Wednesday, November 2, 2005
Warner gets job back as Cards' starting QB
By Len Pasquarelli
Maybe coach Dennis Green should just start flipping a coin every week to determine the identity of the Arizona Cardinals' starting quarterback.
In the latest switch, Green on Wednesday demoted Josh McCown, the Cardinals' starter for the past month, and returned Kurt Warner to the lineup for Sunday's home game with the division-leading Seattle Seahawks.
A two-time league most valuable player, Warner has not seen any game action since he suffered a groin injury in the season's first meeting with Seattle, a 37-12 loss on Sept. 25. Although the 34-year-old Warner recovered quicker than anticipated from the groin injury, and returned to practice two weeks ago, McCown retained the No. 1 job.
But Green, never bashful about making quarterback changes, continues to be frustrated by his team's poor offensive showing, and determined another change was in order. The switch back to Warner represents the sixth time this season that a franchise has changed quarterbacks for reasons related to performance, not injury.
In his three previous starts, all losses, Warner completed 64 of 101 pass attempts for 696 yards, with one touchdown pass, two interceptions and a 78.7 passer rating.
McCown completed 89 of 153 passes for 1,084 yards, with six touchdown passes and six interceptions in four starts. The Cardinals were 2-2 in games McCown started. The four-year veteran threw for 783 yards, twice passing for more than 380 yards, in his first two starts. In the last two, though, McCown threw for just 301 yards, didn't go over the 170-yard mark in either game, and clearly struggled.
He was under constant pressure from the Dallas defense in last weekend's loss and, as has been the case all season, was hampered by the continuing lack of a running game.
While the Arizona offense is a respectable No. 17 statistically, the Cardinals rank 31st in the league in rushing offense, averaging an anemic 71.1 yards per game. The Cardinals are averaging just 18.1 points per game, are one of just two teams without a rushing score at this point of the season, and have only seven offensive touchdowns, which is tied for the league low.
The Cardinals will play on Sunday without standout wide receiver Anquan Boldin, who will be sidelined 2-4 weeks by a bruised knee.
Warner and McCown are both operating on one-year contracts and both players are eligible for unrestricted free agency next spring. Green had indicated a few weeks ago that the Cardinals would likely offer a long-term contract to the quarterback who played strongest over the balance of the season. That remains to be seen, though, and the club could well examine other options in the offseason.
|2005 SEASON STATISTICS|
Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. To check out Len's chat archive, click here .