When Kurt Warner left the Cardinals it was assumed Matt Leinart would take over under center.
Having been with the team for four seasons, the previous two watching and learning from the future hall of famer, it appeared that the time was right for the former Heisman Trophy winner to get his chance.
But, then again, it was obvious Leinart did not have the same skills as his predecessor. Warner was accurate but a statue; Leinart was able to move around in the pocket. Both were accurate (Warner moreso), though the prevailing thought was that the Cardinals would focus more on the ground game anyway, meaning Leinart wouldn't have to chuck the ball around 35 times a game.
Then it all fell apart.
Leinart was cut before the first regular season game, Derek Anderson put in his place, and everyone was left to wonder what actually happened to the guy who former coach Dennis Green called "a gift from heaven."
Well, Warner has his own theory, and it has nothing to do with work ethic or ability.
"I don't think that's the question with Matt," he said on the Petros and Money show. "I think for Matt it's more, can he find the right situation where he can play football the way he plays football. And, that I think was the hard thing in Arizona was that, I played the game so much differently than him and when I retired and they looked for him to take over, they were accustomed to playing it the way I played it.
"They asked him to play it that same way and I don't think he was fully comfortable doing that. And because of that I don't think you ever saw his full potential come out and I think that's going to be the key for Matt, is that unfortunately the perception sometimes if you don't make it one place, well, you're a little bit of a bust."
Wait, hold on a minute. The problem wasn't that Leinart was untalented, rather it was that he wasn't Kurt Warner?
Perhaps the team's reluctance to run the ball last season was due more to Whiz's affinity for the pass than it was the team always playing from behind?
If that's the case, Coach Whiz has some serious explaining to do, because his job is to adapt his system to the personnel, not the other way around.
Warner is a once-in-a-lifetime talent, and trying to find someone who can play the same way will be a fruitless venture.
Here's hoping Coach Whiz understands that.