Everyone, including Ken Whisenhunt, has been waiting for Matt Leinar to show some fire. Today, he finally did; unfortunately, it looks like he's using it to burn bridges.
After practice today, Leinart shared his thoughts on his quarterback battle with Derek Anderson and subsequent demotion with AzCardinals.com's Darren Urban:
“I really want an explanation” for the situation, but acknowledged he has yet to approach Whiz to discuss the subject.Leinart also said he has “outplayed the competition” in camp.
He even went as far as to claim that he's been demoted because "this probably goes beyond football, beyond the field".
Not exactly the response you'd expect from a guy who supposedly had matured in his time as Kurt Warner's apprentice.
It is definitely a double-edged sword for Leinart (quite larger than the one he thinks Whisenhunt planted in his back). Say nothing and he isn't passionate enough about his job and his teammates. Say something and he is criticized for whining.
The problem with these quotes isn't the fact that he's decided to speak up and defend his job. It's the fact that he's decided to take his issues to the media before confronting his head coach.
Like any relationship, communication is the key. What Leinart did is the equivalent of a husband going to talk to his couples therapist before talking to his wife. It may make him feel better, but in the end he's just caused more issues for the relationship.
If Leinart has any hope of being the Cardinals' starter, he better take a different tact, because this one isn't getting him any closer to Whisenhunt.
"We are always trying to pick the best players to try and win, that’s what this process is about," Whisenhunt told Darren Urban about the quarterback situation. "This is not (about) whether you like somebody or don’t like somebody."
Everyone wanted to see fire from Leinart, but this isn't what anyone had in mind. It seems he's changed his strategy from one of scorching opponents defense on the field to one of a "scorched earth" nature off it.
Can the fences still be mended? Sure, but that depends on whether Leinart wants them to be or not.