Is Backup QB Matt Leinart in the Hot Seat?

Matt Leinart (Getty)

Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt has defended backup quarterback Matt Leinart after each of his three appearances this season, but there's no disputing that Leinart has failed to impress. His best opportunity came Sunday in Arizona's 21-13 victory over the St. Louis Rams. The Cardinals led 21-3 when Kurt Warner left because of a concussion just before halftime.

Matt Leinart completed 10 of 14 passes, but eight of those were for 8 yards or less. The Cardinals didn't score in the second half, as the Rams made a valiant comeback.

Warner's condition likely won't be determined until later in the week. He's had concussions before in his career, but it's been several years. He guessed that his last one was in 2003, his final year with the Rams.

Warner was flushed from the pocket on the play and taken down hard by Rams safety Oshiomogho Atogwe. Warner was never knocked out and he played six more plays.

But he was woozy and had a slight headache, so he was held out. His status for Sunday's game at Tennessee likely will be questionable.

"We're progressing and thinking that without anything else happening that I'll be good to go and probably play next week," Warner said of the Titans game. "It's just one of those Catch-22s, where you want to help your team win, but you also don't want to do anything dumb that's going to jeopardize you for the rest of the season."

Warner's importance to the Cardinals was underlined by the club's ineffective offensive performance in the second half against the Rams.

Two of Leinart's passes on his first possession sailed high, something he's struggled with the last two years. It's attributable to a footwork glitch that he's worked hard to correct, but the problem tends to be exacerbated by his lack of playing time.

The Cardinals problems weren't all Leinart's fault. The running game became stagnant and tight end Anthony Becht lost a fumble. The defense allowed a horrible Rams offense to score 10 points.

Larry Fitzgerald
(Getty)

The bright side for the Cardinals is that they held on to win. They are 7-3 for the second consecutive year.

Last year, they fell apart at this point, losing four of their final six. Whisenhunt is confident this team has learned from that experience.

"We are playing good football," he said. "We are rising to challenges, and that is what you have to do."

LINEUP WATCH: Early Doucet has replaced Jerheme Urban as the No. 4 receiver. On most teams, that wouldn't be a big deal, but the Cardinals use a four-receiver set quite often, and Doucet figures to see a lot of action. Urban has been solid in that role for the last two years, but coaches think Doucet has more ability. They want to see if Doucet can produce in games, and they already know what Urban can do. Urban played on special teams but wasn't a standout, so Doucet should be able to fill his role there, too.

BY THE NUMBERS: 3 -- That's the number of games in which the Cardinals lead the NFC West. At 7-3, the Cardinals have the chance to put away the division early, just like they did last season. The next two games will be difficult, however. The Titans are playing better, and a Dec. 6 showdown against the Vikings will be a test for the Cardinals on both sides of the ball. The Vikings hammered the Cardinals at home last year, 35-14.

PLAYER/PERSONNEL NOTES

--SS Adrian Wilson needs one sack to become the 10th player to have 20 sacks and 20 interceptions in his career. Wilson has 21 interceptions.

--WR Anquan Boldin had eight catches for 103 yards against the Rams, his second consecutive game with 100 yards or more receiving. Boldin has recovered from a high ankle sprain and is obviously healthy.

--RB Tim Hightower gained 110 yards against the Rams, the second 100-yard game of his career. The first came last season, against the Rams in St. Louis. Hightower's 50-yard run in the first half was the longest for the Cardinals since 2004.

--WR Larry Fitzgerald has nine touchdowns this season, three short of his career high, set last season.

--RB Beanie Wells gained 74 yards on 14 carries, but dropped a pitch from Kurt Warner on the third play of the game. Ball security has been a problem for Wells this season.

CardinalFootballTalk.com Recommended Stories


Up Next


Forums


3 Fans online
    Join The Conversation

    Tweets