Derek Anderson is a name that causes more interesting reactions from Cardinals fans than even mentioning Santonio Holmes, James Harrison or even Aaron Francisco. For some, there is vitriolic hate. For others it is surrender. For yet others it is humor. After all, who can forget being told how serious he takes stuff or how nothing is funny after being embarrassed by the San Francisco 49ers on Monday Night Football?
It took almost a year, but we finally have the actual context of the Monday Night Football postgame tirade that Derek Anderson gave us as a gift of humor to make up for the terrible 2010 season we had to endure as fans. Now he is a member of the Carolina Panthers and is returning to University of Phoenix Stadium as a backup quarterback to face the Arizona Cardinals. In an interview with the Charlotte Observer, he opened up a little and revealed quite about what it was like here as the unsuccessful successor to Kurt Warner.
So why was he grinning on the sideline?
It was just a moment of relief provided by Deuce Lutui after DA had an exchange with a fan (he has had a couple of those). The fan had been heckling him for his performance.
"Deuce just said, 'Hey, man, I've got your back no matter what happens.' And I just kind of grinned at it," he said.
At least now he puts his heart and soul into football.
As for his struggles in 2010, he attributed a lot of it to trying to do too much while he was still learning and struggling with the offense. These quotes are telling:
"Really, I didn't get any reps until the week before the opener. I got some," Anderson said. "But they traded Matt. Then I was in and tried to make up for a lot of lost time. It just didn't work out." (Note: players have terrible memories for things in personnel.)
"Obviously, being the guy coming in to play after Kurt and trying to do the things that he did and try to run kind of his offense, things that he kind of put in there, was difficult for me."
"It definitely wasn't something that I'd done. I struggled all season understanding a lot of things. We were bad on offense. We were bad on defense. I think special teams was one of the things we were actually decent (at) throughout the whole season. That's the way it goes."
Remember when Steve Breaston got some attention for his lockout poem? He was on ESPN and said how it was a tough situation for Anderson because of being the first year in the system. He thought if he came back that DA would be much better. I tend to agree.
However, there was really no good way to have him stay because of the way he was perceived by the fans.
I would love to see him bounce back and play this year...and play well (after Week 1 is over and far away from the Cardinals). Chances are he will get to play at some point this year.