Max Hall set to make a little history on Sunday

SAN DIEGO - OCTOBER 03: Quarterback Max Hall  of the Arizona Cardinals drops back to pass in the third quarter against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on October 3, 2010 in San Diego, California. The Chargers defeated the Cardinals 41-10. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

When rookie Max Hall lines up under center for the Cardinals this weekend, he’ll be the first undrafted rookie quarterback to start a game in the first five weeks of the season since 1987 when replacement players were used.

That’s a pretty cool stat if you’re Hall.

If you’re the Arizona Cardinals, it kind of makes you want to throw up.

The reason Hall is starting is because the quarterback situation has become a back hole in Arizona. Kurt Warner retired, Matt Leinart turned out to be Matt Leinart and Derek Anderson turned out to be Derek Anderson.

Now the Cards don’t have much of a choice but to start Hall, the undrafted rookie out of BYU who has the unenviable task of taking on the defending Super Bowl champs this week. Thanks to Gregg Williams’ relentless defense, the Saints made Mark Sanchez look like a high school quarterback in a blowout win last year. Williams loves to mix up his looks in order to confuse opposing quarterbacks and force them into making mistakes. Seeing as Hall is a rookie, he was already going to make mistakes but he could be headed for a disastrous day on Sunday.

Or hey, maybe he’ll hold his own. Warner was a nobody when he took over for Trent Green back in 2009 and we all know how his story turned out. Hall turned in a solid preseason and while he doesn’t have the physical tools you look for in a starting NFL quarterback, as long as he doesn’t turn the ball over and is consistent, he’ll be fine.

This will be one of the more underrated storylines to follow this Sunday.

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What’s next for Cardinals?

Over the past two seasons, the Arizona Cardinals have established themselves as legit Super Bowl contenders. But now that Kurt Warner has announced his retirement, the franchise has suddenly been thrown into a state of flux.

The Cardinals knew this day was coming, so in no way are they surprised by Warner’s decision. But just because they were prepared for this eventual outcome, it doesn’t mean that their task ahead of them is any easier.

Matt Leinart was drafted to be the team’s franchise quarterback, but that was when Denny Green was still calling the shots. Leinart isn’t one of Ken Whisenhunt’s “guys,” although he’s still expected to have first crack at the starting quarterback position now that Warner has decided to hang ‘em up. The problem is that some believe Leinart doesn’t have enough tools to carry on the success that Warner has had over these last two seasons.

Leinart has come under criticism for his inaccuracy, his slow release, his poor footwork and his questionable arm strength. He’s set to make $2.4 million next season and if he can’t prove that he can take over the reins of Arizona’s offense, then there’s no way the Cardinals will pay him the $7.4 million (plus a $5 million roster bonus) he’s due in 2011. He essentially has one year to prove that he can lead the team’s offense or else the Cards will look to dump him after the 2010 season.

That said, the Cardinals will likely change their offensively philosophy regardless of whether or not Leinart proves capable of taking over for Warner. Beanie Wells will become the new focal point of an offense that will have to be balanced to win, as opposed to the pass-happy unit it has resembled over the past couple seasons. The aerial show in Arizona essentially died on Friday when Warner decided to call it a career and Leinart took over. Change is coming.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

Kurt Warner announces his retirement

Kurt Warner has officially decided to hang ‘em up.


“Not much on the drama part of it, as most of you know,” Warner said to begin a news conference at the Cardinals’ training facility in Tempe, Ariz.

Warner, 38, a two-time MVP and Super Bowl champion, had added motivation for a quick retirement decision: He has multiple promotional appearance commitments during Super Bowl week in Miami.

Rather than answer retirement questions then, Warner preferred to remove the focus from his future as quickly as possible so it’s not an issue next week, a source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

“Obviously, it’s been 12 unbelievable years, some of the best years of my life,” Warner said Friday. “But I want everybody to know that I’m just as excited about the next 12, that I’m excited about what lies in front of me. I’m excited about spending more time with my family, and seeing what God’s going to do next.”

Warner demonstrated class by not wanting to make his retirement announcement one of the focal points of next week’s Super Bowl. His selflessness and unwavering character are just two reasons why he will be missed on Sundays. (His outstanding play is another.)

Warner is one of only two quarterbacks in the history of the NFL to lead two different franchises to the Super Bowl. He finishes his career with 208 touchdown passes, 32,344 yards, a 93.7 QB rating and two MVP trophies. Even if he isn’t a first ballot Hall of Famer, the 12-year veteran will likely end up having a bust in Canton someday.

Not bad for a former grocery store stock boy and Arena league quarterback.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

Report: Warner expected to retire on Friday

ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting that the Cardinals have scheduled a Friday press conference to address Kurt Warner’s future and according to Schefter, all signs point towards Warner retiring.

Teammate Antrel Rolle also believes Warner will hang ‘em up (From Player

“Judging from conversations that I’ve had with him I think he understands that he’s had a great, Hall of Fame career. I think football has taken its course. But he’s the best teammate I’ve ever had. He’s been a leader on and off the field.” -excerpt from Rolle’s January 26th blog.

Warner has racked up 32,344 yards and 208 touchdown passes throughout his stellar career. He has also compiled a 93.7 passer rating, a 65.5% completion percentage and only Peyton manning (four) and Brett Favre (three) have compiled more MVP awards than Warner (two).

There’s nothing left for Warner to prove and if the game isn’t fun for him anymore, then it makes sense that he would retire now. He took one hell of a shot in the Divisional Round against the Saints and it no doubt reminded him that he has other things that he wants to pursue when he’s done with football.

There have been rumors that Arizona might pursue Donovan McNabb or Michael Vick, but it makes more sense that Matt Leinart will get the first crack at the starting QB job if Warner does retire. And if that happens, the Cardinals’ offense will definitely change from a pass-first unit to a balanced approach that features young running back Beanie Wells.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

Warner leaning towards retirement?

Rick Reilly writes in his latest column (which has become one inspirational chain e-mail after the other) that Kurt Warner may be leaning towards retirement.

Still, if Warner does quit in the next couple of weeks — talk to him, you’ll be convinced he will — it won’t be because of his seven kids landing 720 McTwists on him, or 300-pound linemen crushing him from the blind side. It’ll be because it’s become nine parts job and one part fun.

“Not the Sundays,” he says. “The three hours on Sundays are still fun. But it’s the whole week, the whole commitment, the ability to sustain it to your fullest, day in and day out.

Brenda Warner — the most quotable wife in the NFL — has said the decision is between “Kurt and God.” What does that mean, exactly?
“It means I pray that God takes away the desire in me to play this game,” he says. “I’ve loved it for so long. I need Him to take that away from me, so that I can be comfortable with this decision.”

So a lung-collapsing, cleat-raising hit like the one in New Orleans is a little message from above?

I say leave, Kurt Warner. Go walk your daughters down the aisle without a limp. Go play your beloved hoops until you’re 60. Go write the books you want to write and host the radio show you want to host and maybe even run for politics the way people are asking you now. Go exhale.

Reilly can share his opinion if he likes (he always does), but who’s to say that any of us know what’s best for Warner? This isn’t a case of an athlete that is past his prime and can’t contribute on the field anymore – Warner is still playing at a high level.

Professional football can be a cruel mistress. It’ll build you up, reward you handsomely and then before you know it, you’ll walk away and it’ll be gone forever. That’s why I say if Warner has even a shred of desire to come back, then he should. Reilly’s right when he says that Warner has nothing left to prove. But athletes don’t have to prove anything to anyone put themselves and their teammates. And if Warner still enjoys the game and everything that comes with it, then he should play until that desire is no longer there.

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