Leinart with his “older brother” gone

Posted by Darren Urban on February 24, 2010 – 4:33 pm

Everyone is going to have a slightly different perspective on Matt Leinart. Mine comes from right after the NFC Championship game. Leinart didn’t play, just like he had barely played all year. But he, like most of his teammates, was euphoric after the Cards won and made it to the Super Bowl. He didn’t come across like the aloof guy that so many seem to believe him to be.

I don’t know if he’ll turn into a good NFL quarterback but I do think he has grown up and I think he learned a lot by watching Kurt Warner. That said, I think he needed Warner to leave to have any chance to flourish (and not just because Warner won’t be there to play). I made the parallel to Matt about it being like the older brother leaving home, giving the younger brother a chance to be his own person. The two had been linked since Leinart came into the league in one way or another.

Leinart could see the analogy.

“Me and Kurt have had such a roller coaster the last four years, it’s been so up and down,” Leinart said. “There has been so much attention on our position, as far as me coming in the rookie year, me getting hurt, splitting time, and the battle where he beat me out and then him resurrecting his career and becoming a Hall of Famer.

“I learned so much from him and I respect him so much and what he did, what he has accomplished and how he has accomplished everything. But now I am excited because now I can kind of be my own person. I don’t have to look over my shoulder and that’s something I always felt like I was doing, for whatever reason. The last two years, I wanted to play, but it was nice. I didn’t have to look over my shoulder. I was just studying and preparing for this time, for this year. The last two years I could have been one of those guys who said things I shouldn’t have … and been a distraction. But I wanted to make the time to my advantage and then, when he was done, I’d make it my time.”   

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62 Responses to “Leinart with his “older brother” gone”

  1. By Derek on Feb 24, 2010 | Reply

    Hey Darren, Thanks again for answering my question yesterday. I have another question for you.

    What veteran QB do you see AZ picking up in free agency?

  2. By darrenurban on Feb 24, 2010 | Reply

    Derek —

    Good question. I don’t have any inside info, but given Whiz’s Steeler ties, I wouldn’t be surprised if it would be Charlie Batch. Whoever it is, it will be as a backup — not as a guy to battle Leinart for the starting job, I wouldn’t think.

  3. By Derek on Feb 24, 2010 | Reply

    Everytime I think I’m done, I find more questions for you! Sorry if this becomes a hassle but I thought of two more. I ask you because you have more football knowledge tham me…. I feel so inferior… anyway, my two questions are:

    1) Do you see any movement for a recently released veteran RB?

    2) Do you think that there is any QB coming out of college that AZ could make a move for?

  4. By darrenurban on Feb 24, 2010 | Reply

    Derek —

    I don’t see why the Cards, with Beanie/Hightower/Wright/Hyphen, would have any interest in another running back.

    I don’t know enough about the QBs in Az, but I would doubt it.

  5. By max on Feb 24, 2010 | Reply

    Please not charlie batch

  6. By Joe-B on Feb 24, 2010 | Reply

    Warner will always be my favorite Quarterback, but I’m behind Matt 100%.

    By the way, what do you think of Max Hall from BYU for Leinarts backup? He is from Arizona, and from what I have seen of him he looks like he would be a good backup for Leinart that probably won’t need a big contract if they draft him.

  7. By darrenurban on Feb 24, 2010 | Reply

    Joe —

    I haven’t heard a lot about Hall in terms of the draft. I will have a better feel for the QBs not named Bradford, Claussen and Tebow after this weekend, but most consider this a weak QB class.

  8. By Mike"Pay Q" on Feb 24, 2010 | Reply

    I am sorry but if a PROFESSIONAL qb has performace anxiety because he “was always looking over my shoulder”, I see no way he has the mental toughness to succeed in the NFL.

    I home I am wrong though and Matt flourishes.

  9. By darrenurban on Feb 24, 2010 | Reply

    Mike “Pay Q” —

    Some guys play better when they know they are “the man.” I think Jake Plummer was the same way. You could in theory say that about anyone in any job. I’ll be honest — if I felt the Cardinals had someone employed in the office that could do my job and the threat was there for me to lose my blog at at time, I don’t know how well I’d do in that position. It’d be easy to say Warner handled it, but his whole football life was about fighting for time. I think it can be a fine line.

  10. By Secret on Feb 24, 2010 | Reply

    Is Chad Pennington still an option? In my opinion he’s the best vet QB available for the cards type of offense: short-medium pass and run.

  11. By darrenurban on Feb 24, 2010 | Reply

    Secret —

    Pennington will be an option, but don’t forget he is coming off shoulder problems and he already had a reputation for a less-than-stellar arm.

  12. By Mike Ellingboe on Feb 24, 2010 | Reply

    In response to Derek’s question about a QB out of college, I’m guessing that we will draft one in the middle rounds of this year’s draft. If my guess is correct, there are a number of guys they could go with. Among them are: Central Michigan’s Dan LeFevour or West Virginia’s Jarrett Brown. If they select one in the last couple of rounds or go Undrafted free agent some names could be Brigham Young’s Max Hall, Northwestern’s Mike Kafka, Oklahoma State’s Zac Robinson, or Western Michigan’s Tim Hiller. I’ve seen some mock drafts having us getting Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford at #26 (really, really unlikely) or using a 2nd-3rd on Cincinnati’s Tony Pike, but I seriously doubt we use a pick that early on him.

    Who knows? Time will tell in April.

  13. By dylan on Feb 24, 2010 | Reply


    i believe in matt lienart and he sounds so much mature look what he did in college and the titans game he didn’t lose the defense did. Do you think he can do it?

  14. By darrenurban on Feb 24, 2010 | Reply

    Dylan —

    I think I want to see him get a chance. And I think, despite what everyone wants to say about McNabb/Vick/Pennington/Whoever, the Cards’ best and most realistic option is Leinart.

  15. By k. on Feb 24, 2010 | Reply

    i second the “please not charlie batch” sentiment! i also think it would be somewhat of a mistake to keep st.pierre because i don’t think he offers much in the way of even a 3rd string qb other than having been in the cards system for 2 years.

  16. By alex u on Feb 24, 2010 | Reply

    daunte culpepper

  17. By Nathan H on Feb 24, 2010 | Reply

    Yeah, I think we need an upgrade over McFadden at CB, but at the same time I want him to have another chance because if we keep getting rid of CBs and getting a new FA CB then they’ll never fit in our system 100% cuz they’ll always be adapting. Just like I’m hopefully that our defense will improve again this year now that Bill Davis will have a second year to teach his defensive scheme. At the same time we might be losing some key players on the defensive side and it makes me nervous for next season. I hope we tackle better next year too.

  18. By Eric on Feb 24, 2010 | Reply


    Why hasn’t anyone mentioned Jeff Garcia for a veteran backup? He’s the best veteran QB out there. Has there been any mention of Garcia around the Cardinals facility?

    Also, any idea if they’re going to bring back BSP? I think our best bet is to bring in a PROVEN veteran behind Leinart and maybe a raw talent like a rookie or Tyler Palko to try to develop for cheap as our #3. I don’t think there’s any future in St. Pierre.

  19. By darrenurban on Feb 24, 2010 | Reply

    Eric —

    The same Jeff Garcia who didn’t play in the NFL in 2009? The same Jeff Garcia who cannot handle being a backup? Don’t think so.

    I do think St. Pierre could be back, but I think they would bring in another veteran QB too and draft one.

  20. By dylan on Feb 24, 2010 | Reply

    yeah its not our d line that needs to step up its the secondary and they need to tackle better im more worried about our d then matt lienart i really think he is gonna be a good/great qb

  21. By dylan on Feb 24, 2010 | Reply


    do you feel the same about our secondary?

  22. By darrenurban on Feb 24, 2010 | Reply

    Dylan —

    Well, the secondary does need to play well. But they would be helped with an improved pass rush.

  23. By Eric on Feb 24, 2010 | Reply


    I’m not familiar enough with Jeff Garcia to know whether or not he can or can not handle being a backup. But, he did play the backup role in 2009 for the Eagles when McNabb was injured. Not only was he the backup, he was their #3 QB behind Kolb. He was released from the Raiders earlier in the season, likely because of differences of opinion with Al Davis. Had Garcia’s services been retained by the Raiders, they likely would have challenged for a wildcard playoff berth in the AFC.

  24. By darrenurban on Feb 24, 2010 | Reply

    Eric —

    Garcia was in Oakland because Tampa cut him, because he didn’t want to be a backup there either. And as I have pointed out in previous comments, bringing someone like Garcia behind Leinart, I think, would be counterproductive. Besides, look around at the backups around the league this past season. If Garcia was such a prime backup candidate, why didn’t he find a job?

  25. By Steve on Feb 24, 2010 | Reply

    Maybe a call could be put in to Jake the Snake? He young enough yet and probably bored with retirement by now. Just sayin.

  26. By Brian on Feb 24, 2010 | Reply

    I agree with Eric. A proven veteran for the two spot and a developmental guy for three.I’m hoping this year’s draft works out so the best values at each pick are on defense or O-line, specifically tackle.

    I’m kind of hoping that the Cards get a chance at Pat Devlin in the 2011 draft.

  27. By dylan on Feb 24, 2010 | Reply

    yeah well i think the pass rush did okay this year we just need more players to step up and want it everyone is all hyped up about karlos dansby might be let go well truly i didn think he played that great. its probably because the game against greenbay

  28. By k. on Feb 24, 2010 | Reply

    please don’t sign culpepper or the jake the snake fantasy as he is not coming out of retirement. there are plenty of vet backups but most of them are under contract and would need to be traded for which i don’t think the cards will do. my opinion is they draft a guy at 3 or 4 for qb and sign/trade for competent vet backup. i personally hope we trade for an adequate backup vet. the ufa qb market is pathetic in my opinion.

  29. By k. on Feb 24, 2010 | Reply

    oh and jake the snake would be a horrid fit!

  30. By dylan on Feb 24, 2010 | Reply

    hmm idk actually i think he would be a decent fit but like darren was saying earlier some people dont work to their potential if they have to look over their shoulder all the time i mean i dont at all

  31. By Patrick on Feb 24, 2010 | Reply

    Whiz on the radio from the Open today talked up Charlie Batch.

  32. By Patrick on Feb 24, 2010 | Reply

    Whiz also discounted J Peppers.

  33. By Eazy E on Feb 24, 2010 | Reply

    Batch is better than st.pierre, but i like daunte or chris redman too. The facts are the facts, we need to upgrade our pass rush at the DE/OLB position and at CB. The draft won’t really help us at these positions, dunta robinson isn’t going to get the franchise tag as expected and we should definitely pursue him. I been banging the julius peppers drum for a minute also. We can get both not only because its uncapped but dansby’s leaving most likely and we can sign a free agent 5.5 mil or more, so it is realistic if the cardinals don’t revert back to their old cheap ways.

  34. By Former Steeler Fan on Feb 24, 2010 | Reply

    It’s interesting that Brian mentioned Pat Devlin, who left Penn State (when Joe Paterno chose Daryl Clark as the starting QB) to play two years at U. of Delaware . Pat’s last year is 2010 and he holds all high school passing records for the state of PA.

    I think that he could be a good draft choice or undrafted agent in 2011.

    But, that doesn’t help the Cards this year.

    No Garcia, Pennington, Batch, Vick, Plummer, Culpepper etc.

    I would like Kerry Collins, but I don’t know his availability.

  35. By Tbru on Feb 25, 2010 | Reply

    anyone but Pennington. I am thinking Derek Anderson or Thigpen

  36. By Darthcard on Feb 25, 2010 | Reply

    Oh lord Charlie batch ? If we put Matt up to kurts standards he will fail. Many would. I really like Matt and I want him to succeed. I think he will but we as fans must be patient and that will not be easy after the last 3 fun filled season. Honestly I’ve been wearing my plummer jersey in hopes that it brings us luck. Tony pike has caught my eye. I like him 3rd round. 🙂

  37. By darrenurban on Feb 25, 2010 | Reply

    Darthcard —

    Yes, if anyone holds Leinart to Warner’s standards he will fail. Matt is not going to throw for 4,500 yards and 30 touchdowns, in all probability. And it’s pretty unrealistic to say Leinart should play like a future Hall of Famer, don’t you think? But that doesn’t mean Leinart can’t be a success, nor does it mean the Cards can’t win with him.

  38. By jmondo on Feb 25, 2010 | Reply

    Charlie Batch would be a good fit in my mind. Remember, we just need a veteran body for 2010. We are going to live and die with Leinart next season. We need to have him get through the year and see what we’ve got. If he passes the test, we can sign the guy for a longer period of time. If not, we can just look for our future QB next off season.

    I think Batch would be fine.

  39. By K-DUB on Feb 25, 2010 | Reply

    CHARLIE BATCH?!?!!?! If Whiz wants a Pittsburgh system player then get Tyler Palko, Steelers released him. We got BSP from Pitts and I never did like him.

  40. By K-DUB on Feb 25, 2010 | Reply

    Next Seasons QB’s should be Matt Leinart , Tyler Palko , and Dan LeFevour. This might be Matts last year as a cardinal (which I don’t think so) and we need some QB’s.

  41. By K-DUB on Feb 25, 2010 | Reply

    Darren –

    Is there any serious talks about McNabb coming to the Cards and being the veteran to challenge Leinart. Also which QB in the draft would best suit the Cards if we were to take one in the early rounds.

  42. By darrenurban on Feb 25, 2010 | Reply

    K-Dub —

    For the 4,432nd time, the Cards are not going after McNabb. Not sure on the draftable QBs yet. Let me get through the combine.

  43. By johnnybluenose on Feb 25, 2010 | Reply

    i’m with eric on this one. we need a back-up quarterback who can actually play in the event lineart gets hurt. jeff garcia can play…and win. forget charlie batch.

  44. By Ditship on Feb 25, 2010 | Reply

    I’m behind Matt 100%.

    We obviously need to draft a young kid though and I would like to see us grab Dan LeFevour in the mid rounds. That kid is a winner. 102 TDs and 36 Ints with a QB rating of 142.9 over 4 years and is now 22 years old. That’s very impressive.

  45. By cards62 on Feb 25, 2010 | Reply

    Leinart the man in 2010. We will give him one last change.
    No drafting of QB this year unless 7th round pick, as if Leinart does well like we all hope drafting a qb early will be a waste and we have a lot of holes to feel with the draft and/or free agency.
    We must must must sign an experience free agent QB. I continue to hear chatter that the Rams will release Marc Bulger so he is my first choice with Chad Pennington being my second choice. We all wish for Leinart to be great, but I think all of us have concerns

  46. By Big Red Fan on Feb 25, 2010 | Reply

    MC NABB IS NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT COMING TO AZ! Hope that helps, Darren. 😉

  47. By Big Red Fan on Feb 25, 2010 | Reply

    Bulger? The guy that “replaced” Kurt Warner in StL? This could create some strange karma in the media for sure . . .

  48. By TucsonTim on Feb 25, 2010 | Reply

    Dan asked Warner about his successor in Arizona — Matt Leinart. Warner wouldn’t flat-out endorse him yet.

    “I still don’t know what Matt Leinart’s gonna be,” Warner said. “I don’t know what his resume’s gonna be when he’s all done. I haven’t seen him play enough.”

    Warner said that Leinart seems to have the physical skills and the mental skills. But he’s not sure if he can put them both together. “I haven’t seen consistently him do all of those things and do them at a high level,” Warner said.

    Would your big brother slight you like this? Unless Warner prepared for his post retirement interviews like he did for New Orleans, I can see no earthly reason for him to slam Leinart other than he just doesn’t like the man. “haven’t seen him play enough”, give me a break! How about just trying to boost his ego a little and build a little self confidence. Or is Warner’s ego so big he’s afraid that Matt might actually eclipse his achievemnets. Leinart showed alot more class in his comments about Warner. Leinart is going to be a great QB.

  49. By Big Red Fan on Feb 25, 2010 | Reply

    Warner is honest. He has always said what he thinks. Not to mention he has no reason to say one way or the other. He is headed off to the golf course. . . . .

  50. By Peter in Canada on Feb 25, 2010 | Reply

    I agree with Big Red Fan. Warner is being honest. Leinart should not need an ego boost because if he does he is not going to be successful. He should accept Warner’s opinion and go out and make the most of his opportunity. I agree with Warner, he hasn’t played enough in front of a decent team to merit a blanket endorsement. I wish him and the Cards every success.

  51. By dylan on Feb 25, 2010 | Reply

    i think warner is correct on his statement but i do think matt can and needs to step it up no body is asking him to be a warner but we are asking him to play good and win us some games

  52. By CardsRep928 on Feb 25, 2010 | Reply

    Like it or not Matt is legendary collegiate passer, unfortunately he left the collegiate version of New England or Indianapolis in USC…Now that we have a legitimate rushing attack and not ol 2.5 james. We wont have to win on his left arm. Behind a vastly improved offensive line since his last real time as a starter. I feel pretty confident in him, hope to all see you in the C red this coming season…how is this for a slogan “Pride of the Desert” Arizona Cardinals 2010 Super bowl champions. 11-5 reg. season record

  53. By CardsRep928 on Feb 25, 2010 | Reply

    one other thing about the upcoming season….ENTER THE ERA OF CARDINALS SMASHMOUTH!!!!

  54. By FightON on Feb 25, 2010 | Reply

    I lost a ton of respect for Warner, you absolutely do NOT throw a teammate under the bus, especially one who plays the QB position! Class and sportsmanship are key, none of which Warner displayed at that moment, there are many many other ways a truthful answer can be given – or danced around in consideration for a teammate, certainly not the manner in which he chose to express it. No matter what you say about Matt, he has never done that to a teammate, never. Warner has proven to be very mortal, petulent resentment of one who he feels had an easier path than him is hardly a true “Christian” emotion. Warner could definately learn from Matt than it isn’t all about “me”. .

  55. By TucsonTim on Feb 25, 2010 | Reply

    Thanks FightON. I can think of about 10 million reasons Warner whould have at least thought about the organization if he didn’t care about the man.

  56. By Scott Hornberger on Feb 25, 2010 | Reply

    I can’t believe Charlie Batch is even part of this conversation. It seems like he should be collecting Social Security by now! Please! And double Please on Chad Pennington! Are you kidding me??? With the WR’s on this team, we have to have someone who can get it downfield and that ain’t Chad Pennington. Of the many names that have been thrown out there, I think Tyler Thigpen and Derek Anderdon are the only ones who truly offer what we need right now – a back-up QB who could play if we needed him to. And I seem to be the only one who thinks so, but Shaun Hill ia nother guy I could get excited about. We’ve had a chance to see him in some games against the Cardinals and it looks to me like this guy can play!

  57. By darrenurban on Feb 25, 2010 | Reply

    Scott —

    Right now, Thigpen and Anderson are not available. Neither is Hill.

  58. By Nathan H on Feb 25, 2010 | Reply

    Lol ,I would love for Plummer to come back as a Cardinal, It made me sad when he retired so early 🙁 He helped take us to our first playoffs in like 30 years…and we beat Dallas in the playoffs!

  59. By Nathan H on Feb 25, 2010 | Reply

    Darren also, when you said an improved pash rush would help the Secondary but I mean we finished 6th in the League in Sacks with 43. only 5 behind the leader Minnesotta at 48. I realize you can’t judge the pass rush solely by Sacks since, those Sacks come generally come from having to blitz thus oppurtunities for QBs to make plays if they make a good read. I would agree that we need more pressure with the front 4? or 3 lol whatever you call it in a 3/4 so that we can play coverage. I guess i’ll just hope Toler develops into our number 2 Corner, or McFadden has a better season.

  60. By Tony Williams on Feb 26, 2010 | Reply

    Matt will be just fine. He is not going to win every game and to expect that from him is just unfair. If he gets the support and a complete effort each and every down from his team mates, on both sides of the ball, then he and the Cards will be very successful. To all the naysayers out there look at all the poor decisions, throws and bad games super star QB’s such as Farve have had. Give Matt your support and I suspect we will be very happy he is on our team and we can look forward to another Super Bowl appearance.

  61. By Steve on Feb 26, 2010 | Reply

    OK, my Jake the Snake back-up QB comment was just to see what others would say. I still hold him, and many others, in high reguard from the 98-99 playoff appearance back in the day. Seriously though, I kinda like the upside of CHRIS REDMAN from the Falcons. I feel he is a much better option than injury-prone Charlie Batch and any of the other free agent QBs to be.

  62. By Matt in Philly on Feb 27, 2010 | Reply

    You know, I’ve got a good feeling about Leinart next year. I get the sense that he’s the type of guy who cannot motivate himself if he’s not the number 1. Last year, it didn’t matter what the game situation was, if he threw five touchdowns or five interceptions Kurt Warner was still going to be the starter at the end of the day. There’s nothing in his history to suggest that he’s the type of guy who can succeed in that situation. I think that by being given the keys to team, he’s going to lock in and play to his potential. That’s not to say that he doesn’t have a lot of work to do. Foremost, he has to get this team behind him. I have to say that I am really ashamed of these players going around talking smack about the guy who’s going to be running the team’s offense this year. Not only is it unprofessional, it’s harmful to the team. I also think that he’s still to doughy. I know if I were that tall, and had that much free time getting paid to not take snaps, I’d be shredded, and ready to step in there and push some people around. Lastly, he needs to be walking around with a cinder block on his head and an eye patch to train him to improve his vision on the field. He simply must stop eyeing his intended receivers right off the line of scrimmage and failing to find other reads. Either way, I think by Kurt leaving, a malaise has been lifted from him, and I’m excited to see what he can do.

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