Archive for category Arizona Cardinals

Quarterback Blurb Breakdown: Kurt Warner/Matt Leinart

Can Warner stay healthy and can Leinart succeed if he cant?

Can Warner stay healthy and can Leinart succeed if he can't?

It’s easy to just focus on Warner given the last few years.

While Matt Leinart has floundered with internet drinking photos, poor displays of prowess in his limited game action and perceived general lack of discipline, Kurt Warner keeps putting up great numbers.

At least that’s what it all looks like at first blush.

Warner certainly deserves the accolades for his 2008 season. 

His 4,582 yards were his second highest total ever (second to his 4,830 in 2001) and his 30 touchdowns marked his third highest total. He also finished the season, something he hasn’t done as a starter in – well, let’s just say ‘in some time’.

That’s you’re first red flag though. Call it luck, point to vastly improved offensive line play, say he got cybernetic implants – whatever the reason, he made it through the whole season without missing a game.

Never forget though, in his 11 year old career, he has played a whole season as a starter just three times.

Sure, discount 1998 when he wasn’t a starter or 2004 when Eli Manning stole his job. But historically, the man cannot stay healthy and at 38, isn’t getting more durable with age.

There is a fair chance he will get banged up.

Then why, you may ask, do I have him as a top quarterback?

Well, simply put he’s the starter on a dynamic pass-driven team with two of the best wide receivers in the game at his command. And no, I don’t expect Boldin to be traded at this point. Even if he was, Steve Breaston could step in very ably as well.

Even when he doesn’t play every game ­‑ like in 2007‑ he still put good enough numbers up to be a top 10 quarterback. The weapons at his disposal are just too good and if the blocking keeps up the sky could be the limit.

Which brings us to Matt Leinart who has to make some sort of showing in this, his fifth year  in the league.

He hasn’t done a whole heck of a lot thus far.

Leinart has athletic ability and I believe he has the general skill-set to succeed in the NFL, though after several years of a whole lot of nothing, I doubt he’ll ever reach an elite level.

As much as anything else, his head has gotten in his way. He was reportedly focused more during last season as well as this off-season but frankly I’ll believe it pays off when I see it pay off.

Still, since Warner has had issues with injuries in the past and the offensive weapons are outstanding, you have to consider Leinart. Given the value he could have, it’s worth thinking about snagging him as a security blanket for Warner later in your draft. 

However until you see Leinart have even a moderate version, don’t grab him early expecting him to easily replicate Warner’s numbers if the old man can’t finish.

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No Suprise Here – Warner signs with Cards

Sorry for some of the late updates today – short day for the kid and busy day for the other half.

So yeah, this comes as no surprise as Arizona and Warner agreed to terms on a two-year, $23 million contract. The deal includes a $15 million signing bonus which might seem a risk and fumble history, but coming off a year where he played so well and they came so close – what else were they going to do?

An excellent trio of wide receivers await Warner – and even if they cannot come to some happy end for Boldin, I think Breaston can easily step up and Early Doucet has potential as a #3.

But really, as much as I was intrigued by the San Fran flirtation, it was merely a shopping trip to gauge market value.

Aside from the WR Core, that offensive line made huge strides the last portion of the year. I am done saying they played over their heads. They finally jelled in a way which should make all the difference in a divsion which is – despite signings like Houshmanzedah – is no NFC East.

The Cards did what they had two nd should be fine over the next couple of years. The big question here is – what about Matt Leinart? Is he trade bait now, as is rumored or is he just a very highly paid back-up. Now, it’s been said he’s worked very hard the last year and a half but it didn’t show last preaseason and might not matter in this preseason. Is anyone going to trade with that contract and his big question marks?

They may just keep him sitting a while longer and hope that they can extend him cheaply enough to cover themselves when Warner is done. And really, that’s the biggest reason to trade him. Can they get him cheaply enough at the end of the contract to warrant keeping him aroudn when he is at best unproven, but in some circles might be called a bust?

Aside from Boldin, this could be the biggest question mark the Cards now fae the rest of the off-season.

But they have now solidified the pass game again. If they can add a running back to tandem with Hightower (who I think we’ve seen the ceiling on and it doesn’t involve 30 carry-bell cow status) the offense should fire off on all cylinders.

If the defense plays hard – it’s within this team’s capabilities to reach the playoffs again and we all know it’s just a short slip from their to a repeat in the big game.

But, um…. let’s get through the off-season first.

Thanksgiving Day Games – AZ @ PHI

Along with dessert (pumpkin pie or ice cream – why not both?) here comes what might end up being the best game all day. Or maybe not. The Cardinals do not travel well and Philly is probably too banged up to know they have visitors. But there is still plenty of Fantasy Value for the nightcap.

Of course, you can catch the up to date, latest info version on the Fantasy Sports Channel at at 7:30amPST/10:30amEST tomorrow. Also you can read the Titan/Lion breakdown by scrolling down the page or clicking HERE, and the Seahaks/Cowboy game HERE.

Here is the breakdown for the Cardinals and the Eagles in NFLN’s own version of ‘The Birds’ as of Wednesday night.


Kurt Warner
It may be that you have no other QB to throw in there and you may need to start him. If Warner was picked as your backup and you have another stud you kept and didn’t trade, I would be tempted to start someone else. Philly blitzes VERY well and Warner struggles with pressure. He did a good job VS the Giants but Philly’s blitz is another thing entirely. They have the most sacks in the league with 39, so the pressure will be there. They don’t have a ton of INTs – tied for 18th with just 9. So,Warner may get a ton of pressure, but not turn the ball over. Warner is likely your biggest stud of your QBs so you roll him out there. But I am a little concerned with the pressure this D will bring, the short week and the east-coast trip.

Tim Hightower
Hightower is unlikely to get those short yard TDs every week. He is a good strong back and can be fast but he does not overpower defenders and doesn’t make them miss. He is a true boom or bust this week and I am concerned that they may throw short and have him block to save Warner from being laid out. Like his rookie bretheren, Forte, Slaton and Johnson, he has captured the starting job but unlike them, he isn’t quite consistent enough to risk in an important week for most fantasy teams.

Anquan Boldin
Not only is Boldin a solid yardage WR, he gets a ton of Redzone targets. I think he could be in for a big week this week, even if Warner falters. The corners are not fantastic in Philly and he and the other Wrs should be able to get separation. We’ll see if Warner can get them the ball.

Larry Fitzgerald
As with Boldin, you just start this guy. Both can be top 5-10 WRs every week. Fitz gets the yards while Boldin tends to get TDs – so he can be streaky points-wise. But Fitz will get a ton of looks and like Boldin, will be able to overcome the Philly secondary.

Steven Breaston
I am most worried about Breaston out of the three Wrs and as such, I am most likely to bench him. He is a decent #3 or 4 so at most you lose a depth slot tomorrow. I would avoid him if I could.


Donovan McNabb
Weirdest thing about the benching? Kolb had had NO snaps in practice as a starter. None. Makes the yank even more bizarre in my mind. While the DMac is back and starting, but is that a good or bad thing? The Cards give up a lot of TDs (22 so far) and are better than average, though not by much, in the turnover category. The Cards do not travel well and got beat up pretty well by the Giants. McNabb will likely finish the game (Reid can’t yank him twice – it wouldn’t just cut McNabb’s throat but his own) and has a chance to put up good points this week as he will have to score and the Cards can be thrown on. Not a great start – but probably a fairly safe one.

Brian Westbrook
I really wish I could just say ‘roll Westbrook’. I mean, sure he looked terrible last week but it was against the Ravens. But he’s been so banged up this year, he’s really got his owners worried. It is unlikely that you have a stud to lean on in his stead. If you are in a PPR league, there is a good chance he will catch enough balls to get you 10+ points. If he isn’t, I might be a little more concerned. He faces a D that is ranked 8th vs the run, with just an average of 89.5 yds allowed per game and only 8 TDs against. You may survive him (and may need to) but I’m not wholly confident and there are much safer guys to roll with tomorrow and this Sunday.

Lorenzo Booker
I would love to see LoBook get some carries. Having seen him work out this summer and talking to him about the dedication he is showing, I think the guy could be a playmaker. He looks like he has the tools. But for whatever reason, teams haven’t leaned on him at all yet. He should see some more carries this week to keep Westy from disintegrating before season’s end. With Buckhalter out, we should get a chance tomorrow. Not startable, but certainly a guy to watch.

LJ Smith & Brent Celek
Neither is a guy I want to start right now – the offense looks out of synch and these guys seem to be some of the victims.

DeSean Jackson
In a league with return yards, Jackson is a guy to grab. In PPR leagues, he has been able to give you good points and he is a cat who is the most versatile and dynamic player on the squad right now. They desperately want him to get the ball a ton, so he is a good bet to put up points tomorrow as they try to get some momentum going on the offensive side of the ball.

Kevin Curtis
What has happened to Curtis? He’s failed to get into any groove since returning in week 8. He hasn’t bounced back or gathered any momentum and yet he’s only been targeted one less time than DeSean Jackson in that span. McNabb and the Eagles have tried to get him the ball and he’s even catching more of them than Jackson. But he’s not able to do as much with it and isn’t getting the yards per reception Jackson is. Whatever the reason, it’s just not a safe bet he will perform.

Here is where the most fantasy value comes overall. I think Dallas will outscore either team on their own, but there are a ton of Cards worth starting and at least a couple on the Iggles side worth a look as well.

Best of luck to you and I wish you success during one of the biggest weekends in Fantasy Football…..

Sunday Morning News – 8:30pst/11:30EST

Hey guys – some updates for the morning – will not be around for the afternoon (son’s birthday party) for sure, so keep an eye on rotoworld and for game day updates and scratches.

Clinton Portis is unlikely to play in tonight’s game – this was confirmed by John Clayton of ESPN….. Even if he does play he will not be the usual centerpiece of the offense so get him out…. Peyton Hillis gets the starts in Denver according to and the local papers and since he can catch the ball, he’s a great flex spot starter….. If Earnest Graham and Warrick Dunn are healthy, Cadillac Williams might not see the field for quite a while. That’s why I have been saying, stash him on you bench only if you can afford to have a spot that will not generate points right now…. Larry Johnson is expected to get @15 carries according the NFLN’s Adam Shefter – so start him as a flex or a low end RB2…. Derrick Mason will be active for today’s day against the Giants. Always a middling start, the injury and the defensive matchup make him a guy better off on your bench….

That’s all for now. Will try to keep an eye on things as we approach morning kickoff….


Finally, the tough as nails Cards WR is in – should be good to go. I usually avoid players coming off injuries but Boldin is the exception to the rule.

Wednesday News and Notes

2 days to kick off and things are getting livelier – here’s the breakdown for the morning – and don’t forget The Thundering Blurb Daily News Stampede hits at noon EST/9am PST and tonight is the usual Thundering Blurb Fantasy Football Show at 9pm EST/6pm PST. Both on and ITunes!

Let’s roll -

New England Patriots
You don’t know how accurate this rumor is, since Belichick treats injuries like State Secrets but WEEI radio in Boston says that have heard an MRI taken on Tom Brady’s foot revealed that there is a crack in it. Of course there is very little chance of confirming this BUT I know a couple of places I trust that are working hard to dig up facts on this and I’ll keep you posted here and on both podcasts. There was a rumor last week Brady was on crutches which was denied, so take this with a grain of salt. Also consider that he could play with a small crack or fracture in his foot and likely will – still this could affect his mobility and effectiveness.

Don’t hit the streets in a panic, but it’s something to keep an eye on. I will keep you posted if I can dig anything up.

Arizona Cardinals
After all the noise about Anquan Boldin’s dissatisfaction with his less than Larry Fitzgerald-like contract, the Cards WR has done what I said he would – he’s been the professional he always is and is focused on the game and playing his best. Boldin was in a recent issue of the Arizona Republic and sounds ready to go.

“My teammates work too hard, and I know I’m a big part of the process with this program. If I held out or did anything like that, I’d be letting them down.”

If you had any reservations about owning him in a Fantasy league – put them to rest. With Warner behind center, Fitz may get more looks, but both WRs will shine this season.

Seattle Seahawks
There have been some reports that Deion Branch could be back for the opener. Seems like those were a little premature – according to the Seattle Times , he isn’t quite ready and is getting into football shape. You have to consider that Branch hasn’t played a down in some time and even when he returns, he will have to spend some time getting his rhythm back. While Hass needs his WRs to step up, Branch is a guy who will be nothing more than bench depth – at best – for the next several weeks, minimum.

Denver Broncos
Not that this should come as a shock to anyone as this is the birthplace of RBBC, but HC Mike Shannahan is planning on rotating Selvin Young and Andre Hall at running back this season. Denver Bronco beat writer Mike Klis is saying that after about 6 weeks or so, they’ll probably throw rookie Ryan Torain in the mix. That might not quite happen unless Torain is a phenomenal rookie who can step into an offence minus Training Camp and about half a season and just play – but it tells you things are the same in Denver as they always are. Hall will get a chance to shine in short yardage and spot work and Young will work everything between the 20’s. Shanny has already told us he doesn’t think Young will hold up for a whole season, so you knew there would be a split. I like Hall and I think he will do well – but as always, the Denver RB sitch is a difficult one to sniff out. Figure Young as your better bet, but watch Hall. And Torain might be a nice play late in the season, once he has some games under his belt.

Jacksonville Jaguars
Finally, Fred Taylor was reportedly arrested over the weekend for disorderly conduct. The AP report posted on ESPN is interesting and has Taylor egging bystanders on to do…. well I don’t know. But he kept on being loud and vocal while they were searching his car and he got himself arrested. This continues the rule that no good can come a) outside a Miami nightclub and b) after midnight. Taylor could face some sort of suspension – probably minor – depending on the full report and what he does next. The NFL will have somethijgn to say soon, though likely not before week 1 is in the books. Make sure you have alternatives going forward.

Thats all for now – the News Blurb is just a few hours away!

The Lost blog

Unfortunately I ain’t talking about the TV show. Blogger or my computer or something just wiped out the post I made and I can tell you – it was the greatest thing ever written.

But here are the quick hits on it:

Warner vs Leinart
I wouldn’t touch this with a ten foot pole. Yes, Matty L looked BAD this weekend. Yes, Warner can throw deep TDs. He also threw 17 INTs last year. Leinart didn’t throw an INT until this weekend and Warner hasn’t been Joe Montana in play so far. Honestly, Warner might be better from a fantasy perspective but he’s also going top make you pay if you get dinged for INTs.

And as HC Whisenhunt took issue with ESPN’s Chris Mortenson’s assumption Warner will be the starter, I’m wary of getting stuck with the wrong guy post-draft.

Chad Johnson
I love Chad – I mean as a journalist how could you not?’ ‘I need surgery, but I won’t get it because I really don’t need it?’ It’s not an exact quote but darn close. What’s not to love about Ocho Cinco?

Well, the fact that the shoulder could pop out again is a concern. That happens and if things tear too hard – well, bye for the season. The more you dislocate the easier it is to do and the more damage you do. If he can make it through the season he’s going to have tremendous value – I snagged him as a 3rd WR in a 12 team experts league – round 4. The key is – and this is critical – you have to cover your rear and make sure the WRs behind him are stable.

So don’t worry abouttaking him after you have at least your stud WR – if he drops like he has and you cover yourself, you can reap the benefits when he plays and protect yourself in case he can’t.

I think Johnson wants to play, probably can play but is likely to get hit hard and could miss games here and there. So no #1 WR spot for him, but plenty of value anyway.

Preseason = Injury-palooza
Merriman, Osi Umenyiora, Jason Taylor, Chad Johnson – the list goes on. Every year we hear about the injuries, every year someone critical goes down and every season a Fantasy Team gets nailed.

Now, this is reason #1 why you wait as long as you can for drafting a redraft league – just too much goes on. If you grabbed the Chargers or Giants D early, you may have a real issue. Merriman’s impact on that D is huge. Umenyiora’s injury has the Giants scrambling, moving players around and are calling Strahan. But of course, they draft to be deep – rotating lineman and linebackers in and out throughout the game. So it might only make them stumble.

Will we see a decrease in the amount of games? I can’t say – there’s a lot of cash wrapped up in the preseason.

We’ll have an early post tomorrow (shooting for 6:30 amPST/9am EST) and will be back on track all week so you’re ready to go Week 1.

Tuesday Stampede

I will be posting my top 20 College Football rankings this afternoon either all at once or in halves – depends on how long the list is with commentary.

Onto the NFL -

Arizona Cardinals
Cards coach Ken Whisenhunt says that Matt Leinart has improved his audibling and red zone work and will not be coming out of games at that spot on the field. While I still think Leinart is a shaky choice for a Fantasy QB until he shows me he can be consistent, it’s good to hear he won’t get ‘middle relievered’ during an important Fantasy sequence on the field and it does lessen my concerns a bit.

Oakland Raiders
From ‘The Sky is Falling’ column – rookie RB Darren McFadden fumbled 3 times in Monday’s practice. While I don’t think think the sky really IS falling (first fumbles of the preseason) you will now recall that one of the issues some people (including me) had with him pre-draft was his 15 fumbles his last year at Arkansas. This was a concern and will continue to be until he proves otherwise, but as these are his first fumbles in camp, I won’t worry much, he shouldn’t be going so early in drafts that a fumble problem will leave you hanging too badly.

Cincinatti Bengals
Rookie Keith Rivers seems undaunted by missing a teeny bit of camp – he led the Bengals with 7 unassisted tackles Monday night and didn’t even start. He will probably be an intriguing late round/waiver pickup in IDP leagues, asssuming people chalked him up to ‘rookie’ and he went undrafted in the first place. He certainly seems to have stepped right up for the Bengals which they really needed to have happen. Tight End Ben Utecht seems to really be getting those promised looks in the offensive scheme. He had a good Monday night and the staff is putting ’special plays’ together for him. I might be starting to believe it…..

San Diego Chargers
Antonio Gates is running but also in a lot of pain, and apparently very frustrated with his lack of progress. He says he will not play early if it damages the season long term, which is good for your overall season, but bad if you want to draft him. If you get Gates, you may be in the position of being forced to take a back-up TE early to cover for him if he’s out a few weeks. If you go early on a tight end, my advice is to think of Jason Witten or even Tony Gonzalez. Better yet, get one of the later tier guys and keep an eye on the waiver for value. Amongst the TEs I like later are Jeremy Shockey, Vernon Davis on the earlier side, Owen Daniels, LJ Smith, Ben Utecht on the later side.

Baltimore Ravens
More great news for McGahee owners – the knee he just had scoped? It’s the one he has had multiple surgeries on, the one he wrecked in the Fiesta Bowl 5 years ago. He showed up to camp out of shape so rehab is an iffy proposition. Ray Rice continues up the boards as McGahee drops.

That’s all for now – questions and comments can go to as well as the comment section below.

College rankings coming later this afternoon (my afternoon, not the East Coast’s).

Camp Notes – 7/24

Here’s a few pieces of news from various camps around the NFL – as of this weekend, everyone will have opened camp and we’ll be off and running!

Westbrook and Sheppard Both Show to Camp
Well, the worries of Westy not showing up and possibly causing a ruckus are not coming to fruition – Westbrook is too much of a leader in the clubhouse for that to happen. The Eagles will probably try to make something happen for him this season, but for now, he’ll play ball. Any worry you had for his fantasy value should vaporize. Lito Sheppard is also unhappy with his contract but he showed for two very different reasons – 1) Asante Samuel doesn’t make him expendible but does enable the Iggles to tow a hard line with him and 2) Starting opposite Samuel could make his numbers improve quite a bit, allowing him to make even more bank down the road. I think a lot of IDP owners are looking at Samuel – don’t forget Sheppard. He might be a sneaky guy to target late in your draft or auction. Not huge numbers to come, by any means – but he could get targeted more than Samuel.

LaMont Jordan Countdown Starts….. NOW
Jordan and his agent have been waiting for Davis and Kiffin to dump the once highly touted RB on the roadside for months now, even farther back than the Draft and the arrival of Darren McFadden. Why it’s taken so long for us to see it happen is anyone’s guess – but when it comes to Davis, just be thankful they haven’t hired a guy who runs a bed and breakfast to run the defense. Cause that would be madness. Anyway, Jordan and his agent were threatening to appear at Training Camp and force the team’s hand (if he shows up the Raiders have to allow him to play – or escort him off the field and pretty much release him quickly thereafter). Rumor has it the Saints and Lions could be interested – I like ProFootballTalk’s idea better and it would make for some entertaining TV. Regardless, as PFT points out, Jordan will join a ton of unemployed running backs out there and his fantasy value is only as a long shot hail mary at the end of your draft.

More Raider Problems
As if that isn’t enough, both Javon Walker and Ronald Curry (two fairly important weapons for sophomore QB JaMarcus Russell) are gimpy in camp. Jason Jones’ Sacramento Bee Blog is saying that Walker and Curry will be held to once a day practices as they nurse themselves back to health. I’ve said many times how much I dislike Walker thsi year and everything about him right now. His Vegas troubles, his fatness in the OTAs. As much as I dislike him, I like Curry. I think Walker falls flat and Curry gets a lot of looks. That’s my thought. Apparently, Jones says that Walker has dropped a whole 8 lbs between the OTAs and now. WOW – somebody call Jenny Craig, I have the next big weight loss program!

Both guys are banged up and hopefully the once a day practices will help heal them, but if you have to draft a Raider reciever – and I will be clear here that NOBODY SAYS YOU HAVE TO – I urge you to look at Curry (who looked good in OTAs) and not Walker (who looked fat and bad in OTAs).

This Just In: Anquan Boldin still Disgruntled
The disgruntling is no real news – we’ve been tracking this for weeks. But the fact that – according to The East Valley Tribune – Boldin feels ‘betrayed’ and he’s been lied to. Let’s play He Says/She Says (or Team Says): Boldin says they promised him a new contract. They say – well nothing. Wisely the Cards haven’t really entered into a war of words they can’t win, merely reiterating several times how valuable he is to the offense. As was pointed out by Rotoworld, he’s already on his second contract since he was drafted – he’s already had it altered and extended. They’ll try to make him happy, but at some point, enough is enough. How many tiems do you restructure the same contract only to have more asked for? I know we were aware this would happen when Fitzgerald got his dollars, but you have to wonder what is going through the midns of the Cards and the fans at this point. I don’t think we’ll see a drop off in his play if he is unhappy – he’ll still have good fantasy value and is too much of a pro to sulk ala Moss in Oakland.

Jets Sign Gholston, Discover Yet Another Reason Why Pennington Sucked in ‘07
The Jets have signed Vernon Gholston to what Daily News Blogger Rich Cimini calls a staggering amount for a rookie. I don’t know if Cimini is aware but the guys ahead of Gholston have signed for far more guarenteed. I’m not saying 9 mill is dirt cheap – but compared to $30? It’s dirt cheap. The escalation of rookie guarenteed money is a subject for another day but he does have one point – Gholston had better be good. Mangini is running out of NY of the normally endless patience of the NY fan faithful. Do I have to write /sarcasm or is it obvious?

As for Pennington a blog at the NY Post is saying Pennington played with two torn ligaments in his right ankle last season. Apparently it happened against the Pats during the first game they played. Maybe the Jets can get some video from the Pats to confirm it? No?

As the commentary under the blog post put it – this explains the red zone INTs last season? Well, maybe not. I’ll give Chad this – he’s a tough SOB. But I don’t know he’s the future for this franchise. Unfortunately I don’t know he’s a short term answer either – and the Jets put a lot of money out there in a way that looks like they want to win now. Is Clemens the answer? By the looks of last season, no.

Whatever the answer is the Jets had best figure it out – time is running short for the staff and another horrific season with this team will bring out the sharp knives.

I would say – like the Raiders – nobody is FORCING you to draft a Jets QB. And as much as I love the team, I can’t direct you towards either one. Thomas Jones, behind that revamped Oline might be a nice play but if nobody can get a throw off, 8 men in a box could make for an ugly season there too. Hopefully camp will give us some idea of how bad off this offense is. For now, even Coles and Cotchery are shakier options than they were just a couple of short years ago. They should still get lots of targets – whether it is from Dink’n'Dunk Chad or Clemens with the big arm.

More to come later on…..

If you have a mind, you can email me at or just post in the comments below….