Prior to the start of this season, the question in Arizona was who would win the starting quarterback job, Derek Anderson or Matt Leinart?
Oh, how quickly things change.
Matt Leinart played his way out of Arizona and was released by the team during the preseason. The keys to the offense were handed to Anderson.
Anderson played solid in his debut, throwing for 297 yards and a touchdown in St. Louis, but the wheels came off quickly after that. Anderson was benched in the middle of a 41-10 trouncing at the hands of the San Diego Chargers, and Max Hall—a rookie out of BYU—was given the reins.
Hall has not been an improvement, throwing for 250 yards and an interception in a game and a half since getting the job.
Hall was, however, missing his second target, Steve Breaston, and they were playing the defending champion New Orleans Saints, but I am still not sure if Hall can be the guy to lead this Arizona Cardinals team to their third straight NFC West title.
Arizona did win the game, but it was the defense—which scored two touchdowns—that fueled Ken Whisenhunt's team to victory. Hall was efficient at most, but he did seem capable of getting the ball to star Larry Fitzgerald, something that Anderson was having a lot of trouble doing.
At BYU, Hall was a great player, compiling a record of 21-4 as a starter, and was praised for his confidence and composure under center. He knows how to win games, and I can see what Arizona saw in him when they signed him via free agency this offseason.
But just because you have a history of winning, and you won your first game as a starter, doesn't mean you can lead a football team to the playoffs and/or a championship.
I think the Cardinals should stick this season out with Hall and see how he does. With how bad the NFC West is this season, the Cards have a great chance of claiming this division, especially with the preseason favorite San Francisco 49ers sitting at 0-5.
Hall hasn't put up great numbers at all, but he will only improve with experience. If he can get the ball downfield to Fitzgerald and Breaston, Arizona has the tools in the running game to make this a very balanced offense.
I don't think you can give Anderson another chance if Hall doesn't perform because when you keep flip-flopping quarterbacks, you are making the problem worse rather than helping it.
Let the offense get into a rhythm with Hall under center, and maybe things will work out and the Cardinals will win the division.
If things don't pan out and Hall isn't getting the job done, you have to go out and draft a quarterback early in the draft. The problem is, if the Cards finish with a mediocre record, they may have to trade up in order to get a quarterback like Ryan Mallett or Jake Locker, one who is NFL ready straight out of college.
This isn't a great situation in Arizona. Hall was undrafted and doesn't really have all the tools to be successful in this league. He is a confident player with a mind for the game, but he is missing qualities that make you an elite quarterback in this league—arm strength, height, off-balance throwing—and probably isn't the answer for Ken Whisenhunt.
My advice is to just put this season in Hall's hands. If he has your team playing at a high level and contending in the NFC, then keep him as your starter, but if he is mediocre or below average, it has got to be your top priority to go out and draft a quarterback to start immediately, or at the very least compete with Hall for the job.
Phil Lombardo is a Bleacher Report writing intern and a senior journalism/mass communications major at St. Bonaventure University.
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