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Keeping The Faith

Whisenhunt needs Cards to cut mistakes, regardless of QB


Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald delivers the ball to quarterback Max Hall after Hall threw his first NFL touchdown pass to Fitzgerald Sunday.

Max Hall stood in front of his locker Monday, looking nothing like a person who could potentially lose his starting role.

Not that the Cardinals' rookie quarterback is certain of anything, although he said "I don't think they have lost faith in me yet."

Coach Ken Whisenhunt wasn't making any quarterback announcements the day after his team fell to the Buccaneers, 38-35. He wanted to watch video with players and mull who might be the best choice this weekend in Minnesota.

Besides, he isn't sure of what direction to go in right now, and some of that extends beyond just the quarterback position.

"The biggest issue we are having now as a football team is that when it doesn't show up like it does in practice, we're not adjusting to it very well," Whisenhunt said. "The only way to get better at that is by experiencing it."

Veteran Derek Anderson, the other man in the question, wasn't in the locker room during availability Monday, but Sunday said he simply was going to prepare as usual and wait to see what Whisenhunt decided to do.

Whisenhunt said the venue – the loud Metrodome – wasn't a major factor. If the Cards go with Hall, it's with the expectation to perform. That's certainly what Hall believes, insisting his confidence has not been shaken.

As for Anderson, he had – statistically – his best game since the opener and easily his most accurate. That was likely one of the reasons Whisenhunt called for a pass at the end of the game. Had Anderson thrown to open receiver Early Doucet instead of the covered Larry Fitzgerald, the Cards should have gained about seven or so yards, setting up a second-and-short at the two-minute warning and giving the Cards a chance to bleed the clock.

Whisenhunt declined to talk about Anderson's final decision-making, calling such public discussion "counterproductive."

"If you analyze every decision a quarterback makes in a game, there's going to be a lot you question or ones that were great decisions," Whisenhunt added.

To think Whisenhunt will suddenly commit to either Hall or Anderson for the rest of the season is unrealistic. The coach said he hasn't thought much about how much easier the decision would be if the Cardinals weren't still right in the middle of the division race, but it has to play a role.

Because of that, moves beyond the next decision could still come.

"We're trying to put the best player in there that we feel gives us the best chance to win," Whisenhunt said. "Obviously, you don't have 10 quarterbacks on your roster that you can just keep rotating through."

Whisenhunt's theme Monday was simple and obvious: The Cardinals must find a way to cut out the mistakes. That, given Sunday's outcome, equates to turnovers. The other issues can be overcome if the Cardinals don't give the ball away.

Even Hall understands that.

"I think you strive for perfection, but you're not going to be," Hall said. "The mistakes you do have, they can't be big ones."


Running back Tim Hightower played little Sunday after being demoted from his starting role behind Beanie Wells. Hightower ended up with one reception and one carry.

"It was frustrating, but I don't think it was something that caught me completely off-guard," Hightower said. "With the situation and me fumbling, we are trying to stress ball security. … I was in the holding (pen), whatever you call it. Not to make light of it. I don't want to make it sound like a joke because it's not and I don't take it as a joke. I take it very serious.

"I'm not complaining by any stretch of the imagination, but from a player's perspective and a competitive standpoint, you want to be in there contributing as much as possible."

Whisenhunt said Hightower's lack of playing time was not indicative of what the future holds.

"Unfortunately, that's the way it played out yesterday," Whisenhunt said. "At the end of the day, we have to have Tim get more reps in the course of a game."


Officially, Whisenhunt had nothing new on the injuries to running backs Wells (back) and LaRod Stephens-Howling (ribs), but both players said they were OK. Stephens-Howling, in fact, said his injury was more a case of getting the wind knocked out of him when he was drilled.

"That's football," Stephens-Howling said. "I don't think it was anything bad. I did see some pictures that I flinched about, but I don't think there was anything bad about the hit."

Wells was thinking more about only getting two carries after halftime, although "you understood where the coaches were coming from. We were down and trying to get back in the game."

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