There is a saying that goes "trust is earned, it is not given". If that's true, and I believe it is, than the Arizona Cardinals and their fans shouldn't be worried about this season.
Think about the coaches who have called the Cards their team. Did you, as a fan, trust any of them? Did you believe in the mild mannered Joe Bugel? Was there ever a time when you truly trusted that Buddy Ryan was bringing a winner to town? Did you ever trust the moves that quiet Vince Tobin made or the rah-rah style of Dave McGinnis? Did you trust the charts touting Dennis Green's talent or buy into his quarterback carousel?
If you are anything like me, the answer to all those questions is no.
For years there hasn't been much to trust about the Arizona Cardinals as a franchise. From top to bottom the team has been filled with false promises and exaggerated skills. Things are different now though.
In a time where the "quarterback of the future" was just cut, the new starter is a Cleveland Browns reject --which is about as good as being a Cards reject from the early 2000s-- and the backup is now a undrafted rookie, it would be easy not to believe in this club. The difference between now and the franchise Cardinals fans knew for years is that they've earned trust.
Think about what Ken Whisenhunt has done in just three seasons. He's never had a losing season. He's won back-to-back NFC West titles and there's that little thing of taking the Cards to the Super Bowl. His decisions have, more often than not, worked out. Everything he's done has earned the trust of his players, the organization and the fans (or at least the fans should trust him).
Was the decision to go with Derek Anderson over Matt Leinart a tough one? Yes. Is it one that many can question? Yes. Is it enough to change people's opinions on Ken Whisenhunt and the franchise? It shouldn't be.
Just a few years ago Whisenhunt was face with a similar situation. Go with the young "up and coming" quarterback in Leinart or go with the old washed up starter Kurt Warner. People questioned Whisenhunt's decision than thinking he was hurting the team's chances to win (if you don't believe me, go back and read some of the articles written about the decision). That decision not only worked out, it changed the perception of the franchise.
No, Derek Anderson doesn't have the resume that Warner did, but he's also younger that Warner was when he won the starting job. Anderson has a great deal of potential. He has a big arm and the ability to make the big play.
People who are questioning Anderson's ability as a starter and referencing last season as proof why he can't lead the Cardinals to the playoffs fail to remember that he was throwing to guys named Cribbs & Massaquoi, not exactly Fitzgerald and Breaston or even Doucet and Williams.
Since his pro bowl season in 2007, Anderson hasn't had a true top notch receiver to throw to. In one year his top target, Braylon Edwards, went from a solid player to a guy who caught about as effective as a fishing line without a hook or bait.
Anderson has the potential to be more like Warner than Leinart ever did. Add that to Whisenhunt's track record and things shouldn't seem all that bad.
The moves Whisenhunt has made over the years in Arizona has earned him trust and because of that fans should give this team the benefit of the doubt. When the season start Sunday, it's Anderson's turn to earn the trust of the fans and for the team to officially remove any doubt.