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Leinart Deals With Disappointment

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Kurt Warner (13) and Matt Leinart (7) are finding a way to co-exist.

Hearing Kurt Warner would be the Cardinals' starting quarterback this season was, Matt Leinart said, "tough to take."

But as the third-year player stood in front of the media Monday after practice, he emphasized one point a couple of times during his short interview – that he supported Warner "100 percent."

"Our motto this as a team has been, 'We do this together,' " Leinart said. "It's not about individuals. Everybody has made a big deal about this battle but we are a team and we all want to win. I am still going to do my part whether I am on the football field or not."

Not surprisingly, the message coming from the Cardinals a couple days after coach Ken Whisenhunt tabbed Warner was a united front. Leinart said the right things, acknowledging his disappointment while at the same time promising to use the turn of events as motivation to improve.

Warner said it was important to "keep it positive."

"Things like this that can be detrimental to a football team," Warner said. "You've seen it numerous times. I have always told myself, I signed up to be a part of this team and do whatever I can in whatever situation I am in.  I don't expect anything different from Matt."

Whisenhunt said Leinart handled himself well at practice Monday.

Getting past the controversy also will benefit the rest of the team, wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald said, because the questions will no longer be asked.

Besides, Fitzgerald added, the other players in the locker room think the Cardinals could win with both players.

"It's hard to root for either one of them because you are so close to both of them," Fitzgerald said.

Working together was something Warner wants to do. The 37-year-old veteran reiterated Leinart has a future in the league and will be ready when Warner no longer can play.

Warner also thinks his level of play will make it easier for Leinart to deal with the situation.

"It's something I have to believe and something Matt has to believe, that I'm not just a has-been quarterback who can't play," Warner said. I want him to believe I am one of the better quarterbacks in this league and he played very well (in the competition)."

Leinart said he believes the competition was fair, although he called the summer a tough process.

That process, hopefully, will eventually get him back to a starting role in Arizona.

"I know I am criticized for a lot of stuff that I do, every single day, every snap," Leinart said. "But this preseason got me better, it got me mentally tougher. I have (only) 16 starts in my career and a lot of people are saying these things, but I am still very young in this league and I have a lot ahead of me."

EXTRA POINTS

Left tackle Mike Gandy (knee bruise) practiced Monday. Whisenhunt said he expected Gandy to be sore and the Cards would have to check on his status when the team returns to practice Wednesday. Defensive tackle Alan Branch (ankle sprain), who sat out Monday, is day-to-day. Tight end Ben Patrick (ankle) was limited in practice. There is a hope center Al Johnson and defensive tackle Gabe Watson, both of whom are rehabbing knee surgeries, can do some limited work starting Wednesday. …

The Cards named their practice squad Monday: wide receivers Lance Long and Onrea Jones (from Indianapolis), defensive linemen Keilen Dykes and Jason Banks, cornerbacks Michael Adams and Wilrey Fontenot (from Atlanta) and offensive lineman Pat Ross and Anthony Oakley. The injuries to Watson, Branch and Johnson played a role in the squad's makeup and it will likely change in the coming weeks.


Contact Darren Urban at askdarren@cardinals.nfl.net. Posted 9/1/08.

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