Let’s get one thing straight on this quarterback change for Saturday’s pre-season game against the Chicago Bears.
This is not about trying to light a fire under Matt Leinart’s rear end.
This has nothing to do with trying to motivate Leinart or making him mad or challenging him.
Simply put – Matt Leinart is just not Ken Whisenhunt’s guy.
Never has been. Never will be.
How else can you explain how Leinart only got nine reps vs. the Tennessee Titans Monday of which three were runs that each resulted in negative yards. Let’s also remember that Leinart didn’t have Larry Fitzgerald or Early Doucet in the lineup and it was Tim Hightower running, not Beanie Wells when he was in the game.
Now granted, Leinart hasn’t played great, but has he really been given the opportunity too?
And has Derek Anderson showed anything in his two games that warrants him getting the start Saturday?
The answer to both of those questions is NO.
Look, there is a reason that Mike Holmgren, quarterback guru that he is, got to Cleveland and immediately dumped Anderson and Brady Quinn. And that’s because neither of them could play.
I have been saying for quite some time now that if Leinart is not the starting quarterback on this team and Anderson is then the Cardinals are in trouble.
Not because of Anderson, but because it will mean that the Cardinals first-round pick, 10th overall in 2006, the supposed franchise quarterback, didn’t pan out.
Good quarterbacks very, very, very rarely become available in free agency. These NFL teams know what they are doing and when they have a good quarterback they lock him up, they don’t send him into the market.
Good quarterbacks are drafted and developed and that was supposed to be the case with Leinart. But the left-handed signal caller was drafted by Denny Green, not Whisenhunt. And therein lies the problem.
Leinart desperately wants his coach to believe in him, have confidence in him, and treat him like a man and maybe had Whisenhunt tried that approach it may have worked out.
Instead Whisenhunt has continually played mind games with Leinart, never fully embracing him as the starter and always having him look over his shoulder.
You can’t help but think that Whisenhunt having Leinart start the first two pre-season games was simply to appease the organization’s hierarchy who have invested millions in the former USC star and want to see him succeed.
But can Whisenhunt really say that Leinart has been given ample opportunity to gel with the offense, work through situations and get in a rhythm?
The answer is a resounding no.
Maybe it’s because deep down Whisenhunt just doesn’t have the confidence in Leinart and he truly believes that long-term the Cardinals are better off with someone else behind center.
And if that’s the case then the Cardinals should cut Leinart now. No reason to have him stick around as the backup when there is no chance he is coming back next year. Let him go find a new team and Arizona can either keep the two rookies, Max Hall and John Skelton, or go sign a veteran backup to be the backup to Anderson.
Either way Arizona will be in search of a franchise quarterback in next year’s draft.