Third-string quarterback Brian St. Pierre hands off to Tim Hightower in the Cardinals' preseason game against New Orleans earlier this month.
Late in training camp, when reporters tried to pin Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt down on when he would name his starting quarterback for the season, Whisenhunt quipped that third-stringer Brian St. Pierre had played well enough that maybe he should be in the mix.
Judging by the firestorm in which Kurt Warner, Matt Leinart and Whisenhunt find themselves, St. Pierre would rather pass.
"Right now," St. Pierre said, "throwing me in the mix would probably not be a great thing."
Eventually, though, that's exactly where St. Pierre wants to be.
The Boston College product is in his sixth season, although he's appeared in just one NFL regular-season game and thrown one regular-season pass. Three of his five seasons were in Pittsburgh with Whisenhunt, however, making him a natural fit to join Whisenhunt in Arizona.
It seems a strange choice, since St. Pierre just wants a chance to play and he ended up with a team with two guys well above him on the depth chart.
"I don't even try and see how I fit in the puzzle," St. Pierre said. "I've been in this position before. I think I have played well but I can always play better. I compete every day with both those guys and that's the way I approach it.
"You want to be the best player on the field every day and with those two guys, that's a hard chore. It's something to strive to be. I know it's cliché but that's how I approach it."
While Leinart has had his roller-coaster of a preseason and Warner has thrown just 13 passes, St. Pierre has played well when he has been in the game.
St. Pierre has completed 23-of-30 passes – 77 percent – for 220 yards, two touchdowns and a passing rating of 118.7. It is merely the preseason, but given his lack of career playing time, it's been refreshing for the veteran. St. Pierre said he has played more this preseason than he did in his previous five seasons combined.
He technically has battled undrafted rookie Anthony Morelli for the third spot on the depth chart, but he was always all but a given to slide in behind the Warner/Leinart tandem. After last season, when Leinart broke his collarbone and Warner tore left elbow ligaments after the Cards had tried to keep just two quarterbacks on the roster, it was obvious a third QB was needed.
Whisenhunt, knowing St. Pierre was a free agent, made him an immediate offseason target.
"I have always liked Brian," Whisenhunt said. "I liked his demeanor, liked how he has worked. I always felt he could compete and be productive. I knew he was smart. Now he has had success and his confidence is up."
Where St. Pierre's future lies isn't clear. Warner is scheduled to become a free agent at the end of the season, but so too is St. Pierre. And after Leinart's rocky preseason, nothing is certain at the position.
Yet St. Pierre figures he isn't in any worse of a spot personally than he was in Pittsburgh, locked behind Ben Roethlisberger.
"I feel I can play in this league -- I just need someone to give me a chance," St. Pierre said. "I've never been given anything in this league, I have earned it.
"You don't know how the chips will fall here. I root for both (Warner and Leinart) to do well, and it's a slippery slope, because you want to be 'The Guy' but you know there is only one guy that can be doing it. I work hard to be unselfish and to think of it that way. I just have to believe it will happen for me one day."
Contact Darren Urban at firstname.lastname@example.org. Posted 8/26/08.