Cardinals pass on Hall, give Anderson another start at QB

Derek Anderson will be back at starting quarterback for Arizona when the Cardinals play the Vikings on Sunday in Minnesota.

Coach Ken Whisenhunt announced his decision before Cardinals practice Wednesday.

Anderson started the first four games, then was replaced by rookie Max Hall, who struggled mightily and was benched in the first half of last Sunday's 38-35 loss to Tampa Bay, after he had two interceptions returned for touchdowns.

Anderson rallied the team from a 17-point deficit, but his ill-advised pass on first down late in the game was intercepted with the Cardinals in range for a tying field goal.

The offense was far more effective with Anderson, who completed 16 of 24 passes for 234 yards.

"I think the last two times he's been in the game we've had a little bit of success moving the ball, both in Seattle and last week, obviously, against Tampa Bay," Whisenhunt said. "I think going into this environment and just that situation, I feel right now that's the direction that gives us the best chance to win this game."

Whisenhunt picked Anderson as the starter in the preseason over Kurt Warner's heir apparent, Matt Leinart. After Leinart went public with his frustration, the 2004 Heisman Trophy winner was released a week before the regular season. He signed with Houston, where he is the No. 3 quarterback.

Anderson's problems with accuracy and, sometimes, decision-making led Whisenhunt to bench the strong-armed former Oregon State quarterback at halftime of a blowout loss Oct. 3 in San Diego.

Hall, who was not drafted out of BYU, started the following week against New Orleans, and Arizona came away with a 30-20 upset, mostly because of its defense.

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But two games ago in Seattle, Hall had a miserable performance (4 of 16 for 36 yards) before he was knocked out of the game with a concussion.

Last Sunday, he was yanked in the second quarter after he threw a pass right into the arms of Tampa Bay's Aqib Talib, who returned it 45 yards for a score. Moments earlier, Geno Hayes had returned an interception 41 yards for a touchdown.

"I'm disappointed in myself for not taking advantage of the opportunity, but I'm going to support D.A.," Hall said after Wednesday's practice. "I think he'll do a good job. I'm going to keep working, keep getting better, because you never know, I might need to play again."

Anderson had kept quiet when he lost the job. He had been through a similar situation in Cleveland, where last season he first regained the starting job, then lost it to Brady Quinn.

Speaking out after losing the starting job, he said, is a bad idea.

"I've seen it, been a part of different changes through my career," Anderson said. "It does nothing but tear a team apart, allows you guys to grab bits and pieces of things and make controversy out of things that probably aren't a big deal."

When asked if this experience has been easier to deal with than the ones in Cleveland, he smiled and said, "Yeah."

"It was just key for everybody just to move forward," Anderson said. "I want to win football games. Obviously, I want to be the quarterback winning the games, but if I'm not in there, I don't want to be a distraction to the rest of the team."

The Cardinals (3-4) are 2-2 in four starts by Anderson, who on the season has completed just 53.5 percent of his passes with four touchdowns and seven interceptions. They went 1-2 in Hall's starts, in which he's thrown for one score and four of his five overall interceptions.

Whisenhunt said he will keep the game plan pared down, as it was against Tampa Bay.

"I think it has shown that he's operated a little better that way," he said. "We'll build on that if we have success."

Anderson indicated his success coming off the bench showed how he is better when he's not putting too much pressure on himself.

"Yeah, I've been trying to find a way, when I do come in, to approach it the same exact way," he said. "In my preparation during the week, stay relaxed and try and stay loose. I think I play my best when I am that way."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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