NASHVILLE, Tenn. — At least this time, Matt Leinart knows he'll be starting for Arizona against Vince Young's Tennessee Titans.
The NFL script hasn't gone the way many expected for either of the top two quarterbacks drafted in 2006. Leinart found himself backing up Kurt Warner since 2008 and now has the starting job back with the veteran's retirement. Young was on the bench himself last year until the Titans' 0-6 start pushed him back onto the field.
The two former collegiate superstars go against each other again Monday night, even though briefly, when the Cardinals visit Tennessee on Monday night. This also will be the first game at LP Field since flood waters engulfed it and the parking lots in May.
Leinart started against Tennessee on Nov. 29 in the Cardinals' first trip to LP Field only because Kurt Warner, now retired, was a late scratch with concussion symptoms. Now the 10th overall pick in 2006 out of Southern California is trying to earn the starter's job again.
"They're a good football team and they play well in the preseason. They show a lot of looks on defense," Leinart said. "It's going to be a challenge for us. ... Tennessee, they'll throw 10 or 15 different coverages in the preseason on you. It's going to be good for us. It's going to be good for me to try to decipher the defense and get the ball out to the right guy.
"I just want to go out there and start fast."
Leinart has 17 starts with 29 career games and a 7-10 record. Those numbers pale compared to Young who is 26-13 in his career with two Pro Bowl appearances. He has a better passer rating and has thrown for more yards (6,843-3,893). Both have more career interceptions than touchdowns, though Young has nearly twice as more of both than Leinart (32-39, 14-20).
Young, the third overall pick in 2006 out of Texas, got the better of Leinart yet again in November. He drove the Titans 99-yards over the final 2:37 to pull out a 20-17 win over the guy he beat back in the BCS national championship in 2006.
Leinart admitted feeling a bit of deja vu then watching Young beat him with another late drive. This game obviously is different.
"The mindset this year is a lot different. ... I've never really thought about last year. It has no bearing on this game. I just want to go out there and start fast," Leinart said.
That's because the Cardinals (1-0) didn't score against Houston until the backups came in to pull out a 19-16 win. Leinart played well enough, completing 6-of-7 for 49 yards, without any points.
Leinart will be without two of his top three receivers. Larry Fitzgerald is recovering from a sprained right knee with Early Doucet out with an abdominal strain. Also out is inside linebacker Gerald Hayes missed camp, which broke Saturday in Arizona, and is recovering from back surgery.
Young has the stronger position. He came off the bench and led the Titans to an 8-2 finish last season, which has erased any questions about who the starter is this season. His challenge now is picking up where he left off and show improvement in his fifth NFL season.
He is coming off a solid preseason debut where he completed his first five passes before being intercepted at the end of his second series played. He drove the Titans down on the opening drive for Chris Johnson's 1-yard TD run. But the Titans (0-1) lost at Seattle 20-18.
"Great to be at home before the fans," Young said. "We've got some great fans in Nashville plus getting under those lights on Monday night against a team that probably pretty much wants some payback from us from that ... game last year."
LP Field hosted concerts in June as part of the CMA Music Fest, but Monday night will be the Titans' first game since the flooding. Design of the stadium funneled water to the field and reached nearly to the first row of seats, but coach Jeff Fisher said water drained within 24 hours limiting damage to locker rooms and carpeting.
"People worked tirelessly to keep it under control so we were very fortunate," Fisher said.
Last November wasn't Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt's first visit to LP Field. He remembers Leinart putting the Cardinals in position to beat a hot team.
"That's a tough place to play. I've played there a number of times before. To have that opportunity to win that game I thought was a good indication of where our team was," Whisenhunt said.
With the NFL sending Arizona to Chicago on Saturday for the Cardinals' next preseason game, Monday night's game will be a prelude to a joint practice Wednesday between the teams.
AP Sports Writer Bob Baum in Flagstaff, Ariz., contributed to this report.