When Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt benched Matt Leinart in 2007 and gave the starting quarterback job to Kurt Warner, the primary reason was that Warner was a better passer than Leinart.
But another important aspect of it was that Warner was also a better leader than Leinart.
Now that Warner is retired and the job is Leinart’s again, Leinart is vowing to show he’s a leader, starting with the team’s voluntary workouts, which began on Monday.
“Just to show that I’m ready to be a leader, guys can count on me,” Leinart said of his attendance at voluntary workouts. “I’m going to step into the role where I’m going to hold guys accountable, as well. They need to know that I’m going to be out here working and expect them to do the same, which they are. A lot of eyes are on me. I get that.”
As Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic notes, Warner isn’t the only team leader who won’t be back in 2010. Antrel Rolle, Karlos Dansby, Anquan Boldin and Bertrand Berry were all important parts of the team that won the NFC West the last two seasons, and none of them are with the team anymore.
With all those losses, Leinart knows the team has an uphill battle if it wants to return to the playoffs.
“It officially starts today,” Leinart said at the first workout. “The season doesn’t begin in August; it begins in March and April.”