Matt Leinart spoke his mind on Monday, telling the media he has outplayed his competition. Later that afternoon, he met to speak his mind again with coach Ken Whisenhunt, who called it a “a good talk.”
Whisenhunt then announced Derek Anderson will remain the starter in Thursday’s preseason finale. Leinart will follow.
We’ve discussed that Leinart’s tenure with the Cardinals may be close to the end, and the quarterback suggested his demotion was for a reason that “probably goes beyond football.” We’ll file that under “intangibles” — and it’s becoming clearer that Leinart might have been exactly right. While Whisenhunt has said his decision was nothing personal with Leinart, that doesn’t mean the coach isn’t faced with a locker room that doesn’t believe in one of the quarterback options.
If Leinart has lost the Cardinals’ locker room, Whisenhunt has little choice but to go with Anderson.
“This decision with Matt Leinart is strictly a business decision — not personal — because Matt Leinart doesn’t have the locker room in his command,” Michael Lombardi told “NFL Total Access.” “He doesn’t have the support of some of the great players in that offense that he needs to step forward. So this isn’t a one-game evaluation, (it’s about) practice and how he fits in the locker room. … Right now, Leinart doesn’t have the confidence of his teammates, and that affects this decision.”
If you’re reading between the lines here, which doesn’t take much, the inference is that many believe Larry Fitzgerald and other key members in the Cardinals’ locker room aren’t in favor of Leinart.
With the consensus being that Leinart as a backup in Arizona would be a difficult situation, his tenure could be up sooner rather than later.