Arizona Cardinals  

 

Leinart defends himself, questions Cards starting Anderson

  • By NFL.com Wire Reports
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Derek Anderson, it's your turn. And Matt Leinart isn't happy about it.

The Arizona Cardinals' quarterback situation is up in the air after coach Ken Whisenhunt decided to shake up a struggling offense and start Anderson over Leinart in the third preseason game, against the Chicago Bears on Saturday night.

It's not clear if the move announced Thursday is permanent, but Leinart defended himself in interviews with The Arizona Republic and the Cardinals' official Web site Friday.

"I've done everything to this point that they've asked me to and more," Leinart told The Republic. "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."

Leinart, the 10th overall pick in the 2006 NFL Draft, said his performances on the field have been "efficient."

"I've been accurate. I haven't turned the ball over," Leinart 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 Arizona's starter after Kurt Warner retired, Leinart has yet to lead the offense to a score this preseason and couldn't even record a first down in the three series that he played against the Tennessee Titans in a 24-10 loss Monday.

That's right -- three-and-out on all three series. Leinart, a Heisman Trophy winner at USC, was 4-of-6 passing for 28 yards at Tennessee and is 10 of 13 for 77 yards in Arizona's first two preseason games. His longest completion is 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 by the Cardinals after spending his first five NFL seasons with the Browns.


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"I think I've made big strides since the spring," said Anderson, who has completed 24 of 41 passes for 193 yards and one touchdown with two interceptions. "Feel good with it. We've been pretty basic in the preseason for the most part, learning every single day."

No matter who is behind center, this hasn't been an easy preseason for the Cardinals. Not with all those injured receivers. Pro Bowl pick Larry Fitzgerald (sprained right knee), Early Doucet (abdominal strain), Darren Mougey (broken hand) and Andre Roberts (shoulder) are all banged up.

Fitzgerald, who was injured during the preseason opener against the Houston Texans, increased his workload Thursday, but the Cardinals are aiming to have him ready for the Sept. 12 season opener at St. Louis. Doucet was back at practice Thursday and might be ready to play against the Bears.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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