Rain Cloud Lifts From Leinart's Head

Matt Leinart (Streeter Lecka/Getty)

The Cardinals must feel better about their long-term situation at quarterback after backup Matt Leinart played efficiently in a loss to the Titans. Making his first start since 2007, Leinart completed 21 of 31 for 220 yards. He didn't have a touchdown pass but he didn't have an interception, either...

Coach Ken Whisenhunt opened up the offense in the second half, and Leinart responded by completing 13 of 16. He threw a pass out of his own end zone, and threaded a key pass down the sideline to running back Beanie Wells.

"Not getting a whole lot of reps, he certainly stepped up and made some big plays for us," Whisenhunt said.

Kurt Warner didn't play after suffering from concussion symptoms this weekend. His neck is sore and tight, and his eyes remain sensitive to light. Warner isn't sure if the two symptoms are connected, or what is exactly affecting his eyes, but he and the Cardinals are being conservative with his return.

"I'm sure we'll continue to monitor it day by day and believe that it's going to get better," Warner said. "One day at a time."

Warner has undergone all significant neurological tests, including MRIs. All show that he has returned to normal. But he will need to be without symptoms for a few days before he's cleared to play against the Vikings on Sunday.

If not, Leinart will start, and he should have plenty of confidence having faced a solid Titans defense.

Whisenhunt was conservative with his play calling against the Titans. But given the Vikings' strong run defense, the Cardinals are going to need to throw downfield more than they did against the Titans.

"We did a lot of stuff on the game plan that were new wrinkles," Leinart said, "I don't think he (Whisenhunt) held back, to be honest with you, especially in the second half when I was getting in the groove and I felt confident."

Leinart wore a glove on his left hand for the first time in his career, and he said it helped improve his grip on the ball.

"I know, I told Kurt I'm doomed," Leinart said, referring to Warner, who has worn gloves since 2006. "I think I'm doomed because I'm still young in my career and I liked it. I felt good with it."

TRENDING: Rookie running back Beanie Wells can be dangerous if he hangs on to the ball. That's becoming a big if. Wells has fumbled pitch-outs in each of the past two games, losing the first one and recovering the second. The one last week against the Titans resulted in a 13-yard loss. Wells has the talent to overtake Tim Hightower as the starter, but he doesn't improve his ball security skills, he's going to continue to be a backup, especially in tight moments.

BY THE NUMBERS: 41 -- That's how many consecutive starts Kurt Warner had made for the Cardinals until missing last Sunday's game because of concussion symptoms. Warner took over as starter for Matt Leinart in 2007 and won the job in a training camp battle the following season. He had played through serious hip and elbow injuries, but decided not to push it when he woke Sunday morning not feeling 100 percent. Warner had a sore neck since suffering the concussion against St. Louis but he expected to play.

PLAYER/PERSONNEL NOTES

--RB Beanie Wells carried only nine times as the Cardinals ran only 20 plays. Wells fumbled a pitch out for the second time in as many weeks.

--QB Kurt Warner is suffering from concussion symptoms and likely will be questionable through the week. Warner has a stiff neck and his eyes are sensitive to light.

--LB Karlos Dansby aggravated a shoulder injury early in the fourth quarter and didn't return. Dansby has been dealing with the injury for several weeks.

-- LT Mike Gandy aggravated a pelvic injury and didn't play for much of the fourth quarter. Jeremy Bridges is a capable backup but there is no experience behind him.

-- DE Darnell Dockett had three sacks against the Titans, who had given up only seven this year.

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