Thus far, Kurt Warner has played as well as I had predicted. By far, he's the best QB on the Arizona Cardinals' roster, and he's one of the best in the NFL. After two games, he's second in the league in passer rating, first in yards per attempt, and was just named NFC Offensive Player of the Week for the seventh time in his storied career.
With Warner behind center, the Cardinals' offense is in good hands. However, a problem is brewing on the sideline that will undoubtedly cause turmoil in the locker room as the season progresses—Matt Leinart's pouting attitude. What I saw from my seat last Sunday was disturbing.
While Warner, Boldin, and Fitz were carving up the Dolphins' secondary, Leinart was disengaged from his teammates and coaches and in full pout mode. During timeouts and while the defense was on the field, Cardinal offensive coordinator Todd Haley, Kurt Warner, and third-string quarterback Brian St. Pierre were constantly talking and going over strategies.
However, Leinart would not get involved at all. He just kept his distance with a dour look on his face. When Warner hit Boldin for the 79-yard touchdown, and also when Fitzgerald leapt over two defenders and made that great run to Miami's one-yard line, Leinart's reaction to each was one of ambivalence.
With so much to be excited about, Leinart stood out as the sole Cardinal who wasn't cheering the offense on during its pummeling of the Dolphins' defense. In addition, a couple series before Warner came out, Leinart called a trainer over and made a major sideline hollywood production out of having his hamstrings stretched.
Somebody needs to inform the prima donna that he's simply not good enough to warrant a personal stretcher. Just bend down yourself, and touch your toes a few times. Sheeesh. Even when he was put into the game, the sour expression on his face did not disappear.
Does Leinart actually believe that his weak arm, or his last-in-the-NFL 61.9 passer rating, or his three-interception meltdown versus the Raiders this past preseason somehow qualifies him to start over Kurt Warner? A top-10 QB in 2007 and two-time NFL MVP and Super Bowl winner who just tossed his third career perfect game (tying the NFL record) and is top-five in almost all QB categories this year?
The Arizona Cardinals' season is trending up, but Leinart is looking increasingly like a clubhouse cancer whose presence is not conducive to team success. Unfortunately, in addition to being a "bust", all evidence points to Matt Leinart being a loser, as well.
9/22/08, Leinart Pouting Update:
Sunday, while the Cardinals played the Redskins at Fedex Field, Matt Leinart continued to disengage from his teammates and coaches.
Numerous times, Offensive Coordinator Todd Haley was shown on the TV broadcast planning and strategizing with Kurt Warner and 3rd string quarterback Brian St. Pierre. Leinart was conspicuously absent.
This isn't about "one bad day" versus the Dolphins. It's a disturbing trend, and this story is not going away anytime soon. Stay tuned.