Cards' decision confuses Matt Leinart
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Derek Anderson, it's your turn. For how long remains to be determined.
The Arizona Cardinals' quarterback situation is up in the air after coach Ken Whisenhunt decided to shake up a struggling offense and start Anderson at quarterback over Matt Leinart in the third preseason game, against the Chicago Bears on Saturday night.
I've done everything to this point that they've asked me to and more. I've worked hard and been a leader. ... I've been accurate. I haven't turned the ball over. I don't know how we judge performance when you have 13 pass attempts to the other guy's 40.” -- Matt Leinart
"I realize we're not game planning," Whisenhunt said. "We're not doing a lot so you're going to have some of those situations more so than we'd like to have, but still that would be something we'd look to improve on this week."
It's not clear if the move announced Thursday is permanent.
Leinart defended himself in an interview with The Arizona Republic on Friday.
"I've done everything to this point that they've asked me to and more," he said. "I've worked hard and been a leader. I'm trying to be that guy in this new role. I have high expectations for myself."
He said his performances on the field have been "efficient."
"I've been accurate. I haven't turned the ball over," he told the newspaper. "I don't know how we judge performance when you have 13 pass attempts to the other guy's 40. I'm not going to sit here and complain and point the finger. I have to get better and I m going to get better."
Asked if there were some underlying issues between him and Whisenhunt, Leinart said, "I don't know, I don't really know."
"It seems like every preseason there is something I'm trying to get through," Leinart said. "I don't really know what's going on and why decisions are being made. I've worked extremely hard to get to this point. I hope everyone has seen that."
Penciled in as the starter after Kurt Warner retired, Leinart has yet to lead Arizona's offense to a single score this postseason and couldn't even get a first down in the three series he played against Tennessee in a 24-10 loss Monday.
The Heisman Trophy winner was 4 of 6 for 28 yards and is 10 of 13 for 77 yards in Arizona's first two preseason games, his longest completion a 16-yarder.
So the Cardinals (1-1) are giving a start to Anderson, who competed with Brady Quinn in Cleveland and was brought in after spending his first five years with the Browns.
"I think I've made big strides since the spring," said Anderson, who's completed 24 of 41 passes for 193 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. "Feel good with it. We've been pretty basic in the preseason for the most part learning every single day."
Sando: Tough for Leinart to Recover
Derek Anderson will start Saturday instead of Matt Leinart and ESPN.com's Mike Sando writes that it will be an upset if Leinart recovers from this. Blog
No matter who is behind center, this hasn't been an easy preseason for the Cardinals. Not with all those injured receivers.
Pro Bowler Larry Fitzgerald (sprained right knee), Early Doucet (abdominal strain), Darren Mougey (broken hand) and Andre Roberts (shoulder) are all banged up, which certainly isn't making things easier for the quarterbacks.
Fitzgerald, who was injured in the preseason opener against Houston, increased his workload Thursday, but the Cardinals are aiming to have him ready for the season opener at St. Louis on Sept. 12. Doucet was back at practice Thursday and might be ready to play against Chicago.
As for Leinart?
The former Southern California quarterback did not talk to reporters Thursday, but a day earlier, he predicted big things for the offense, saying, "I think we're on that verge, we're ready to explode so to speak. We're ready to move the ball, to score points."
If there are any early fireworks, Anderson will be directing them.
Information The Associated Press contributed to this report.