Fitz talks Leinart UPDATE

Posted by Darren Urban on February 3, 2010 – 10:16 am

Larry Fitzgerald, doing the media rounds down in Miami, appeared on the Dan Patrick radio show. While Kurt Warner was taking more of a wait-and-see attitude with what Matt Leinart can do, Fitz clearly tried to be a little more upbeat — no shock since Fitz needs Leinart to succeed.

“A lot of the experience Kurt is talking about (that Leinart didn’t get) is due to him,” Fitzgerald said. “(Kurt) is a Hall of Fame player and Matt Leinart, having to back him up for so many years, it’s made it difficult. It’s not about Matt Leinart not being able to play. I just think it’s been how good Kurt’s been able to play. He really set the bar high.”

Patrick followed up by asking Fitz if he knew what he is getting with Leinart as starting QB.

“I am getting a guy who has been here four years now, who studied, who is prepared and who is willing and eager to take on the role of starting quarterback,” Fitzgerald said. “I am going to do everything in my power to expedite the process by going out and making plays and I think my teammates feel the same way.”

Fitz acknowledged he tried to talk Warner out of retiring — “I think everybody on the team did” — and admitted, “Whenever you lose a Hall of Fame player, it’s never good for your team.”

Fitz did talk about Warner’s basketball-playing ability, interestingly challenging Patrick (who I believe played some college basketball) to a one-on-one game with Warner. Hope Kurt is OK with that.

UPDATE: Fitz also told XTRA’s Mike Jurecki that strength and conditioning coach John Lott has a new contract and will be staying around, which obviously makes Fitz and Darnell Dockett — two huge Lott proponents — happy.

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29 Responses to “Fitz talks Leinart UPDATE”

  1. By Brian on Feb 3, 2010 | Reply

    There was a time when Steve young was in the same situation. I think now it is Matts time to shine. It is hard enough playing in the NFL, but Matt came in as a rookie and was expected to pull a franchise with so many dissapointments up to game. I believe he has had a chance to grow up amd learn from one of the greats. As a fan I believe. Go show the disbelievers you can

  2. By Flood on Feb 3, 2010 | Reply

    Let it also be noted about the Tennessee start, Leinart got only a few snaps because Warner was expected to start up until Sunday morning. Not bad for being thrown in the fire. Leinart is no Warner but let Leinart be Leinart and I think he will do fine. Remember, people freaked out when GB went with Rodgers over Favre. If you were in UPS (like I was) for GB-AZ, you would agree that GB is ok for the future.

    Darren, would you agree that fans need to come in off the ledge already?

  3. By darrenurban on Feb 3, 2010 | Reply

    Flood —

    I think if fans want to be on the ledge, I can’t stop them. But I think I am on record in the tone of my writing that it’s clear where I stand on the subject.

  4. By Dave on Feb 3, 2010 | Reply

    I think Fitz’s assessment of Leinart is a lot fairer than Warner’s “wait and see” song and dance. The fact is,a future HOF QB put Leinart’s developmental years in limbo. I think if I was a future HOF fame QB I would want to act like the guy who’d been learning behind me for TWO YEARS maybe LEARNED something?
    Warner won’t even give Leinart a vote of confidence? If I didn’t KNOW better I’d think the big Christian man had a GRUDGE against Leinart.

  5. By shannon robinson on Feb 3, 2010 | Reply

    Well said Brian. It’s interesting that John Lott has signed.That means thast the Bidwills would have had to buttress his pension rights with the new contract. It also demonstrates a first things first attitude by the Cards. Mr. Graves gives recognition of what John Lott means to the team. All the interviews and team cams showing new players drafted coming to the facility for the first time and they all bump into John Lott roaming the hallways, and he welcomes them aboard! You add 10% strength to a player and he getsinjured less, but most of all he learned the discipline of fitness that becomes a winning attitude. Cards fans see the diference that John Lott makes. “Meet me at Camelback Mountain” – can you imagine what that’s like?

  6. By Heksolson on Feb 3, 2010 | Reply

    I just know Matt will be allright!! COME ON CARDS!!

  7. By gordo on Feb 3, 2010 | Reply

    i say we draft that kid out of central michagen or jevin snead just in case matt doesnt do well.. im also a big fan of having chad pennigton he can bring in some leadership and doesnt turnover the ball very much, And since i think the cards will go to a more run style offense i think he will fit in perfect..

  8. By Luis on Feb 3, 2010 | Reply

    Brian you hit the nail on the head. I am supporting Leinart all the way. GO CARDS!!!!!

  9. By Eazy E on Feb 3, 2010 | Reply

    I can see why warner is taking a wait and see approach, can you blame him? Leinart played ok in the titans game, not great, not terrible and warner definitely doesn’t have a grudge against leinart or jealous, warner’s the great football player, leinart not so much his job was to prepare like a starter just in case kurt didnt go because of the concussion, that’s every backup’s job at any position in the nfl to prepare like a starter. Please stop making 1,000 excuses for leinart, I was a big leinart guy but every cards fan gotta admit he played awful this year and the titans game i reiterate was ok. Leinart is going to have to build the trust of everybody, fans, coaches, players, and most importantly himself. Whisenhunt I think really wants another qb but may just give him a shot.

  10. By vsancards on Feb 3, 2010 | Reply

    Darren, how quickly can you confirm the Lott move, I think that would be a great move by the Cards!

  11. By darrenurban on Feb 3, 2010 | Reply

    vsancards —

    Kent Somers has already confirmed it.

  12. By Joe-B on Feb 3, 2010 | Reply

    I agree with Fitz, and its good to see Lott come back.

  13. By Aitchem on Feb 3, 2010 | Reply

    Far and away the biggest new nugget in this story – Lott’s signing. Fabulous move, and absolutely the right sign to send to the players right now. Next up, extend Whiz. Don’t care how long he has left on his current deal.

  14. By CARDSFAN1178124 on Feb 3, 2010 | Reply

    I’m glad we re-signed Lott. If the best players on your team are lobbying for a guy to stick around it is paramount that the organization does what they can to show them that they have their best interests in mind. Since Lott effectively saved Fitz’s career, I think the players are happy. LEINART!!!!

  15. By Kevin on Feb 3, 2010 | Reply

    Is the extension for Lott confirmed? That is one of the items I looked at as very important for the Cards. We have been very lucky for the most part these past few years. I think John Lott is a big reason why!!

  16. By darrenurban on Feb 3, 2010 | Reply

    Kevin —

    The Lott story is true.

  17. By CARDSFAN1178124 on Feb 3, 2010 | Reply

    Love The Great Unknown story Darren! People forget about his rookie season and his first four games under Whiz; notably when Whiz went with him on the pivotal 4th quarter series against Pittsburgh when he came out and threw that 40+ yard pass to Fitzgerald on 1st down. The guy can play. It’s unbelievable how these fans have given up on a national champ and a Heisman winner.

  18. By Rich on Feb 3, 2010 | Reply

    Leinart’s backup preparation this year was geared towards an offense that was designed for Warner’s skills. Next year, the offense will be geared around a more balanced scheme, and around Leinart’s strengths. Let’s give the young fella a chance. My guess is he’s goijg to surprise a lot of folks.

  19. By cards62 on Feb 3, 2010 | Reply

    10th player selected and several years and millions of dollars in our system. Yes I think this should be Leinart’s team next year and we see how he does and what we have in him. Titans two years ago have Vince Young get banged up and they go to Collins and they do great. This year they start awful and switch back to Vince Young and do great. Things can change quickly for quarterbacks so I will root hard for Leinart just like I was happy when he fell to us in the draft years ago. I of course believe in insurance and there is no position more important than QB so Cards must pickup an experience QB to backup Leinart. I do not think we need to draft a QB this year unless we use a late round pick on someone the coaches really like. If Leinart does well which we all hope at his age a rookie will never see the field for us, and if Leinart does not do well a rookie QB probably will not help, but I admit there are exceptions (Flacco and Ryan sorry Jets won in spiite of Sanchez). I think we must get an experience backup and I know the Cardinals will as the organization is making a lot of great decisions now. John Lott alright – hope to see you on the draft combine show again. Cardinals Western Division Champions 3 years in a row sounds good to me.

  20. By scott on Feb 3, 2010 | Reply


    unrelated question. assuming no cba is in place and the next year is uncapped – are the cardinals allowed to compensate for the loss of warner in any way? i know you and others had mentioned that because the cards had finished in the top 8 they would be limited in their free agent aquisitions.


  21. By darrenurban on Feb 3, 2010 | Reply

    Scott —

    They aren’t aided by Warner retiring, although it’s not like they can’t sign a QB.

  22. By Scott Hornberger on Feb 3, 2010 | Reply

    Amen, Dave, you couldn’t have said it better. Not only am I REALLY disappointed in Warner’s lack of an endorsement for Leinart, I’m seriously irked by his overall lack of enthusiasm and appreciation for the Cardinals in general. Anyone else feel that way??? On ESPN yesterday morning, he basically said that losing the Super Bowl with the Rams was hard to handle because he felt that they were supposed to win, but losing with Arizona last year wasn’t as tough because the same expectation just weren’t there. Either I just took his comments the wrong way or maybe he should have just kept that one to himself. I think Kurt needs to realize that what he’s accomplished over the last three seasons WITH THE CARDINALS has truly solidified his case for induction into the Hall Of Fame and I’d like to hear him say something to that effect. As much as I’ll miss Warner’s abilities on the field, I’m behind Leinart all the way. First of all, there’s no shame in being kept on the bench by a an all-time great player like Warner who is still playing at his best. Heck, this past year, Warner would have kept Tom Brady on the bench! Leinart has had his moments and will benefit tremendously from being the guy getting all the reps with the first team offense and not feeling the pressure of Warner’s presence anymore. Great to hear Fitz talking the way he is about Leinart taking over. And I know he will do anything he can to help Leinart succeed. You da man, Larry!

  23. By Patrick on Feb 3, 2010 | Reply

    Matt has earned his shot. Naysayers need to live with it. My bet is Matt steps up. He didn’t win the trophy on popularity.

    Urb did a nice article on some of Matt’s really solid games. Does Matt need work? Yep. Are there doubts? Yep. Will he thrive? That’s what they play the games, stay tuned Cardinal fans.

    Final thought: Whiz will kick his butt to get it done, then pat him on the head. In Whiz we trust…

  24. By Buddy Hensley on Feb 4, 2010 | Reply


    I’m a fan of Matt and want him to get a chance, but what are the Cards going to do at the backup QB possition? I mean Matt has gone down twice to injury in limited play. Will they go after a Vet? or a young QB? I think they should go after Graham Harrell, when I saw that guy in college, he seemed the most “Kurt Warner-like” off all the QB’s coming out last year, AND he went undrafted!! I think it would be almost worth it, just to bring him in for OTA’s and training camp to see how he’d perform at the next level.

  25. By darrenurban on Feb 4, 2010 | Reply

    Buddy —

    They will likely draft a guy and sign a veteran FA. And I would guess they might sign a more off-the-radar player as a fourth QB too.

  26. By Peter in Canada on Feb 4, 2010 | Reply

    I don’t understand these bloggers going after Warner for his comments. First off, I don’t think a huge endorsement of Leinart is in order because he hasn’t done anything to deserve it. He does however deserve a shot. I hope he succeeds and as one blogger said the offence will change to suit his talents.

    Second, the Rams were heavy favourites in the Super Bowl and the Patriots were just supposed to be opponents. The Rams were terrible for three quarters and blew NE off the field in the fourth and would undoubtdly have won if they had more time. They must have felt they had squandered their opportunity. The Cards were underdogs, played a great game and almost won. There was no disgrace in losing because they played really hard and left nothing on the field.

  27. By Scott Hornberger on Feb 4, 2010 | Reply

    Peter – I think there’s a bit of a difference between a “huge endorsement” and no endorsement at all. It’s not like Warner didn’t have a chance to get to know this guy. Yeah, in the end, Leinart has to step up and show he can play now. It really doesn’t matter what anyone says or thinks right now. But what was it gonna cost Warner to give the kid even a little vote of confidence? The answer is nothing.

  28. By JP on Feb 5, 2010 | Reply

    I’ve got to agree with Peter wrt the “Warner lack of endorsement” deal. I think you guys are reading into it too much and making something out of nothing. Warner has always been refreshingly open and truthful. If he doesn’t trully have full confidence that Leinart will hit the ground running then he is not going to lie about his confidence.
    I think it’s lame to make the statements you did and bring Kurt’s faith into it….just as it’s easy for you to say as a Christian he should give an endorsement to Matt I can easily say as a Christian he should speak the truth with grace, which is what he did.
    I heard Fitz talking with Deon and I thought he was holding judgement on Leinart and turning it back on himself doing everything he could do…I got that impression b4 reading these blogs.
    Hope for the best, prepare for the worse. (an adaptation of Reagan’s: trust but verify)

  29. By FightON on Feb 6, 2010 | Reply

    “I think Fitz’s assessment of Leinart is a lot fairer than Warner’s “wait and see” song and dance. The fact is,a future HOF QB put Leinart’s developmental years in limbo. I think if I was a future HOF fame QB I would want to act like the guy who’d been learning behind me for TWO YEARS maybe LEARNED something?
    Warner won’t even give Leinart a vote of confidence? If I didn’t KNOW better I’d think the big Christian man had a GRUDGE against Leinart.”

    This. As much as most of you hate ML, the Matt I’ve know about since he took the first snap under center in college, NEVER threw a fellow teammate (or former one at that) under the bus, and it seems he has been respectful waiting his turn. Maybe Kurt is irked that Matt has sought out Tom Brady and Joe Montanna as QB’s to learn from since they fit his style of play more. It’s not all about you Kurt.

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