Monday usually is quarterback-controversy day for the Cardinals, the day to dissect which quarterback is playing better and/or to analyze Matt Leinart’s dissatisfaction. But this Monday was different.
Leinart is out with a season-threatening collarbone injury. Test results have not been announced, but Leinart — who saw a specialist Monday — is expected to be out at least until the season’s final few weeks.
Now the ball is in Kurt Warner’s hands, literally.
He must hang on to it — fumbling has been a problem for him in recent seasons — and then work the Cardinals’ regular offense plus the no-huddle attack.
As for the backup situation, coach Ken Whisenhunt indicated the Cards would be willing to consider trading a draft pick for an established quarterback, if that’s what it takes.
“At this point, we’d consider anything.
“We want to make sure we give ourselves the best chance to win from this point on.”
Experienced quarterbacks who aren’t currently playing but are available include Tommy Maddox (who played for Whisenhunt in Pittsburgh), Drew Bledsoe, Tim Rattay and Vinny Testaverde.
The agent for Shane Boyd, who played for the Cardinals in the preseason, said he’s been in contact with the Cards.
But Whisenhunt seemed to emphasize, “The first thing you look for is somebody with experience. ...”
As for the idea of adding two quarterbacks, Whisenhunt said, “That’s a consideration. It’s better to have a third guy in place.”
Whisenhunt and Warner both say they don’t want to go into a conservative shell to protect Warner, that they want to keep the offense wide-open and aggressive.
“Where I feel comfortable is when we spread ’em out and force the defense’s hand,” Warner said. “We’ve shown in the first five weeks we can be very successful that way.
“You got to play to win.”
Whisenhunt said, “I don’t want to restrict ourselves and put ourselves in handcuffs.
“If it puts Kurt a little more at risk, then that’s what we have to do.”
But they must come up with a backup, maybe even two backups, behind Warner.
The Cardinals were searching the market on Monday.
Warner said the Cardinals retain the advantage of using two different systems: the no-huddle and the regular offense.
Those two approaches, not so much two different quarterbacks, posed preparation problems for opponents, Warner suggested, as both he and Leinart are “very similar quarterbacks … in-the-pocket passers.”
Warner said he hopes the Cardinals use the no-huddle even more than in the past.
“We’ve been successful. I feel it gives us a distinct advantage.
“I feel very comfortable in it.”
Whisenhunt said he felt badly for Leinart, that the second-year quarterback “was playing really well in this game (at St. Louis).”
“You can see some progress. I’m disappointed. He was making so many strides, and now he has a setback because of the injury.”
Warner said he has advice for Leinart: “It’s easy to get separated from your teammates” during an injury rehab.
“My biggest encouragement is stay involved as much as you can.
“Don’t separate yourself because that will make it even harder.”
Whisenhunt agreed, saying, “It’s a test for him mentally to stay up with the team and stay focused. We don’t want to lose ground … as far as the strides he’s made since the first game.”