During last night's Arizona Cardinals' preseason game versus the Tennessee Titans, there were plenty of questions asked by fans and the media alike. Questions like, "Why didn't Matt Leinart take more snaps?", "Was there a reason Beanie Wells only carried the ball six times and not at all in the first quarter?" and "Why only play Max Hall and not John Skelton?".
The answer to all those questions is as simple as it is crazy. It's because Ken Whisenhunt coaches the Cardinals like the Joker.
Yeah, that Joker, the one from Batman. No, not the Jack Nicholson version but rather the cinematically brilliant portrayal done by the late Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight.
Ken Whisenhunt isn't crazy, nor does he wear "makeup" on the sidelines, but his strategy mirrors one of the key theories of the Joker in the film.
You know... You know what I've noticed? Nobody panics when things go "according to plan." Introduce a little anarchy. Upset the established order, and everything becomes chaos. I'm an agent of chaos. Oh, and you know the thing about chaos? It's fair! ~ The Joker, The Dark Knight
Whisenhunt does just that with the Cardinals.
By not playing Leinart much, by forcing Beanie Wells to fight for his carries, by only letting one of the young quarterbacks play and even by not naming a starting cornerback between Greg Toler and Trumaine McBride, he's upsetting the established order and creating chaos on the roster in the preseason.
That chaos causes players to fight for their position and livelihood, just like it caused people in the movie to do.
Whisenhunt doesn't want these players to be comfortable in their positions and wants them to feel a sense of urgency. It's why Beanie Wells is battling Tim Hightower for the starting running back position and why he's expressing his desire for carries.
It's why even though Greg Toler has shown flashes of brilliance in practice that Trumaine McBride is still ahead of him on the depth chart.
It's why John Skelton and Max Hall didn't play in the same game and it's why Matt Leinart has been sitting on the sideline watching while Derek Anderson is given an extended opportunity to prove himself.
It's all about introducing a little anarchy to the process. In the end the best, hungriest player will wind up with the job and that is fair.
So while you're watching Ken Whisenhunt's team over the next few weeks just ask yourself "Why so serious?", it's just preseason.
The coach is just an agent of chaos it's all going according to plan, or lack there of.