A Vote for Confidence
By Zack Cimini
To move forward as a franchise, any organization knows the progress starts at quarterback. So, when a team signs two quarterbacks to one year deals, obviously there is a hint of skepticism. The Arizona Cardinals did just that, by signing Josh McCown to a one year deal worth $1.5 million, and Kurt Warner to a one year deal worth $4 million. For the first few months of the off-season, Green announced that it would be a fair all out battle between the two quarterbacks. Just earlier this week though, Green made the decision that Kurt Warner will be the teams starting quarterback, no questions asked.
Could Warner have impressed that much during drills, or has McCown digressed? Really, I think it just boils down to the fact that the Cardinals invested a trust fund in Warner, and are just giving him some confidence. Here is a guy has went from being a hero to being benched last year with the Giants with a winning record. All Warner wanted was a fair shot once again, and this opportunity is what could resurrect his career.
The Cardinals barely missed making the playoffs last season, and could have won the division with a 7-9 record. A big part of the problem was Dennis Greens decisions to switch quarterbacks down the stretch. First he benched Josh McCown in favor of Shaun King. Kings performance was so absurd the following week, Green promoted third string quarterback John Navarre to first string. That type of chaos just cant happen in the regular season, unless its due to injury.
A young quarterback is going to go through bumps and bruises, and you need to let him learn and adjust. Green felt that the Cardinals were suffering from McCowns play, and that maybe one of the other quarterbacks would be a spark to get them in playoff contention. Green suffered a lot of bark from the media on his decisions, but like any great NFL coach you have to make questionable moves. He was gutsy enough to warrant McCown his starting status back, and he finished out the season with more confidence.
There is no excuses for Kurt Warner not to have a stellar season. He has a full arsenal attack, with Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, and Bryant Johnson. The only main concern may be a tight end threat, but the receivers are a top five crew. In fact, the crew is reminiscent of the combination of Bruce, Holt, and Hakim in Warners hey days with the Rams.
With the one year investment in Warner, the Cardinals could take a loss with Warner and not have it affect them. McCown may get another shot if Warner subsides and fails. The philosophy the Cardinals did in signing both to one-year deals is brilliant. If either performs and excels than the obvious long term deal will be offered. If the Cardinals season flops than they can go after a young quarterback with a high draft pick.
That shouldnt happen though, as the Cardinals look like serious contenders to take the NFC West. Dennis Green better stay buckled up with his quick snap of decisions, and sit back and enjoy the bumpy ride. They arent going to win twelve to thirteen games, but nine or ten tough wins can still get the job done.