FLAGSTAFF - Kurt Warner could become a long-term fixture as the Cardinals’ backup quarterback.
Warner indicated Tuesday that he probably would like to sign a two-year contract extension. Such a move would keep him in Arizona for four more seasons, counting the one that starts next month.
“It’s a definite possibility,” Warner said.
While he still holds out hope he could be a starter again, he indicated his family likes Arizona and that he is comfortable with his teammates and the general situation.
“If they (Cardinals officials) felt comfortable with me and wanted to have me, right now I’m feeling so good I would consider an extension on my contract or another contract.”
To Whisenhunt, this is an example of his backup quarterback’s competitive nature.
“You want your football players to believe” they can keep playing, he said.
“You don’t want them saying, ‘Oh, well I’m about done.’ That changes the mentality of how you prepare and how you compete. You always want your quarterbacks, especially, to have that competitive edge, which Kurt has.”
Warner, Whisenhunt said, “studies.” “He learns, His playbook is quite vast. He feels comfortable in just about any situation.” Warner, 36, is under contract through the end of the 2008 season. “He’s in good shape. and that’s showed up in training camp.”
RISING RETURN MAN
Rookie Steve Breaston appears to have won the punt-return job and could be establishing himself as a kick returner, too.
“I think it’s pretty obvious that Steve has distanced himself from everybody else,” Whisenhunt said. “You have to give Steve Breaston credit. He looks natural back there. He looks comfortable back there.
“The thing I like is he’s not afraid to hit the holes.”
On kickoffs, Whisenhunt says he still plans to start with Marcel Shipp and J.J. Arrington Saturday at home vs. San Diego, though Breaston “has done a good job for two weeks,” the Cards coach said. “I feel good about the depth there.”
Arrington also has fared well on kickoffs, so he and Breaston ultimately could be the starting pair.
EXPERIENCE WINS OUT
Matt Leinart and Warner might be the best quarterback tandem in the league. But they couldn’t beat former quarterbacks Jeff Rutledge and Mark Rypien in a throwing contest.
Rutledge, the team’s quarterbacks coach, and Rypien, a former NFL quarterback, beat the Cards’ QBs at a game of throwing the football at the crossbar on the practice-field goal posts.
Rypien, a good friend of Whisenhunt, has been visiting practices.
“That’s good when you have two guys who have that much success and experience around our quarterbacks,” Whisenhunt said. “That’s always a plus.”
Leinart may have been 7-for-7 in passing in the last game, but he didn’t exactly look like Willie Mays in his avoid-thetacklers’ slide.
“My slide was awful. I’ve got to work on it.”