Derek Anderson will be the starting quarterback Saturday night against the Chicago Bears in the Cardinals third preseason game. Coach Whisenhunt has been more than disappointed with the offensive production in the first two preseason games, particularly with the starting unit. The change is not permanent just yet and is dependent on how both Anderson and Leinart do in their new roles. Leinart is set to play the second quarter and start the second half.
“I don’t think we performed the way we want to perform on offense this preseason and we’re going to look at a number of different players in different spots,” Whisenhunt said.
Other changes in the depth chart include Greg Toler Starting at cornerback in place of Trumaine McBride and rookie Daryl Washington out of TCU starting at inside linebacker in place of Pago Togafau. These changes are not official changes of the depth chart but more of a chance for different players to get time in with the first team and to get more practice.
With the receiving core depleted by the injuries of Larry Fitzgerald, Early Doucet, and rookie Andre Roberts along with very poor protection from the line, it is not baffling that Leinart has struggled. Similar to a basketball player seeing a free throw go in to get his shot back, Leinart may need just one successful drive to get his confidence, rhythm, and timing back. Leinart has only thrown one touchdown pass since October 2007 and his timing is running out with the Cardinals. Teammates and fans have been reluctant to accept Leinart as Kurt Warner’s replacement.
ESPN analyst and former Vikings wide receiver Chris Carter commented on Leinart during halftime of the Cardinals 24-10 loss to the Tennessee Titans saying, “I’m a little disappointed in Matt Leinart because, if you think (about it), the club went out five years ago and made him a top-10 pick and when you do that, you’re saying you have a franchise quarterback. And a franchise quarterback, there are a lot of things you look for.”
“Does the team feel like they can win any football game?” Carter continued. “Because those are the franchise quarterbacks that we see around the league. When they step in the huddle, their teammates are encouraged. Their teammates play better because they’re with a franchise quarterbacks. Matt Leinart doesn’t look like that. Forget about him throwing the ball. I just don’t like his overall body posture and the vibe he’s going to give his teammates.”
Chris Carter is right. Leinart has looked awful. If Derek Anderson can get his arm behind him and start making some plays, there may be a serious QB battle in the desert. Leinart needs to find his old USC roots and start delivering like he did on big plays in big games against opponents like Notre Dame. If not, Leinart will have wasted a perfect opportunity and may see the end of his career as a potential starter.
The Cardinals play the Chicago Bears Saturday night at Soldier Field. Look for both quarterbacks to come out looking to impress and other position players looking to make noise as well.
Shout out to wide receiver Max Komar who caught his first NFL touchdown against the Titans Monday and was the only Cardinal to score a touchdown in the game. Look for Komar to keep making big plays and fight for a well-deserved spot on the Cardinals roster.
About the Author
Written by Michael Sundvik
University of Idaho - 2010 - Communications/PR/Advertising Hometown: Boise, ID Current Location: Phoenix, AZ