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No Change at Quarterback Yet

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Quarterback Matt Leinart meets with the media following practice Monday.

ESPN was playing on the TV inside the Cardinals' locker room Monday and while talking heads debated Arizona's quarterback situation, the text was put on the screen: "Kurt Warner named Week One starter."

A short time later, after the Cards finished practice, coach Ken Whisenhunt contradicted such a notion.

"Contrary to everything (reported), nothing has changed," Whisenhunt said. "We have not made a decision. We have not named Kurt the starting quarterback.

"It's unfortunate it was out there. It's unfortunate Matt (Leinart) has to see those things. But I understand the quarterback is the focus and people are quick to make judgments. It's a process. You don't (make a decision) based on one play or one half. … But it'd be incorrect of me to ignore the fact Matt didn't play well."

Leinart completed just 4-of-12 passes with three interceptions in Oakland, leaving the locker room after the game without speaking to reporters.

He said his problems were physical gaffes rather than mental, issues that should be more readily correctable. His first interception was thrown to the wrong side of the receiver, Leinart said, which is why the deep ball to Larry Fitzgerald was picked off.

The second pick came on a busted play in which he tried to loft a ball over a defender's head on the run to receiver Jerheme Urban and instead threw it right to the defender. The third was a deep pass thrown too late to Anquan Boldin.

"I've got to play better," Leinart said. "It was one half. It was one half in the preseason. In this process of being a young quarterback and continuing to learn, there are going to be some tough games, no doubt. But I think it's how I respond to that game.

"You watch the film, it's not fun to watch, but you move on."

Whisenhunt said he spoke with Leinart Monday morning to assure him that the ESPN report was false and a determination for the starting job had not yet been made. Whisenhunt said he also told Leinart other parts of the report – that the team is concerned about Leinart's arm strength and consistency – were "inaccurate."

Leinart will play in the preseason finale against Denver Friday, although Whisenhunt said he had yet to determine how much and when.

Both he and Warner took snaps with the first unit during the short practice.

Leinart has completed 18-of-31 passes in the preseason for 177 yards, one touchdown and the three picks. His passing rating, which was well over 100 coming into the Oakland game, dropped to 45.4

Warner, who has made just two appearances, has completed 8-of-13 passes for 94 yards and a rating of 83.5. He said after the Raiders game he would like to get more playing time himself, feeling he was playing "a little faster" than he wanted to at this point.

Leinart tried to inject some humor into the bleak subject, joking that after the pass to Urban that was intercepted "I did make a tackle on the play, my first credited tackle of my career, high school, college or pro, so I felt good about that."

He said he wasn't paying attention to the ESPN report, saying reporter Chris Mortensen didn't really know what was going on because he wasn't around the team.

But he insisted he understood why his play is a hot topic.

"I have taken a lot of heat for whatever reason, and the microscope has been on my play every day, every game, and that's fine," Leinart said. "This isn't a setback to me. It's a learning experience."

EXTRA POINT

The Cardinals trimmed four players off the roster Monday in order to reach the 75-man roster limit. Released were cornerback Marcus Brown, wide receiver Jemalle Cornelius, center Hercules Satale and rookie defensive lineman Bryan Robinson.

The Cardinals must cut the roster to the 53-man limit by 1 p.m. Arizona time Saturday.


Contact Darren Urban at askdarren@cardinals.nfl.net. Posted 8/25/08. Updated 8/25/08.

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