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Arizona Cardinals' Matt Leinart Is Like Many, Just Trying To Earn A Job

Plenty of people are hoping Matt Leinart fails, but rooting against him might be like rooting against yourself, or at least a richer, better looking version of yourself.

I've spent a lot of time trying to figure out what my first column for SB Nation Arizona would be, and believe me, as a man "in between" jobs, I have plenty of time. I considered documenting the differences between Kurt Warner and Brett Favre, which would have been about as challenging as finding a video clip of Snooki drunk online. I considered writing about the Diamondbacks before realizing that, unless I was retiring Luis Gonzalez's number in the column, no one would show up to read it. I even considered writing about the Suns and their rebounding prowess or lack thereof, but deep down I knew I had months to get to that.

As I contemplated the right storyline to introduce myself to SB Nation Arizona, I couldn't help but think about my current lot in life. As I thought about being laid off and searching for a job - which is about as fun and time consuming as waiting for Buddy Ryan to bring a winner to town - I realized something. Matt Leinart is just like me and many other Americans in this recession.

He's a guy just trying to earn a job.

Think about it: in August of 2008, he had a job that only 32 other people in the country held. A job that his hard work at USC prepared him for (alright, it probably wasn't that hard of work, but somebody has to be the big man on campus). By the end of that month, as the economy tanked, he "lost" that full-time job.

Since then, he's worked part-time in the only job he could get, as the assistant to the grocery bag boy. Like many have had to do over the last two years, he proved himself and his dedication to his craft. In doing so, he's shown that he took his job more seriously than before.

Now, after two "down" years, he's finally being given a chance to regain the position he lost. That chance won't come without competition, though. He'll have to go through an interview process and those interviewing him have other candidates. Candidates that include someone with similar experience (Derek Anderson), a young man whom they recruited (John Skelton) and another young guy who sought out the job with a lot of potential and drive (Max Hall).

The preseason is that interview process and the first impression is that Leinart has the basic skills necessary to do the job. Like you and I need to have computer skills, a decent work ethic and the ability to operate numerous Microsoft products, he has to possess the ability to run the basic offense. He showed that by going 6-for-7 for 49 yards and a 95.8 passer rating in week one. (Anyone who tells you differently is the type of person that says you're overqualified for a position - they're full of it.)

The second part of Leinart's interview comes Monday night when he gets a chance to show off his managerial skills against his former college foe, Vince Young, and the Tennessee Titans. In order to impress, he'll have to show more than he did in week one. He'll have to prove that his experience and preparation translates to the job he wants.

Right now, I have to respect any 27-year-old guy who is fighting for the job he once held. I understand the feeling all too well. That is why, unlike in years past, I'm rooting for Matt Leinart to prove himself. He's been the starter and lost the job to a future Hall of Famer. You can't exactly blame that on him (I choose to forget his 12 passer rating from the 2008 preseason's third game).

Matt Leinart deserves the opportunity to be the starter for the Arizona Cardinals and I won't pass judgement based on seven pass attempts in the first preseason game. Passing judgement now would be like judging someone's cooking by just looking at the groceries they've purchased, without letting them fully cook the meal. Give Leinart the entire interview process before deciding his actual skills don't match up to what is on his resume. If we judged Kurt Warner and the 2009 Arizona Cardinals first team offense solely on the preseason, they wouldn't be back-to-back NFC West champions. They didn't score a single touchdown (or as it was known when I was in college, pulling an Espo).

While the rest of the media continues to do nothing but rip on Matt Leinart, remember: he's just like a lot of people. Just forget about the millions of dollars and the list of exes that reads more like a club VIP list than women most would ever date. A guy looking to earn a job. That, and the last two guys who got the job after Kurt Warner, Marc Bulger and Eli Manning, went on to do a pretty admirable job.