Cardinals fan Kurt writes: Matt Leinart is taking one helluva beating for a routine 6-of-7 outing in the preseason. The main two complaints seem to be that the passing game was too conservative/dinky (considering the "high stakes" involved in the game) and that Leinart did not line up at right tackle and block for himself on the first series.
I looked up last year's preseason, when the first-string offense was of course QB'd by God the Almighty. Kurt Warner was 24-of-46 (52 percent) and threw for zero touchdowns and three interceptions. The first-string offense did not score a touchdown until 3 minutes were left in the first half of the third game. In the 10th quarter of preseason play, Beanie Wells finally ran one in. But Warner's job was really only to involve as many receivers as possible and get off the field healthy, which Leinart (and our other QBs) did on Saturday night.
I would hate to see the wrath brought down on Leinart if he had a Warner preseason.
Mike Sando:How dare you inject perspective into the conversation on Leinart. I've put together a chart showing Warner's 2009 preseason stats and Leinart's stats from Saturday night. Stats are not everything, but they're a key measure for quarterbacks and relevant to this discussion.
Leinart is not Warner and he will never be Warner. It's important for us not to evaluate Leinart only in relation to what a mythical Warner might have accomplished (a principle that made life tougher for Jim Mora to follow Mike Holmgren in Seattle).
We should also acknowledge that Warner went into the 2009 preseason having already proven himself as a top NFL quarterback. How he fared during exhibitions was less important as a result. How Leinart fares might not reflect how he'll perform during the regular season, but it will play a larger role in shaping what we think of Leinart, simply because the information we're gathering during preseason represents a higher percentage of what we know about him.
The key becomes making sure we're not relying too much on preseason performance.
Note: I updated the chart to reflect Warner completing 10 of 16 passes in the third exhibition game last season.