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Thread: A Change at QB Marks a Change in Style for AZ

  1. #1

    A Change at QB Marks a Change in Style for AZ

    As much as we would like to believe that the Cardinals air attack will continue to dominate, we need to come to grips with one small fact: Matt Leinart is not Kurt Warner. Leinart's ability to start in the NFL (including his maturity and leadership) is simply an untested hypothesis at this point. Count me among the believers that the past few years behind a Hall of Fame QB have produced a different Leinart than we saw start under Dennis Green. But let us also be realistic. Kurt Warner kept the Cardinals competitive with his ability to make plays with his arm. His ability to read the field was a bit under appreciated, in part because so much credit was attributed to his talented receiving corps. Leinart will not be able to make those plays yet. Offensive production will have to come from somewhere else and the defense will have to make sure that "track meet" games are a thing of the past. The running game will bear the bulk of the offensive burden as the Cardinals will undoubtedly shift to a more traditional balance of run/pass plays. Call it "Steelers football" or smashmouth football, but expect the demand placed on Matt to be closer to that of Joe Flacco rather than Joe Montana. With Warner at the helm and Fitzgerald/Boldin at WR, it was easy to feel like the Cardinals were never that far out of a game. If the Cardinals have any chance of taking the division next year, it will be behind a more disciplined and conservative brand of football - offensively and defensively.

  2. #2
    This was more of an extension on Cris' post from May, but we are unable to comment on that one, so I added my comments above and started the conversation anew.

  3. #3
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    Matt Leinart will have some big shoes to fill. His reputation is a bit tarnished right now because of his earlier mishaps, but I hope that Kurt Warner was able to teach him a few things about managing the game. I would expect the Cardinals to take a safe approach and not rely on the passing game as much, just so Leinart can get some confidence back. Also, without Anquan Boldin, the receiving picture is a little different, and it will take time to adjust. This does not mean that we should write off their season in July, but to expect anything more than a division title might be a little unrealistic.

  4. #4
    i honestly think the cardinals will be a lot better than people expect. Leinart struggled at first because our o-line was terrible at both run and pass blocking. While warner's quick release opens up the debate on how much the line's pass blocking has improved, i think its clear that the line has gotten far better at run blocking not to mention acquiring alan faneca and even rex hadnot will definitely help. Wells is also a far more dynamic runner than edge was when leinart entered the league, so although the actual receiving tools around him may be worse (also debatable because breaston is a great receiver and doucet showed promise at the end of the season) leinart wont have to throw the ball as much just to keep the team in the game. Defensively i think the cardinals actually improved despite losing dansby and rolle who were both great players, but rhodes is about equal to rolle at this stage and i think washington can and will replace dansby sooner than people think (rookie lbs i think transition the best), but the defense really improves at the line where it gets a true nt in williams and dockett and campbell may be the best 3-4 end combo in the game. Adding joey porter to give them a true rush off the edge only helps dockett and campbell and he will also hopefully help groom young lbs like cody brown and will davis. So although the cards are in a definite transition year i definitely think they can hold on to the division by playing like the most veteran team in the division, which they are. Whisenhunt changed the culture of the players and i dont expect people like adrian wilson and darnell dockett to just make way for the 49ers

  5. #5
    I think that everyone is in agreement that we can't expect the same type of Cards team this coming season. I like iwantpizza's point about the change in personnel around Leinart. It's something that I overlooked but also completely agree with. In fact, along with Leinart's personal growth, this is probably the most relevant thing to think about in terms of projecting the Cards success for the coming season. Warner's release was quick, but he definitely didn't create much time on his own. The O-Line's pass blocking was much improved and their improvements in run blocking really started to show towards the tail end of 2009. In total, I think that we can agree that the O-Line in 2009 was better than the line that played in SB43.

    I believe that in order to truly compete, the Cards have to fall somewhere between their old offense first mentality and the way that more defensively minded teams (think Steelers or Jets) win games; Their battle is going to be one TOP management, limiting turnovers, and playing effective, efficient defense. Their margin for error has shrunk because they will lack the explosiveness to get back into games if they fall behind early. Perhaps its the Cards fan in me, but I also like iwantpizza's perspective on the Cards' new look Defense (Id love to hear an expert opinion on this). It makes least from a football fan's perspective.

    One last note. I think that the post-Boldin recieving corps will show no signs of slowing. Breaston's contributions to the passing attack should not be overlooked. If the Cardinals run to pass ratio was guaranteed to be the same, I believe he would be just as productive as Boldin was last year.

    The good news: Im not convinced that drafting 2 O-Linemen suddenly makes the 49ers a sleeping giant. Their defense is extremely promising - who wouldn't be afraid of Patrick Willis and Nate Clemens? But aside from Gore, the jury is still out on their offensive weapons. This season will tell us a lot about the career trajectory Alex Smith. I for one, hope that passing on Donovan McNabb is something that they live to regret.
    Last edited by AZCardsFan; 07-06-2010 at 11:39 PM.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by AZCardsFan View Post
    Their margin for error has shrunk because they will lack the explosiveness to get back into games if they fall behind early.
    Great point! Games like last year's packers playoff game have to be a thing of the past. I believe the defense's ability to clamp down on big plays and big time offensive teams is as big a question as the QB position. They will also go hand in hand. If the defense can keep the score down, less pressure will be on Leinart and offense to march down the field on every possession.

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