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The Long Hall Ahead for the Cardinals

Rookie quarterback Max Hall relieved a drastically ineffective Derek Anderson against San Diego, but whether Hall is the man going forward is another question.

I suppose the people who thought the Cardinals’ quarterback situation wasn’t going to be revisited this season seriously misled themselves.  In the second quarter of Week 4, Ken Whisenhunt opened the Cardinals’ recently scabbed over wound by ripping the Derek Anderson stitching out and covering it with a Max Hall band-aid.  Ken Whisenhunt, however, must now figure out how to redress the open wound, which is no easy task.  I imagine a wry smile is creeping across Matt Leinart’s face somewhere in Texas.

It’s a decision that Whisenhunt understandably seems reticent to make, especially when he was asked about the quarterback situation during Sunday’s post-game press conference.  “I don’t know if there is ever a good time to go to a rookie quarterback,” Whisenhunt said.  “That’s something we have to look at now.  I’m not saying that’s the direction we will go in.  We will look at it this week.  In my mind, there are a lot of things I think.  Until I see it on the tape, I don’t know.  I don’t want to make a judgment based on what I think happened today.  Because there aren’t a lot of things I think weren’t very good.”

At his press conference today, Whisenhunt again indicated that he isn’t sure whether he’ll go with Max Hall or Derek Anderson against the Saints.  The head coach did explain that he will not delay announcing the decision to throw New Orleans off because “to be quite honest with you, I really don’t think New Orleans is scared with who we play there at quarterback,” Whisenhunt explained.  So I don’t think it makes a factor in that.  I’m not trying to (wait) from a strategic standpoint.  I trying to do it out of fairness to everybody involved and what is best for our team.”

It seems that Derek Anderson has received his fair shot to show what he’s got.  He’s been terribly ineffective through four starts completing only 58 of 112 attempts for just 644 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 5 interceptions (one returned for a touchdown).  He’s only completed 51.8% of his passes, all of which combine for a depressing 51.5 passer rating.

Beyond the numbers, Anderson has clearly cost the Cardinals at least 21 points spread out over those four games by failing to take advantage of game changing opportunities.  These failures seems to be the driving impetus behind his benching.

In Week 1, Anderson missed a few wide open targets for big gains, though not necessarily scoring opportunities.  Week 2 was simply a wash.  In Week 3 against the Raiders, Anderson missed a wide open Larry Fitzgerald twice; both would have been easy scores.  Finally, this week against the Chargers, Anderson missed a wide open Stephen Williams for what should have been a 40-yard game-tying touchdown.  Along with Anderson’s two interceptions (one of which was returned for a touchdown) Whisenhunt had enough.

If Whisenhunt were to take Anderson’s summary of his own play to heart, it would probably save the head coach the time and effort of checking the tape.  “Coach made that decision, and there is nothing to second guess,” Anderson explained.  “(My play) was awful and it’s been awful.”  It’s pretty much that simple and unfortunately spot-on analysis from the horse’s mouth.

At least Larry Fitzgerald feels for Anderson, who is no doubt not lacking in effort or “want to.”  “I feel bad for D.A. because unfortunately he has to take the fall for a lot of things, a lot of other players,” Fitz remarked.  “Everyone is upset.  Whatever coach Whiz wants to do (at quarterback), we are going to support him.”

It’s hard to believe that Max Hall feels all that bad, though.  Hall’s most likely itching for his chance to get his NFL career started on the right foot and sooner than he probably thought.  “All I can do is prepare every day in case it does happen and I play,” Hall said.  “So right now, that’s what I will do.”

Whoever gets the start on Sunday will draw an unenviable assignment.  The Cardinals will take on the defending Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints in a rematch of the 2009 Divisional Playoff Game.  The Cardinals, who were blown out, are merely a shadow of their former selves and it would be a very tough way for Hall to make the first NFL start of his career.


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