- Mike Sando, NFL Insider
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I might have underplayed this angle Wednesday, but I think we're dealing with semantics.
No one is saying Whisenhunt handed the job to Leinart unconditionally. Whisenhunt is merely acknowledging that newly signed backup Derek Anderson will have to unseat Leinart to win the job.
Leinart has to play well to keep the job, whereas an established quarterback might get more time. That isn't likely to change no matter how much support and enthusiasm Whisenhunt shows for Leinart over the coming weeks. Whisenhunt elaborated on this subject during an interview with Bickley and Mike Jurecki on XTRA910 radio in Phoenix, touching on the role competition has played in helping the Cardinals land free agents such as Anderson and Rex Hadnot.
"I have no doubt," Whisenhunt said. "It's not just at the quarterback position. It's at a lot of positions. Even with some of the linemen we brought in, one of the things that they said is, 'We know that you have competition, that you believe in competition, that you are going to play the best players. That has been a big part of the reason we have had success."
Not all competitions are equal, however, and Anderson will be playing catchup.
"Obviously, it's not an open competition," Whisenhunt said. "Matt has earned the right to be in this spot and be the guy and that is the way it's going to go forward. But (Anderson) will get reps, he will get an opportunity to compete because that is the way we have handled things."
Dan Bickley and Darren Urban both emerged from Ken Whisenhunt's news conference Thursday noting how the Cardinals' coach had made a stronger commitment to Matt Leinart as the starting quarterback.