Young quarterback knows Ravens defense his toughest test yet Print
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Wednesday, 19 September 2007 15:14
NFL Headline News

 TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) -Matt Leinart's trip to Baltimore could pose the toughest challenge yet in his young pro career.
The Ravens defense will bring their imposing mix of experience, aggression, disguises, schemes and blitzes from all angles Sunday against the former USC star making his 14th start as quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals.
``These types of games are what quarterbacks should want to be a part of,'' Leinart insisted after the Cardinals practiced on Wednesday.
Be careful what you wish for.
First-year Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt knows a lot about the Ravens from his seven seasons as a Pittsburgh Steelers assistant, the last four as offensive coordinator.
``The teams that have had success against them, their quarterbacks have played well, have been smart and have not made mistakes, have not been forced into mistakes,'' Whisenhunt said. ``That's the challenge Matt has this week. It is a difficult situation facing them for the first time.''
Leinart's second NFL season got off to a rocky start in Arizona's season-opening Monday night loss at San Francisco. Whisenhunt was critical of the performance, and Leinart responded with longer days at the practice facility, working on his deficiencies and studying the game plan.
He was much better in last Sunday's 23-20 victory over Seattle, completing 23-of-37 passes for 299 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
``There were still mistakes, but I was more mentally prepared,'' Leinart said. ``I checked the ball down, I got the ball to the open receiver, I stayed back in the pocket, I didn't look to run. Those are the things I can continue to get better at.''
Whisenhunt said he put too much of his offensive system into the game plan against San Francisco. He simplified things against Seattle, and Leinart was far more comfortable.
``For me, I take full responsibility for my job,'' Leinart said. ``I've got to understand what I'm doing on every play, whether it's on a Tuesday, Wednesday and built up to that Sunday. When Sunday comes, no matter what they do, I know what I'm doing.''
Deciphering the Ravens' defense is a daunting task.
``They'll have different guys standing up,'' Whisenhunt said. ``They'll stand up defensive tackles like linebackers, and put guys in different spots, move them around before the snap and bring them from the inside and outside.''
Co.
The young quarterback said he knows the Ravens will ``try to intimidate me, try to bring pressure, disrupt me, because if they disrupt the quarterback, obviously the offense gets disrupted.''
Leinart said he saw hope in the play of another young quarterback from the Pac-10, Kellen Clemens, for the New York Jets in their 20-13 loss to Baltimore last Sunday.
``They got him pretty good, but he made some plays, and they (the Jets) had a chance to win the ball game,'' Leinart said. ``They're going to make plays, they're going to get hits on us. That's just part of the game because they're an aggressive defense. But if we know what we're doing, if I know what we're doing, I think we have a chance.''
 

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