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Getting Started


Quarterback Matt Leinart and the Cards offense had a decent start to the 2007 season.

OAKLAND, Calif. – It was the first game of the preseason, and for the Cardinals, it looked that way.

There was some good, like Kurt Warner's 58-yard touchdown pass to Bryant Johnson and Neil Rackers' 59-yard field goal. There was some not so good, like a slow start by the first-string offense and some bad penalties by the first-string defense.

But bumpy times were expected by coach Ken Whisenhunt. He just wanted a hard and disciplined effort. After the Cardinals' 27-23 loss to the Raiders in front of a sparse crowd at McAfee Coliseum, Whisenhunt was mostly satisfied he got it.

"We were a little ragged offensively, and I thought we had a chance to swing momentum when we had penalities (on defense)," Whisenhunt said.  "But in the end I wasn't displeased.  I don't want to dismiss the good things we did.

"We had opportunites to make plays.  We just didn't get it done."

Whisenhunt, calling his own plays, came out of an offseason talking about establishing the run by trying a pass – although Matt Leinart's toss went through the hands of Larry Fitzgerald.

It got a little better for the starting offense. The third series found the Cards trapped at their own 3-yard line. But with Marcel Shipp in at running back, the run game showed some life and Leinart made life simple by hitting Anquan Boldin and Fitzgerald for 32 total yards.

Eventually the drive stalled at the Oakland 38, but it was enough to get Leinart and his star receivers out of the game.

Leinart finished 5-for-11 for 50 yards.

"We moved the ball a little bit," Leinart said.  "We'll clean it up.  I'm not worried about my throws. Mentally I just want to be sharp."

Warner was given the advantage of the first-string offensive line against the Raiders' backup defenders, and the veteran carved Oakland up. He threw two passes in four plays, completing both to Bryant Johnson for 73 yards, including the long touchdown.

So Warner took the rest of the night off.

The Cards' defensive results from their starters was mixed. It harassed Raiders starting quarterback (and former Cardinal) Josh McCown into a couple of easy three-and-outs itself.

But thanks to three key penalties – an unnecessary roughness dead ball call on defensive end Darnell Dockett, an offsides by linebacker Bertrand Berry that negated a turnover and a pass interference call on cornerback Antrel Rolle – the Raiders scored a touchdown on an 80-yard drive.

"We were pretty effective," Berry said.  "We just can't kill ourselves.  If we keep going and use solid technique we're going to be fine."

The Cardinals did lose linebacker Chike Okeafor to a bicep injury. Okeafor will receive an MRI test to determine the extent of the damage.

Contact Darren Urban at

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