Coach Ken Whisenhunt still has not named a starter between quarterbacks
Matt Leinart (left) and Derek Anderson, although Leinart said he thinks his play makes him deserve the job.
The Cardinals officially don’t have a starting quarterback yet for the regular season.
And coach Ken Whisenhunt wasn’t making any promises Monday of when that announcement would come – even hinting that maybe he’d like to hold off and surprise the Rams Sept. 12 for the regular-season opener.
Most likely, Whisenhunt will reveal his choice before then, however, even if it does come after Thursday’s preseason finale against the Redskins. Maybe it’ll be fast-tracked too, after Matt Leinart spoke again about his frustration with the situation with Derek Anderson.
Leinart was blunt in his assessment: “I have outplayed the competition (in) training camp and preseason. I think my play speaks about that. For me I just have to move forward every day. I can’t worry about what I can’t control.”
Then Leinart added, “For me, this goes beyond the football field.”
“You always want the best 11 guys to play and I feel I have proved that with my performance in training camp and preseason. I don’t really know what else this could probably be. This probably goes beyond football, beyond the field. I’m not making excuses, I’m not going to complain, I’m just going to keep working. For me, I really want an explanation and I haven’t been given one.”
Leinart admitted he hasn’t gone to talk to Whisenhunt. Whisenhunt said he has an open-door policy for any player to come and talk to him, and he welcomed any chance to discuss possible issues with Leinart. (UPDATE: The Arizona Republic reported Monday night that Leinart and Whisenhunt ended up meeting later Monday afternoon.)
The coach also said he doesn’t understand the notion put out there that he doesn’t like Leinart personally, and said he appreciates all the work Leinart has put in during their years together.
“I think we have been consistent, always trying to pick the best team and pick the best players to try and win,” Whisenhunt said. “That’s what this process is about, not whether you like somebody or don’t like somebody. It’s more about what you feel is right for the team. I have great affection for Matt and the way he has worked and what he has gone through, so I want to dispel that right away.”
Anderson and Leinart both were getting work Monday – Whisenhunt didn’t qualify which unit each worked with – and both are expected to play Thursday.
Anderson, who has been through multiple quarterback battles while in Cleveland, was unfazed by another day of the talk.
“You go with the flow,” Anderson said. “I don’t think there’s really any other way to handle it. When your opportunity comes up, you have to be ready. It’s the same way I have handled the last couple of years, never knowing if I was going to play, not going to play, going to play, going back and forth.
“I don’t want to compare anything I did (in Cleveland) to what we are doing here. But I will say my experiences there helped me.”
Whisenhunt said the quarterback change in Chicago again was about a struggling offense and a chance to look at different people. He reiterated it wasn’t about personalities.
“We have been consistent in trying to find the best players on our team and what the best fit is, and that’s all it’s about,” Whisenhunt said. “It’s not about what Matt is or isn’t doing. It’s ‘We weren’t successful enough offensively in the first two games.’ ”
Nothing has been decided on Leinart’s future, either as a starter or otherwise (the Cards aren’t looking for a trade right now), although Whisenhunt did talk about his feelings if rookie
“That’s always dicey thing when you are talking about a rookie in a backup role,” Whisenhunt said. “I have been impressed by how both those men have handled themselves through the camps, OTAs, training camp.
“You know you will have growing pains, but they have made progress. They have both played well in preseason games. I understand the regular season is a different animal and you’d have to understand you’d have to live with some things with those guys but I feel a lot more comfortable with those guys on the regular-season roster than you would have to start training camp.”
Before anything could take place with the rookie quarterbacks and the depth chart, however, Whisenhunt will have to make a decision on his veterans.
“Who knows what will happen?” Leinart said. “But it’s not up to me.”
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