The Cardinals are now 0-2 as the preseason rolls on. I say "So what?" In all honestly, as many of us know, the preseason means little as far as the wins and losses go. It means everything for the fan, however. You hear it all the time, "It's just the preseason. Who cares? These games don't count." I beg to differ. This is the time of year in which the fan is given the opportunity to truly know their team. We can all be arm chair quarterbacks, playing the "what if" game, predicting what Ken Whisenhunt should do next. The depth chart opens wide as we watch these games, learning more about the construction of the Cardinals with every snap. Now is the time to understand all aspects of the team as the Fight For 53 continues.
Like most of America, I am an avid player of fantasy football. For those who play, they know the double edged sword we carry. You love your team and that can be contradictory to what you need for fantasy success. Playing out possible scenarios is part of the fun (okay, I need Warner to throw a TD, but not to Boldin), but it does feel as if it ruins part of the allure of the game. The preseason holds no value in the world of fantasy, and I feel as if this time of year is the time in which the true passion of the game is being put forth. Men are not fighting as much for their contracts as they are for the simple chance to play and affect an NFL football game.
In watching the Arizona Cardinals preseason through the eyes of a fan, I will give my input up to this point. Allow me to say this before I continue: I am not a Matt Leinart fan. I never have been. I religiously follow Notre Dame football, and being a resident of Phoenix, Arizona makes me an Arizona State Sun Devil supporter as well. Leinart beat my teams regularly while playing for Southern Cal, and his ‘being a product of a system’ has been a nice and easy argument since his lack of production since entering the NFL. Up to this point in the preseason, he has impressed me. Granted he is playing against 2<sup>nd</sup> and 3<sup>rd</sup> team defenses, he has been doing something I have never seen him do: he is releasing the ball quicker.
My main complaint in the past when watching Matt Leinart is his lack of a quick release and poor decision making. When a quarterback takes a three, five, or seven step drop, the idea is that when the last foot hits the ground, the decision as to where the ball needs to go has been made and the ball is airborne. In seasons past this has not been Leinart’s forte. He would take a five step drop and bounce around, standing in the pocket without making judgment, waiting for the inevitable blindside sack from an opposing defense. In other cases the pressure would make the unsure footed Leinart flee, leading to a pass thrown out of desperation into a defenders arm.
Thus far he has been the contrary. His calm demeanor and quick decision making has him looking like a professional quarterback. Although Kurt Warner holds the job down, as well he should, you must be impressed by the work put in by Leinart. Perhaps he has been listening to Warner, a man who could be the best mentor for a young quarterback in the league. As the preseason rolls on we will find out more about what the 2009-2010 Arizona Cardinals are all about. Enjoy this time of year, for it is the purest time in a sport full of multi-million dollar players concerned with touches not victories.