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Cardinals give QB Warner another start

TEMPE, Ariz. (Nov. 9, 2005) -- Kurt Warner remains the starting quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals, and believes he will stay there through the second half of the season.

Of course, all that could change depending on how the 2-6 team performs on the field.

"The plan is to stand pat with all our guys and get this thing moving in the right direction," Warner said after practice. "No coach ever wants to have to shuffle guys in and out and try to find the best mixture. You want to know it, and have it, and play with it."

Coach Dennis Green agreed, as long as the team is doing well.

"That's what we'd like to do. I don't think any coach likes to change," he said. "If you're winning, people rarely change. If you're not winning, then sometimes you change."

The Cardinals are 0-4 with Warner as starter. When he went down with a groin injury in Seattle, Josh McCown came on and went 2-2. But after McCown and the offense struggled in a loss at Dallas, Green went back to Warner against Seattle on Nov. 6.

The former MVP was 29-for-48 for 334 yards and one touchdown -- his 32nd career game of more than 300 yards. But he was intercepted three times and was sacked four times in a 33-19 Seahawks' victory.

"I just think that he'd missed a bunch of games," Green said. "I don't think you can knock the rust off as well as you'd like to in one game. I thinks he thinks he'll play better this week, and hopefully he will."

Warner, who was booed loudly at times by the Cardinals' crowd, said he's a tough on himself.

"I'm one of those guys that goes back and scrutinizes every play," he said. "OK, could I have done something different? Could I have thrown it someplace different? Could I have thrown the ball differently than I did?"

Warner, who signed a one-year free-agent contract with Arizona, acknowledges the big role his mistakes played against Seattle.

"I have the ball every snap and I have to find a way to help this team win," he said. "If I have to play maybe different than I have in the past, or I have to find a different way to be successful, then I've got to figure out a way to do that and not put us in difficult situations like I did a couple of times last week."

Warner has completed 62 percent of his passes for 1,030 yards, two touchdowns and five interceptions. McCown has completed 56 percent for 1,233 yards, six touchdowns and eight interceptions. Each has had four starts and has been sacked 13 times.

Despite the sacks and continuing struggles in the running game, Warner said he liked what he saw from the offensive line last week, after Oliver Ross returned at right tackle, Alex Stepanovich moved from center to right guard, and seldom-used Nick Leckey took over at center.

"I've been in a lot of places where I haven't had offensive lines that can just manhandle guys one-on-one," Warner said, "but if you get on the right guy, you pick up the right guy, you give your skill players a chance to make a play, and that's where you're successful."

The latest version of the Cardinals' line shows signs of doing that, he said.

"You don't have to maul people on every snap to be a great offensive line," Warner said, "but you do have to mesh together. You do have to be smart, know who you have to get to and how to get to them. Last week I think we made strides in that area. The group that we've got in there now mesh well together, they're smart, they know what to do."

AP NEWS
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