I've heard no rumors -- just musing here -- but let's say Derek Anderson never finds any consistency. Let's say he falls flat on his face like he did for most of last season and the Cardinals meet the expectations of a lot of critics and finish with a losing record. Would the team consider dismissing Ken Whisenhunt because of his decision to jettison Leinart and make Anderson the starter?
Obviously, Whiz has built up an immense amount of goodwill in the state. Two straight NFC West titles, four playoff victories, and a Super Bowl appearance will do that for a coach. He's almost single-handedly turned around the perception of the team and made Arizona into a football town in his three years plus as head coach.
There are, of course, murmurs afloat in the Internet tides that if the Derek Anderson Experiment ends up an utter failure, the team may be facing a coaching controversy in addition to the QB controversy.
I'm inclined to call that sort of talk ridiculous, for a couple of reasons.
1. Everyone knew this year was going to be transitory, given Warner's somewhat abrupt retirement. Even though Leinart might have been a slightly better option than Anderson, he was still a huge question mark and many expected mediocrity regardless. I personally view Anderson and Leinart as basically an apple and orange in the same underwhelming fruit basket. No matter what, the Cardinals were going to be lucky to make the playoffs. Maybe they should have gone after Donovan McNabb if they thought they were going to struggle at the position. But, that's as much on the front office as the coaching.
2. It's rare that a head coach has as much overall positive impact on their team has Ken Whisenhunt has had on the Arizona Cardinals. This team bungled around for decades in the desert before finding and maintaining some level of success and respectability. Even geniuses make mistakes from time to time, and this may go down as one of his biggest. But, he and Kurt Warner are practically messiahs in Phoenix, and though his infallibility will be tainted, he'll weather this storm.