Sports Outside the Beltway

Kurt Warner May Be Benched for Matt Leinart

Matt Leinart may get become the Arizona Cardinals’ starting quarterback a season early, after two bad weeks in a row by Kurt Warner.

Arizona coach Dennis Green declined to say on Monday whether he would stay with Kurt Warner at quarterback or replace him with rookie Matt Leinart for next Sunday’s game at Atlanta. “I don’t talk personnel on Monday,” Green said. “We’ll start looking at things and have a staff meeting and take it from there.”

Green’s noncommittal comments came in the wake of Warner’s awful performance in Sunday’s 16-14 home loss to the St. Louis Rams. The 35-year-old quarterback was intercepted three times — once with the team at the Rams’ 1-yard line and another at the St. Louis 14. To cap it off, Warner fumbled a snap at the Rams’ 18 with 1:46 to play as Arizona was positioning itself for what would have been a game-winning field goal.

Warner was named NFC offensive player of the week after Arizona’s season-opening victory over San Francisco, but the offense has produced just 24 points in subsequent losses at Seattle and against the Rams.


Warner finds himself in this precarious position for the third time in his career. After leading St. Louis to two Super Bowls in three seasons, he lost his job to Marc Bulger, then signed with the New York Giants in 2004. He was the Giants’ starter for nine games but was benched in favor of rookie Eli Manning.

Warner came out of nowhere to have three storybook seasons before the wheels came off. Warner is almost certainly a better choice than Leinart if Green thinks the team has a shot at the playoffs. Otherwise, Leinart may as well take his lumps now.

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