Everyone Still Hates Matt Leinart, But What's The Alternative?

It's been a relatively quiet spring for the Arizona Cardinals to date, but you can always count on one man to find his way into the news: Matt Leinart.

Yesterday, word surfaced that Arizona Republic writer Dan Bickley went on the Dan Patrick radio show to trash Leinart. Today, ESPN.com's Mike Sando writes that Leinart sits on the hottest seat in the NFC West.

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Matt Leinart gets my vote because he's replacing a legend and his career in the desert is coming down to one season.

It's not clear if Leinart's career in Arizona can survive a poor exhibition season or disappointing start to the regular season. Any drop in offensive performance will be seen as a reflection of Kurt Warner's retirement.

Leinart steps into a talented offense with an improved line. The Cardinals have a strong offensive coaching staff, one of the game's best receivers and a versatile 1-2 punch at running back with Beanie Wells and Tim Hightower. Leinart's contract balloons in value for 2011, meaning he must produce this season. The Cardinals signed an experienced backup (Derek Anderson) and coach Ken Whisenhunt benched Leinart once already (heading into the 2008 season).

Even the team's official site isn't glosssing over his struggles during today's practice.

I know so many are curious to know how Matt Leinart is throwing, along with Derek Anderson. Each had some good plays today, and a couple not as good. Leinart on one deep ball in 7-on-7 had Steve Breaston open, but threw over the wrong shoulder, leading Leinart to toss his helmet in disgust.

The problem for the Cardinals is they have nowhere else to turn. Their recent acquisition of Anderson, a former Browns quarterback, was panned by Matt Williamson of Scouts, Inc.

I am not a fan of this move -- especially considering what they are paying him -- and am not a fan of Anderson as a quarterback. He does have a bigger arm than Matt Leinart, and can drive the ball deep downfield to the Cardinals' impressive pass-catchers more adeptly as well, but he runs extremely hot and cold, doesn't play well when the pressure is on and there are high expectations, and isn't able to get out of the way of the rush or create in any way with his feet. Avoiding the pass rush may prove to be a real problem next season, as I contend that Kurt Warner made the Cardinals' mediocre group of blockers look much better than they truly were in protection.

I understand that quarterbacks are at a shortage right now, and Arizona is sure to run more next season and is clearly not enamored with Leinart, but I think the Cards could have done a lot better than Anderson.

Given Leinart's continued struggles and Anderson's overall bleh-ness, it's no wonder rumors persist about the Cardinals chasing former Rams quarterback Marc Bulger, who is 33 years old. Good luck with that.

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