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Warner Or Leinart?

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Kurt Warner had a big year for the Cardinals, but coach Ken Whisenhunt still isn't committing to a starting quarterback for 2008.

Kurt Warner had a good year as the quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals.

His passing rating of 89.8 was the best of any quarterback since the Cards moved from St. Louis 20 seasons ago. His 27 touchdown passes were the second-highest total in franchise history, behind the 28 thrown by Charley Johnson and Neil Lomax during their top seasons. He threw at least two touchdown passes in each of the last eight games, and he was doing it all with a torn ligament in his left elbow.

Yet Warner, who has a year left on his contract, has not won the starting job for the Cardinals over Matt Leinart as the team heads into 2008.

That was the message from coach Ken Whisenhunt, who was asked directly if Leinart would be the starter next season.

"I don't believe in a player losing his job because of injury, and that's what happened with Matt," Whisenhunt said. "I said before we have an offseason to evaluate that and certainly we will look at the entire season, how Matt played and how Kurt played. I respect both of them, and we will make the decision how we proceed with that later."

Warner, as usual, made sure he said he would want to play – but also made sure to emphasize he would do what is best for the team.

"I don't have any anticipation as far as that's concerned," Warner said. "We've said for years that Matt is the future of this organization. There's no doubt Matt is the future.

"Hopefully, I made it a little bit harder on him. I'd like to play but whatever decision we make and whatever decision this organization makes and whatever the coaches think is in the best interest of this team, I'm on board."

Warner had another solid day Sunday, completing 23-of-39 passes for 300 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions.

The interceptions hurt, with both leading to touchdowns. But they didn't hurt as much in the final score as much as in Warner's contract.

Warner earned an extra $1 million Sunday by finishing in the top 10 in the NFL in both TD passes and yards-per-pass. But he needed a passing rating of 90.0 to gain another $500,000; had either of his two interceptions fallen as incompletions, Warner's rating would have been 90.7.

Either way, it was Warner's best season since he won the NFL MVP award in 2001.

"Do I want to play? Sure I do," Warner said. "Do I think I've proven I can still play at a high level? I think I have. But I'm going to be here one way or the other."


Contact Darren Urban at askdarren@cardinals.nfl.net. Posted 12/30/07.

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