Derek Anderson Over Matt Leinart? Really Ken Whisenhunt?

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Derek Anderson Over Matt Leinart? Really Ken Whisenhunt?
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Matt Leinart and Derek Anderson battled during the offseason for the Cardinals' starting quarterback job. Anderson was chosen by Coach Ken Whisenhunt.

Did Ken Whisenhunt watch Derek Anderson last year? Or even during the preseason?

I seriously question whether Derek Anderson is really a better option at starting quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals than Matt Leinart.

Yes, Anderson has a much stronger arm than Leinart but that does not mean anything if he cannot complete passes to his own team. This preseason he has only completed 58.9 percent of his passes while Leinart completed 76 percent (and I don't care that he checked down often, he still completed passes).

And in the regular season, where the games actually count, Anderson has only completed 52.9 percent of his passes and has only one more touchdown than interception in his career with a very mediocre 69.7 quarterback rating. In his "breakout" season in 2007, he only completed 56.5 percent of his passes, not a good percentage at all, as well as tossing 19 passes to the other team.

And you do not want to see his numbers from last year. A 44.5 percent completion percentage, a 3-10 TD/INT ratio, and a 42.1 QB rating. An utterly horrific season last year for Anderson. Yet somehow, he is a staring quarterback in the National Football League. 

Matt Leinart was pretty much set up to fail. Coach Ken Whisenhunt gave Anderson more playing time this preseason and has shown no confidence whatsoever in Leinart. He forgot how atrocious Anderson was last year when he named Anderson the starter. 

How many starts does Matt Leinart have in the NFL? Only 17. That is not nearly enough to judge a quarterback whether or not he has the ability to be a starter. A quarterback should be given two years at least. And it is not like he has played awful in those starts. He has completed a higher percentage of passes, has thrown a smaller percentage of interceptions per pass than Anderson, and has a higher QB rating.

And let's look at Leinart's best year, his rookie season, in which he had the most starts (11) by far of his career, compared to Anderson's best year.  


Completion Percentage

Leinart: 56.8 percent

Anderson: 56.5 percent

Percentage of Passes Intercepted

Leinart: 3.2 percent

Anderson: 3.6 percent

QB Rating

Leinart: 74

Anderson: 82.5

Interception Percentage Index (how the QB did compared to league average, 100 is average and above 100 is better)

Leinart: 99

Anderson: 91

(Stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference)

Now in these important statistics, Leinart is better than Anderson in the majority of them. And do not forget that Leinart was in his rookie season while Anderson in his second. Anderson also started more games. 

So when the Arizona Cardinals are near the cellar in the NFC West this season with Anderson at the helm, Coach Whisenhunt will regret the decision he made this preseason. 

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