I should be very afraid. The mere headline I am sure has people seeking an intervention for me. The torches are lit. But hear me out. Derek Anderson became the symbol of the Cardinals' 2010 season. His shortcomings were made very clear. But with the uncertainty of the season for 2011 and a quarterback situation that really has no solution in sight, we should all give this a little thought.
So, again, please bear with me as I state my case for keeping Anderson on the team. Not as a starter. Definitely not as a starter. Just as a backup.
I would like to first defend Anderson for the situation. The situation was not his fault. When Ken Whisenhunt cut Matt Leinart, he left the team with DA and two project quarterbacks. Anderson was really the only hope for the Cardinals because if he was not up to snuff (as he was not), disaster was to ensue. John Skelton was never supposed to see the field this past season and Max Hall was a great big Whisenhunt blunder. He should have been on a practice squad. He stayed because the team was afraid he would end up on someone else's team.
Now, as for Anderson, he was exactly what he had always been. Look at his season stats compared to his career.
Honestly, it pretty much mirrors his overall career. We all thought that the offense would become more of a ball control offense, relying on the running game. Instead, it seemed that the team was trying to do offensively what they did with Kurt Warner. It was a terrible, drunk karaoke version of the 2008-9 Cardinals offense.
Even with how badly the 2010 season went, here is why I would not be upset if he were to return to the team as a number two.
1- He knows the offense
He may not have been our favorite quarterback, but in this offseason of uncertainty, knowing the playbook will be a valuable asset. Perhaps this is why Anderson was not cut as was rumored to supposed to have happened. If the lockout continues for months, a free agent quarterback or a rookie would not have time to learn the offense well. Anderson may not have run the offense effectively, but he does know the plays.
2- He did make plays
All we tend to remember are the air-mailed passes and throws to the feet of receiver who are wide open. It was maddening. We also remember the Monday Night Meltdown that rivals Dennis Green for strangest postgame press conference ever.
What we may not remember was Anderson's play in the fourth quarter of the season opener against the Rams. He led the team to victory. Against Minnesota, he was the reason for the 14 point lead that the team squandered in the fourth quarter. He started games very effectively.
If the Cardinals draft a QB, it makes it really tough for him to stay. However, if the team does not draft a quarterback, why not bring him back to battle it out with Skelton in camp for number two? The guy the team brings in via trade or free agency would be the starter.
Do I think he will be back? I would be surprised, but that is mostly because of public perception. He is the symbol of 2010 and all that went wrong, and the fans would likely revolt at the thought of another deep pass that is overthrown by ten yards.
Who do you think would be better in a backup role, typically the guy that has to come in cold and move an offense without much preparation? Anderson is much better suited to that role than Skelton. Skelton is a guy that would need to start and have the game plan built around him. I would not want to trust him to come in off the bench and make good contributions. Anderson has the experience and showed he was actually better in focused, shorter periods of time, much like a relief pitcher.
So, go ahead and kill me on the idea, but would it really be that bad if he were on the roster next season? I think he would be a better option at number two than even Skelton, based on the role of a backup.
What say you, the pitchfork and torch yielding people?