Quarterback Kurt Warner is matter-of-fact when he talks about the ups and downs of how people view his play every week.
Kurt Warner isn't deaf. He hears the talk linking his age – he turned 38 this offseason – to the rough start of the Cards' offense. He may or may not know about the unbelievable suggestion from some calling for backup Matt Leinart.
But Warner, who has always tried to maintain his perspective on the ebb and flow of both fans and the media, insisted this time is no different than any other.
"Last year I found the fountain of youth and until I find it again and we start winning and all those things happen, that's how this business works," Warner said with a smile. "They will always look at your shortcomings when you're not having success and overlook them when you are having success."
Warner didn't have a great game in the opener but it was a far cry from a debacle, after he completed 26-of-44 passes for 288 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions in the opener. Coach Ken Whisenhunt acknowledged Warner "made some bad passes," but also mentioned the protection breakdowns and some dropped passes.
"That's all part of the game," Whisenhunt said. "I don't think anyone has lost any confidence in anybody."
Statistical junkies liked to break down Warner this offseason, pointing out a handful of star quarterbacks who saw their stats trend downhill at age 38, including Dan Marino, John Elway and Joe Montana. FootballOutsiders.com reported that only two QBs – Warren Moon and Brett Favre – threw for at least 3,600 yards and 25 touchdowns at that age.
Given the Cards' offense and talent, Warner should still easily hit those markers assuming he stays healthy. But he knows people are ready to point it out if things go bad.
"I'll tell you what, you feel a lot older when you're not having success," Warner said. "You feel like you've aged a lot. We have to get back to having fun and relaxing."
BREASTON BACK, OKEAFOR SITS
Wide receiver Steve Breaston (knee) returned to practice on a limited basis Thursday and fellow receiver Anquan Boldin (hamstring) continues to be limited. But linebacker Chike Okeafor (shoulder) remained sidelined, although Whisenhunt said he hoped Okeafor would return for at least some practice Friday. If Okeafor can't play, Bertrand Berry will get the start.
Defensive linemen Kenny Iwebema (ankle) and safety Matt Ware (shoulder) were the other two players to sit out practice. Wide receiver Early Doucet (ribs) practiced fully for the first time since fracturing ribs against Green Bay in the preseason.
Quarterback Brian St. Pierre (back) and wide receiver Sean Morey (ribs) also practiced fully for the first time this week.
A HOSTILE ENVIRONMENT?
The Cards' first road trip of the season is to a place that was already battling attendance problems even before the rough economy hit. Now, the Jaguars will be blacked out locally every home game this season, and reports are that the Jaguars still had 17,000 non-premium seats left to sell at the deadline for Sunday's game with the Cardinals. Capacity for Jaguars' games at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium is slightly more than 67,000.
Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew said the players don't really worry about such things, although his forecast of 60,000 fans Sunday might be high.
"We know that if we win, and when we win, the more fans will come," Jones-Drew said. "That's how it is everywhere. We're just going to keep playing ball. But the fans have been great."
*WORKING ON THE OFFENSIVE LINE
Whisenhunt said it was physical errors, not mental ones, that hurt the Cardinals' offensive line against the 49ers. Even then, Whisenhunt said, he was happy with how his linemen got low against defenders.
But "as far as keeping our hands inside (to prevent holding), making sure our hands are set, our alignments on some of our pass sets or runs, those are things we can correct," Whisenhunt said. "Those are things we have done better (in the past) than we did in the game. It led to some of the pressure on Kurt, which was frustrating."
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