Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Matt Leinart, Ken Whisenhunt talk
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Derek Anderson will start at quarterback again for Arizona when the Cardinals play Washington on Thursday night in their final preseason game.
Coach Ken Whisenhunt said he will use the same playing order as he did in last Saturday's 14-9 win at Chicago. That means Matt Leinart will come in to replace Anderson at some point.
"It worked for us," the coach said, "so we'll see if it continues to work that way."
He said neither quarterback will get as much playing time as they did against the Bears, "but both guys will get the opportunity."
Whisenhunt's decision came following a meeting with Leinart on Monday afternoon after the former Heisman Trophy winner told reporters that he had outplayed Anderson in training camp and preseason, and that his problem with his coach "probably goes beyond football."
Whisenhunt called it "a good talk"
"We obviously touched base on where everything was," he said, "which I've always said I wanted. If players have an issue or a problem to come see me. We had communicated before about where we were and obviously we needed to talk a little bit more, but it was a good talk."
Leinart did not make himself available to reporters after the Cardinals worked out on Tuesday for the first time at Arizona State University's indoor practice facility. His meeting with the coach came amid widespread speculation that his days with Arizona could be numbered, that the team was looking to trade him or might even release him.
Unless the Cardinals acquire another quarterback, the team would be left with the unlikely prospect of having two rookies -- John Skelton and Max Hall -- back up Anderson.
General manager Rod Graves did not return a message left on his cell phone Tuesday.
Whisenhunt said he has been consistent in the way he communicates with players since he took over as head coach in 2007.
"I'm comfortable with the way we've done that," Whisenhunt said. "Obviously there must have been some breakdown because he didn't hear what he wanted, but hopefully we got that cleared up yesterday."
He said he has nothing personal against Leinart.
"I've always liked Matt," Whisenhunt said. "I think Matt is a tremendous person and he's done a lot for this city and this community, but it's my job as the head coach of this team to pick the best players for our squad. I didn't think, as the preseason progressed, that we were as efficient as we needed to be."
He said the team played better last week.
"I don't know if that was a function of making the changes, or whether that was a function of our guys waking up a little bit," Whisenhunt said. "We get an opportunity to see this week.
Whisenhunt has not announced the starting quarterback for the regular season opener Sept. 12 at St. Louis, but Anderson appears to be the front-runner, considering he's making the last two starts.
Leinart said on Monday that he didn't know what else he "could possibly do" to earn the job.
"It probably goes beyond football, beyond the field actually," he said. "For me, I am not making excuses. I am not going to complain. For me, I just really want an explanation and I haven't been given one."
Whisenhunt wasn't happy that Leinart had expressed his feelings to reporters.
"Would I have rather he come to me and talked to me? Yes, to be perfectly honest, I would," he said. "But you know that's what sometimes happens in this business. Matt and I had an opportunity to talk yesterday. He definitely had some feelings that he needed to get out and he came up and saw me, and that was important."
Anderson, signed as a free agent after being released by Cleveland, has seen far more playing time than Leinart in the preseason. The former Oregon State quarterback has completed 31 of 53 passes (59 percent) for 287 yards and two touchdowns, with two interceptions.
Leinart has completed 83 percent (19 of 23), most of them short-range throws, for 161 yards and one touchdown with no interceptions.