Cardinals: Cardinal rules
Aug. 27, 2008
For the most part, the Cardinals return the same team that finished 8-8 last year. The entire starting offense is back (with the exception of third receiver Bryant Johnson) and the majority of the defense also returns. But even though the faces are the same, there's one important position that might be changed.
Of course, we're talking about quarterback. Matt Leinart started there at the beginning of 2007, but it quickly became a platoon situation with Kurt Warner spelling him when the Cardinals wanted to run a hurry-up attack. Then, Leinart broke his left collarbone, and Warner took over full-time. He went on to finish ninth in the NFL in passing touchdowns (27) while posting his best overall numbers since '01.
Coach Ken Whisenhunt announced Leinart would be Arizona's starting quarterback in the offseason, but after an ugly preseason, reports surfaced that Warner would get the nod. Whisenhunt has made a point of saying no decision has been made -- and it might not be made until after Arizona's final preseason game -- but the writing seems to be on the wall: Warner will be the guy.
No matter what happens, the Cardinals should boast a potent offense. Led by All-World receivers Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin and veteran running back Edgerrin James, the skill position players are in place to help whoever is under center. The offense will likely click a little better with Warner running things, but Leinart has the tools to make good on the promise he showed at USC.
The quarterback battle isn't the only soap opera at Cardinals' camp. Boldin is unhappy with his contract and demanding a trade. The Cardinals have showed no interest in fulfilling his wish, so it would be a surprise if he's moved at any point this year. Don't expect Boldin to miss any time, and don't expect his contract status to get in the way of his performance.
One way or another, this Cardinals' offense is poised for success. There's just too much talent here for the skill position players not to put up big numbers. In a perfect world, Arizona would just name a starting QB and go with it, but you can bet the battle will rage throughout the season, especially when injuries rear their ugly head. Fantasy owners shouldn't let that deter them from drafting Fitzgerald, Boldin or James, nor should they overlook whoever is currently calling the plays.