My name is Greg Esposito, and I'm a Cardinal-holic.
For the past two years of my life I've been paid to give my opinion on Phoenix sports and the Arizona Cardinals for a local media company. More importantly though, for the 20+ years of my life prior to that I was just, and am still am, a huge fan of the Red Birds. Whether it was Bugel's Boys, Buddy Ball, the 1998 playoff run, Dave McGinnis' rah rah nature, Dennis Green's pie charts or Ken Whisenhunt's birdgang, I've lived and died with my hometown team. That's why when I was asked to join the SB Nation family and contribute to their Cardinals community, it was a no brainer.
Like many of you, the years following this team have provided me with many things, most notably heartburn, an appreciation for why a four win season is better than a three win one, a hatred for Steve Bono 76 yard naked bootlegs, the ability to pronounce the name Aeneas and a healthy dose of perspective (which is easy when one of your four winning seasons in 22 years was fictional and is found in a Hollywood chick flick).
That perspective comes in handy during a preseason like this. It makes it very clear that no matter who starts at quarterback for the Cardinals, Matt Leinart or Derek Anderson, it can't be as bad as some of the quarterbacks that have come through this town.The potential problems presented by Leinart's "weak arm" and Anderson's inaccurate one are nothing compared to the issues the likes of Stoney Case, Josh McCown, Stan Gelbaugh, John Navarre, Cliff Stoudt and yes Tom Tupa caused the team.
With that said, one of these two flawed quarterbacks --when judge by the Kurt Warner standard-- will wind up as the Cardinals starter on Sunday Sep. 12. The question has been who and the answer is becoming clearer with every passing comment.
While Anderson may be known as the bigger risk taker on the field, Leinart is proving to be the bigger risk taker off of it.
By opening his mouth Monday, Leinart erased years worth or reassurance that he had matured and was no longer "Hollywood Matt". It's not fair that that is the case but it's the reality. If he had just followed Crash Davis' rules for interviews he would have been fine.
Crash Davis: You're gonna have to learn your clichés. You're gonna have to study them, you're gonna have to know them. They're your friends. Write this down: "We gotta play it one day at a time."
Matt Leinart : Got to play... it's pretty boring.
Crash Davis: 'Course it's boring, that's the point. Write it down
All Leinart had to do was be confident, express that he views the Cards as his team, point to his preseason statistics and say in the end it comes down to Ken Whisenhunt and that he trusted him to make the right decision. If he had done that, people would have applauded his desire and confidence and his comments would have been a relative none story. All the eyes and pressure would have been on Whisenhunt.
Instead he decided to question his coach, claim it's personal and then admit he hadn't directly spoken with Whisenhunt about the situation.
What was Derek Anderson doing during all of this? The right thing.
In an interview with Bickley and MJ on XTRA Sports 910 AM Anderson was asked about Leinart's comments and he followed the Crash Davis course to a tee.
"I have nothing really to say about that. I’m going to come out [each day] and get better and I’m focused on that and what I can do to help this team. If it’s the backup quarterback, it’s the backup quarterback. If it’s playing, it’s playing. That’s kind of the mindset I’ve kind of taken when I got here from the beginning, just focus on myself getting better and see what happens."
When all things are equal, which I believe they truly are at this point, I'll take the guy who says the right thing every time. That's why I've gone from feeling sorry for Leinart and rooting for him to supporting Anderson.
I hope you also support the new guy around here. I may not always say the right thing but, like Anderson, I'm willing to do whatever is needed for the team and to make this the best Cardinals site on the web.
Because, like I said, I'm Greg Esposito and I'm a Cardinal-holic.