he still colorblind?
Cards to look at 2 veteran QBs
The Arizona Republic
Oct. 8, 2007 06:35 PM
The Cardinals will bring in 43-year-old Vinny Testaverde and Tim Rattay for tryouts Tuesday at their Tempe facility as they search for a replacement for injured quarterback Matt Leinart.
With Leinart out indefinitely because of a fractured left collarbone, the Cardinals are in the market for an experienced backup for new starter Kurt Warner. Testaverde, who spent part of last season with the New England Patriots, clearly fits the bill.
Rattay, 30, does, too, though to a lesser extent. He is a former starter for the San Francisco 49ers and was cut by Tennessee in the preseason. He lives in the Valley, where he played high school and junior college football.
The search began almost immediately after Sunday's 34-31 victory over the St. Louis Rams in which Leinart was injured on the Rams' only sack.
The team was waiting for the results of a second examination Monday on Leinart's throwing shoulder, but he could be lost for the season.
Head coach Ken Whisenhunt and general manager Rod Graves were mum on the search for a replacement, saying only the team had a few quarterbacks in mind and were working quickly to sign at least one of them.
If it's Testaverde, the Cardinals would have a 1-2 quarterback combination with a combined age approaching 80. Warner is 36, and Testaverde turns 44 on Nov. 13.
Cardinals starting center Al Johnson, who played with Testaverde with the Dallas Cowboys during the 2004 season, says he's be a valuable addition.
"Vinny's a real pro, he's as strong as an ox, and he's probably one of my favorite guys I've ever been around, just because of the way he handles himself, whether things were going good or things were going bad," Johnson said.
"He's always the same person. He was never up and down. Whether we were getting cheered or booed, he was the same person in the huddle, and he was the same person in the locker room."
Whisenhunt and Cardinals offensive coordinator Todd Haley have previous ties with Testaverde, who entered 2007 ranked in the top 10 in NFL history in four passing categories: sixth in career passing yardage (45,281) and completions (3,693), eighth in touchdown passes (270) and seventh in pass attempts (6,529). Whisenhunt was the tight ends coach for the Baltimore Ravens when Testaverde was there in 1997, and the two were also together with the New York Jets in 2000.
Haley served as wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator during Testaverde's lone season in Dallas, and his last as a full-time starter. He started 15 of 16 games and passed for 3,532 yards and 17 touchdowns.
Whisenhunt made it clear the first thing he is looking for in a No. 2 is experience, because "with only one healthy quarterback right now on the active roster and the way the league's going right now, there's a good chance that this guy will have to see some playing time."
The Cardinals would prefer not to trade a draft pick for a backup, but Whisenhunt, noting the team is 3-2 and tied for first place in the NFC West, said the Cardinals would consider anything that gives them the best chance to win.
As for Leinart, a copy of his MRI exam was sent to noted orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala.
"I feel badly for him," Whisenhunt said, "but it's a test for him mentally now to stay up with the team and stay focused because we don't want to lose ground to where he was right now, as far as the strides he's made since the first game."
Leinart's teammates made sure they let him he's still very much a part of the team and its long-term future.
"The thing for us right now is to try and keep his spirits up," receiver Anquan Boldin said Monday.
An injured starter can easily feel left out of the loop, Warner said, and the Cardinals don't want that to happen with Leinart.
"Just stay involved as much as you can, stay around the guys, feel that this place is your home," Warner said off his advice to the second-year pro. "Don't separate yourself, because I think that will make it even harder."