Back in 2006 then Arizona Cardinals head coach Denny Green said something that was laughed at at the time, but now is apropos.
"Who the hell takes the third game of the preseason like it's 'BS'? BS!"
The answer to that question could very easily decide who is the starting quarterback for his former team. Whichever quarterback -- Matt Leinart or Derek Anderson -- that does likely won't be under center come week one for the Arizona Cardinals.
It came as a surprise when it was announced that Derek Anderson would start Saturday's third preseason game in Chicago for the Cardinals. When you examine the decision a little closer, though, it makes perfect sense.
In business, you are taught to look for the "win-win" situation -- the move that will most benefit you and your client at the same time, thus keeping everyone involved happy.
That is what head coach Ken Whisenhunt is doing by letting Anderson start. He is creating a win-win situation for him, the media, the fans and, most importantly, his team.
For the better part of a week, the speculation locally and nationally has been that Matt Leinart's job is in jeopardy and that the Arizona Cardinals are ready to move on. For a team preparing for what many imagine to be a bitter fight for the NFC West title, this kind of distraction can prove to be costly.
By starting Anderson on Saturday, Whisenhunt will quiet some of the talk. If Anderson goes out and lights up the scoreboard with the first team offense and Leinart struggles in his outing, everything is settled. The media gets their answer, pats themselves on the back for breaking the story a week early and everyone moves on.
If Anderson struggles and continues to miss the pass he should connect on and Leinart just plays like he has, the problem is also solved. Anderson proves he's not the starter and Whisenhunt can continue to claim that Leinart has always been his quarterback. Thus quelling the media's speculation.
The worst case scenario is both quarterbacks play poorly. In that case, Whisenhunt has a fuller picture of what he is dealing with and can better evaluate the situation moving forward. Sure, the media most certainly will continue to talk, but it won't be the same storyline. Rather, it will be "Who's good enough to be the Cardinals' quarterback?", which will be the same question Whisenhunt and his staff will be asking.
In any outcome, Whisenhunt wins by making this move. In every situation, he comes out in a better position than he went in with -- yes, even if both perform poorly.
Even as the media turns the decision to start Anderson over Leinart in the third preseason game into a huge ordeal, Whisenhunt is making things very clear. This isn't necessarily permanent and this game certainly isn't indicative of what to expect in the regular season.
Key Whiz quote about 3rd preseason game: "A lot of people look at this like a dress rehearsal game. We're not looking at it that way."
Whisenhunt seems to have a plan. Whether that plan is to rekindle the fire and swagger of Matt Leinart, to dispel the talk that Derek Anderson has played well enough to start, or to give himself a clearer picture of what he's dealing with at quarterback, he isn't taking the third game of the preseason as BS. He's just looking for a win-win situation for all.