would
be wishy-washy about his commitment to Warner, then go back to the veteran.
The move is bound to cause a stir in the locker room. All off-season, Green has
said he is committed to Warner and of his plans to have Leinart sit and watch
The Cardinals re-signed Warner to a three-year deal worth a minimum of $15
million, including $7 million to be paid this year.
Two weeks ago, Warner was named the NFC offensive player of the week for his
performance against San Francisco in the opener. He passed for 301 yards and
three touchdowns in that game.
But he's struggled in the past two games, both losses, and the Cardinals scored
just 24 points in those games.
In last Sunday's 16-14 loss to St. Louis, Warner three threw interceptions and
had a key fumble late in the game that cost the club a chance to make a
game-winning field goal.
Leinart, the 10th overall pick out of Southern California, played well in the
preseason. But he played mostly against backups and vanilla defensive schemes.
He'll experience a different game this Sunday in Atlanta.
--RB Edgerrin James gained a season-high 94 yards last Sunday, but he isn't
happy with how he's being used. James had 24 carries but he wanted more.
"No, I'm not going to say anything about the play calling," James said. "I just
want to play. I just want to be a part of it. I want the ball in my hands. When
you're in the game and you don't have the ball in your hands, that's hard. I
can't question why this and that. It's always a reason, but I don't know what
And James had a final word. "One day, my importance is going to be realized. I
hope it's not too late."
--CB Antrel Rolle is only in his second year, but he's not shy about speaking
"There's got to be some changes, man," he said after the Rams loss. "Something
really has to be done ... It's player changes. It's heart changes. We need some
heart transplants, because there's no way we should've (lost) to this team."
--QB Kurt Warner owned up to his critical mistakes after the game last Sunday.
"When asked how he felt about the mistakes in the red zone, Warner replied:
"Lousy. How do I feel? Terrible. Any one of those four plays, if I don't make
them, we probably win the football game."
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
REPORT CARD VS. RAMS
PASSING OFFENSE: D -- QB Kurt Warner had three passes intercepted, including two
deep in Rams territory. Receiver Anquan Boldin played a great game with 10
receptions for 129 yards, but it wasn't enough.
RUSHING OFFENSE: B -- Edgerrin James had his best games of the year, rushing for
94 yards and averaging nearly four yards. That's a marked improvement over the
first two games. James did have some opportunities for big plays but couldn't
break a long run.
PASSING DEFENSE: C -- Rams quarterback Marc Bulger wasn't pressured enough, and
receiver Torry Holt gave the Cardinals cornerbacks a few lessons. He picked on
both Antrel Rolle and Matt Ware.
RUSHING DEFENSE: A -- The Cardinals controlled Steven Jackson. He gained just 62
yards on 24 carries. The two tackles, Darnell Dockett and Kendrick Clancy, held
up very well.
SPECIAL TEAMS: B -- The coverage teams did a nice job, as did punter Scott Player. The return teams, however, haven't produced anything in three games. The
Cardinals were prepared to take a fair catch kick at the end of the game, but a
penalty took away that chance.
COACHING: D -- Someone has to take responsibility for blowing a game this club
should have won. There was a nice offensive game plan, centered on using more
two tight-end sets. That helped the running game, and the defense was solid. But
this team makes too many mistakes, and it's not just the youngsters who are