Both the Arizona Cardinals and ASU Sun Devil football teams had important quarterback decisions to make over the summer. Both Ken Whisenhunt and Dennis Erickson made decisions late. But so far, only Erickson's call to make Steven Threet ASU's starting signal caller has shown to be clearly the right choice.
In two games in the regular season, Derek Anderson has not been impressive. He led the Cardinals late to a victory in St. Louis, but other than that drive he has been erratic. The offense has not moved the ball well, he has not been in a rhythm with his wide receivers, and no one is ever quite sure the type of throw to expect from him. Is it the amazing, perfectly thrown ball in a tight spot or is it the "what was he trying to do" pass that is either too hard, too far, or too behind his receiver?
On the other hand, there is the ASU situation. I have not heard a single soul bemoan the choice to start Threet over sophomore Brock Osweiler. Both quarterbacks played fairly evenly in the spring and in the summer, but Threet made strides late.
Even the Sun Devils' first game against Portland State was used to gauge the quarterback situation. Erickson said that both would play. After the game, there was only the mention that Osweiler would play "depending on the situation."
Admittedly, there wasn't much in the way of competition the first two weeks, as the Devils played Portland State and Northern Arizona, but it was obvious that Threet was the right guy. His play in Madison against Wisconsin sealed the deal. I doubt there will be a single Sun Devil fan pining for Osweiler. Threet is the guy.
His play has been solid. In three games, he has completed 66% of his passes and is second in the PAC-10 in passing yardage behind Nick Foles, the highly touted QB of the team representing an institution located south of Tempe that cannot be named due to the evil nature of its existence. His throws have been great. He makes quick, accurate reads and delivers the ball well. He has made short, medium and long throws. I can recall in three games only a few throws that could be considered bad. The Arizona State offense has been effective in moving the ball down the field (aside from the first drive of every game)
Aside from the throws themselves, his poise and leadership is unquestionable. During the ASU/Wisconsin game, the Big-Ten, I mean, ABC broadcast crew could not say enough good things about Threet and his play (then again, he did originally come from Michigan, a Big Ten school).
Anderson has not shown that yet. The Arizona offense has been sluggish. I'm not saying it is his fault. The offensive line has been a turnstile so far and Anderson certainly is not the player allowing the opponents' to score points and move the ball down the field. But there has not been the feeling yet that when he is on the field that the team has a chance. The offense has scored only three touchdowns and on two of them he handed the ball to a running back.
I am not saying that starting Anderson was the wrong idea. Obviously there was something about Leinart that the coaching staff was unsatisfied with. I personally believed the entire time that Leinart would do just fine. Whisenhunt apparently believes that Anderson is the better fit or something.
Because Matt Leinart is no longer with the team, no one will ever really know if the decision was the right one. That is a pretty shrewd move by the coach if you ask me. One can speculate, but no one can definitively say that Leinart would have been the better choice.
Anderson may yet end up having a great season and we will all think about how silly we were in worrying so much. But can anyone say that so far? No way. With ASU, we can. Threet is not leaving any room for doubt.