|After Leinart's injury, Kurt Warner gets another chance to start for Arizona|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 08 October 2007 16:22|
He's sorry it came at Matt Leinart's expense.
With Leinart sidelined indefinitely due to a fractured left collarbone, the 36-year-old Warner has become the first-string quarterback for the first-place team in the NFC West. Arizona (3-2) is off to its best start since 2002 and is tied with Seattle for the division lead.
``This is what you want to do every time you enter a season,'' Warner said. ``Every time you come back to play, you want to be in there playing every snap. So I'm excited about that part of it, relatively speaking. Obviously, I'm disappointed for Matt. You never want to get this position and take over a job due to an injury.''
Leinart was hurt on a sack by St. Louis linebacker Will Witherspoon in the second quarter of Arizona's 34-31 victory at the Edward Jones Dome on Sunday. The Cardinals said Leinart was to undergo more tests on Monday, and they did not know when he might return. It's likely he'll be out several weeks.
Arizona had only two quarterbacks on its roster, so general manager Rod Graves spent Monday trying to find another backup. If Warner had been injured in St. Louis, wide receiver Jerheme Urban would have taken snaps.
``Obviously there's not a lot of guys out there that you feel comfortable with, or they would be with a team,'' coach Ken Whisenhunt said.
This was the scenario the Cardinals envisioned when they decided to keep Warner even after drafting Leinart in the first round in 2006. Warner is in the second year of an incentive-laden three-year deal that could be worth between $15 million and $22 million.
Leinart's loss isn't catastrophic to the Cardinals because Warner had been more effective this season, seeing significant action each of the last three weeks in a no-huddle package.
Warner has completed 62.3 percent of his passes this year with four touchdown passes and one interception. Leinart has completed 53.6 percent, with two touchdown passes and four picks.
Leinart was not available to the media on Monday. Warner said he sympathized with his teammate.
``This is going to be hard,'' Warner said. ``This is going to be probably the toughest thing he's gone through in his career.''
The Jacksonville Jaguars have found an offensive identity to go along with the defensive one they established years ago.
They are sustaining drives and limiting turnovers like never before. The combination, along with coach Jack Del Rio's typical stout defense, has given Jacksonville (3-1) its first three-game winning streak in nearly two years and a new level of confidence.
``That's our identity, that's our face,'' running back Fred Taylor said Monday. ``We want to show our face.''
The Jaguars have shown plenty the last three games - beating Atlanta at home, then dominating Denver and Kansas City on the road. There was a common thread in each of the victories: dominating time of possession and committing few or no turnovers.
Jacksonville may have been at its best in Sunday's 17-7 win over the Chiefs.
The Jaguars controlled the ball for nearly 37 minutes with a versatile running game featuring Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew and were 8-of-15 on third down thanks mostly to David Garrard's precision passing.
Jones-Drew ran for 82 yards, including a 52-yarder for a score, and Taylor added 51 on the ground. Garrard was 20-of-27 for 218 yards and a touchdown.
Garrard led an 18-play drive on the first possession and later engineered three nine-play drives, keeping Kansas City's offense on the sideline while wearing down the defense.
``We're in a pretty good position right now,'' said Garrard, who has completed 67 percent of his passes for 848 yards, four touchdowns, no interceptions and a 105.4 passer rating. ``We really believe we have a really good team that can do a lot of good things. We just need to continue to build off of what we've done so far.''
Daunte Culpepper will start this week's game for Oakland against the San Diego Chargers.
``I won't prepare any differently,'' Culpepper said. ``I prepare the same no matter what. It's no different to me.''
Culpepper wasn't asked to do much in his first start, going 5-for-12 for 75 yards, but he threw for two touchdowns and ran for three more, showing that his surgically repaired knee is feeling much better after hindering him so much the past two seasons.
Culpepper's two TD throws went to Jerry Porter, who has had four of his seven catches after Culpepper took over the quarterbacking duties.
``He's coming along,'' Porter said. ``Naturally, the two guys have been there months before and had a bit of a leg up on him. ... He can play. He's getting a chance to get out there.''
How long that chance will last is still up in the air. Kiffin has not said what he plans to do once McCown gets healthy. McCown played through a sprained right foot and cracked bone in his finger, but will miss his second straight game with the broken left toe.
``Every week it looks like he might be coming back and then he struggles,'' Kiffin said. ``We're just going to take it day to day.''
Chris Brown's 3-yard touchdown run snapped a little bit of a drought for the running back in Tennessee's 20-13 win over Atlanta. He hadn't scored a touchdown rushing since Nov. 20, 2005, in a loss to Jacksonville, and it was his first score since a TD reception Nov. 27, 2005, against San Francisco.
``It definitely feels good to score a touchdown. It's been a long time for me since I did that,'' Brown said. ``But the main thing is we got the win and we're now 3-1. All I do know is we need to check the film and work harder.''
It was the 12th of his career.
BEREA, Ohio (AP) - Punter Scott Player, who has filled in for injured starter Dave Zastudil the past three weeks, was waived Monday by the Cleveland Browns.
The team also claimed defensive lineman Louis Leonard off waivers from the St. Louis Rams.
Player did a solid job while replacing Zastudil, averaging 45.6 yards on 13 punts, including six inside the 20-yard-line.
Zastudil has been out with a back injury but is expected to return to the lineup for this week's game against the Miami Dolphins.
The 6-foot-4, 330-pound Leonard was inactive for three games with the Rams before being waived on Saturday. An undrafted free agent from Fresno State, he was waived at the end of training camp by the San Diego Chargers.