How Will a Concussed Kurt Warner Fare Against a Seemingly Sane Vince Young? All Signs Favor the Cards in This One
Despite suffering a concussion against the Rams last week in St. Louis, Kurt Warner is slated to make his 42nd consecutive start Sunday against the Titans in Tennessee.
Before having his brain rattled at the end of the first half, Warner had himself a hell of a game against the struggling Rams. Frankly, despite a few glitches, including lobbing up five interceptions to the Panthers a few weeks ago, Warner looks like anything but a 39-year-old quarterback in the twilight of his career.
Father Time has thrown for 2,718 yards so far this season -- about 1,600 more than the league average for quarterbacks.
This, in part, is due to the unleashing of the Cards recent air assault and the team switching to a more pass-oriented offense.
In contrast, Titans quarterback Vince Young seems to have quelled his emotional woes and is starting to play like the guy that ran for more than 200 yards and three touchdowns in the 2006 Rose Bowl as Texas rolled over USC and a collegiate Matt Leinart.
After he was drafted, Young spent a little more than two seasons "adjusting" to the NFL. The first quarterback picked in the draft that year, Young didn't exactly live up to his collegiate hype and even considered quitting football after the disappointment left him emotionally unstable.
He lost his starting spot to an aged Kerry Collins, who took the Titans to a league best 13-3 record in 2008.
Young's career seemed to be heading the same direction as the Cards Leinart -- who also didn't play as well in the pros as he did in college and who also got stripped of his starting job from him by a veteran in the twilight of his career. That being Warner, who, like Collins, had bounced around the league almost as frequently as Vinny Testaverde.
This season, Young seems to have kicked the crazy and is starting to play like the energetic quarterback who, in college, reminded people of a young Donovan McNabb.
Since coming back as the Titans' full-time starter, Young has had four consecutive wins, despite Tennessee's dismal 0-6 start.
Last week, Young gave the Houston Texans a taste of what his legs are capable of, when on Monday night he ran for 73 yards with six of his 11 carries being for first downs.
The man to watch, and the reason Young's abilities on the ground are even more of a factor, is Titans running back Chris Johnson, who has already surpassed his rookie season's 1,228 total yards.
The Cards rush defense has remained -- to put it politely -- inconsistent, and depending on which version shows up Sunday, the combination of Young and Johnson could be trouble for the Cards
The Titans have their own troubles on defense, and by troubles we mean the team has the worst pass defense in the league. That, in our humble opinion, will be the difference in the game.
Assuming Warner is the starter and the Cards aren't relying on Matt Leinart, and the "hey- just-don't-fuck-this-up" passing game, the Cardinals -- in the air -- are one of the best teams in the NFL and should cruise past Tennessee to go 6-0 on the road.
This is the Cards' first trip to Tennessee. The last time the teams met was in 2005, when the Cards beat the Titans 20-10.
Kickoff is at 2:15 p.m. and while Warner is the expected starter, depending on his recovery, a Matt Leinart appearance is not out of the realm of possibility. All we can do at this point is pray that Kurt's brain is back and that Leinart holds his deserved spot behind the clipboard.
Get the Weekly Newsletter
Our weekly feature stories, movie reviews, calendar picks and more - minus the newsprint and sent directly to your inbox.