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It'll be tough for Matt Leinart to recover

9/2/2010

Well, that didn't take long.

Matt Leinart lasted two exhibition games as the Arizona Cardinals' starter before coach Ken Whisenhunt announced that Derek Anderson would start the team's game against Chicago on Saturday. The move comes as a mild surprise because Leinart didn't get many opportunities to this point in preseason. What it tells us, bigger picture, is that Whisenhunt hasn't seen enough from Leinart all offseason.

That pretty much jibes with what I saw at training camp. Leinart wasn't bad, but he was pretty nondescript. Nothing much about him stood out.

This demotion midway through preseason undermines Leinart's ability to lead the team in the future, affirming questions about his viability in Arizona beyond August, let alone beyond this season. This also shows Whisenhunt's willingness to tolerate and even promote competition -- even at the expense of stability -- at the most important position.

It's not an ideal situation, but this is what happens when a team doesn't have an established quarterback. There's no sense in trying to fool players in the locker room. Arizona has too many veterans for that. Whisenhunt will give Anderson an extended look, see how he plays, see how Leinart reacts, see how the team reacts and then make his decision for the regular season.

It's an upset if Leinart recovers from this. Then again, it might have been an upset if he had performed well during the regular season, anyway. That's the statement Whisenhunt is making.

  1. Mike Sando, ESPN.com

    espn_nfcwest A lot of Cards fans told me people were overreacting in judgment of Matt Leinart. OK, but Derek Anderson will start the next preseason game.

  2. Mike Sando, ESPN.com

    espn_nfcwest Ken Whisenhunt would not demote his starting QB in third week of preseason if he thought that QB had earned the respect of the locker room.

  3. Mike Sando, ESPN.com

    espn_nfcwest Timing a surprise. RT: @TheRealOsCruz: @espn_nfcwest Sando, you had me convinced Leinart wasn't so much in trouble earlier in your chat.