Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Thoughts on Max Hall as Cardinals' starter
By Mike Sando
The Arizona Cardinals switched from Derek Anderson to Max Hall during their blowout defeat in Week 4.
They will not change back heading into Week 5.
Hall won over coaches during the offseason and exhibition season. Hall is not the typical rookie. He's married, 25 years old and carries deep NFL and Arizona bloodlines. His uncle, Danny White, played quarterback and punter for the Dallas Cowboys. His grandfather, Wilford White, played running back for the Chicago Bears in the early 1950s. Danny White and Wilford White both played at Arizona State.
Max Hall played at BYU after serving a two-year church mission. He started extensively, won consistently and produced at a high level -- but still went undrafted.
"Typical undersized, competitive, system quarterback whose only chance will come in a dink-and-dunk, West Coast offense," scout Nolan Nawrocki wrote in his most recent draft guide for Pro Football Weekly.
Hall is pretty much the opposite of former Cardinals quarterback Matt Leinart. I think that made him more appealing to the Cardinals, in retrospect. Leinart came to represent entitlement, punctuated by his how-dare-they response to being benched during the exhibition season.
Hall strikes the Cardinals as a player with some of the qualities former starter Kurt Warner possessed. Both were undrafted. Neither knew he didn't belong. Both had a good feel for the position coming out of college.
Hall should offer more precise passing than the Cardinals were getting from Anderson. He offers hope, too, because everyone knows what Anderson can -- and cannot do -- but the Cardinals remain in the discovery phase with Hall.
It's hardly an ideal situation for the Cardinals heading into Week 5. It's fair to ask whether the team did enough to protect itself at the position through offseason planning.
Then again, coach Ken Whisenhunt and general manager Rod Graves signed contract extensions through the 2013 season. They've got more time than most to develop a quarterback. If Hall grows into the starting job, great for the team. If he plays well enough to project as the No. 2 quarterback, that can work, too.
The Cardinals will find out what they've got in Hall and whether they need to address the position more aggressively during the offseason. And if Hall is even serviceable, the team can still contend for a playoff spot thanks to its affiliation with the eighth-best division in the NFL.