The other day I said not to hit the fire alarm just yet on Matt Leinart. After today’s news that Arizona Cardinals backup quarterback Derek Anderson would start on Saturday night against the Chicago Bears, I’m not sure I would just yet now either. There are a couple of different ways we can take this news.
First of all, coach Ken Whisenhunt said not to read too much into the change. Leinart is going to still play, however it will be in the second and third quarters and not the first. Secondly, Leinart is STILL PLAYING. He’s not been cut, not been demoted, not anything other than being named Saturday’s backup. I will say this though, no matter how the Whiz and the Cards spin this news, it creates even more doubters of Matt Leinart and his ability to start for this team. Let’s be honest. The Cards first team has looked everything just short of a disaster in the first two games. Whiz wants to see productivity. We all want to see productivity. None of us want to go into the regular season with absolutely zero results from the first team. Whiz said he is doing the “flip-flop” of players at other positions, yet quarterback is the only one that is being talked about. Why? I think the reasons are obvious. This isn’t something Whiz has done with the Cards previously, so I think Leinart’s performance certainly is a cause for pause and concern for the Cardinals.
Practically every so-called “expert” out there thinks not only will Leinart not be the starting quarterback come September 12th, he won’t even be on this team. I will agree, if he isn’t the starter, he should not be the back up. It serves him and the Cardinals no purpose at all.
I do believe though if Leinart fails to produce any results this weekend, clearly his remaining time with the Cardinals appears to be short. Personally, I would love to see Leinart get a chance to fail in the regular season before the Cardinals make any moves with him. For the record, the Cards say there has been no talk of Leinart not making this roster and not being the starting quarterback. You have to believe though coach Whiz is thinking about it even if it hasn’t been discussed privately.
If Anderson has a great or even a pretty good game and Leinart does nothing on Saturday, it may be the end of the road for Leinart in a Cardinals uniform. Most likely it will be the Max Hall and John Skelton show in the final preseason game. I really do hope Leinart takes Whiz at his word and just comes out and focuses on the task at hand and gives a performance that we all hope gives us a little more confidence in him heading into the regular season.