The Leinart effect

Posted by Darren Urban on August 18, 2010 – 12:53 pm

It’s been a topic for a long time, but now that Matt Leinart is back at starting quarterback of the Cardinals, the idea that he is polarizing to the fan base — for the most part, regardless of what happens, half are for him and half are against — has blossomed again. Coach Ken Whisenhunt was asked about it today.

“I think you expect that,” Whisenhunt said. “Ultimately he will be judged on how he plays. The fan base, if Matt does what he is capable of doing, will be happy. It’ll come down to how he performs. Matt is aware of that and is a lot more comfortable with that now than maybe he was four years ago, because of the way he has grown.

“I understand. Anytime you lose a player like Kurt Warner who has done what he has done the last two-and-a-half years and meant what he meant to this team and this organization, you’re naturally going to have those feelings toward anyone who steps in there, because he’s not Kurt. Matt has to be the quarterback he can be and that will take care of itself.

Whisenhunt said the fans have been “fantastic” about supporting the team, and as long as the Cardinals continue on the right path, “I am comfortable with that (support) coming back around.”

Whisenhunt said it’s the nature of the quarterback position that leads to polarizing fans, pointing out how it has happened with Brett Favre, for example.

Leinart has also gotten a little more passionate, Whisenhunt said, although it can’t be forced. Whiz said he intentionally waved off the 42-yard TD completion from Leinart to Stephen Williams during Tuesday’s practice just to see how Leinart would handle adversity. “I liked what I saw,” Whisenhunt said.

— The Cardinals will go through some competitive drives during tonight’s practice, Whisenhunt said. He wants to see fewer mistakes and guys on both sides of the ball “making plays.”

— Today, as has been the worst-kept secret ever, was movie day. Players had the choice to see The Expendables, Scott Pilgrim versus the The World, Inception and The Other Guys. Whisenhunt watched The Expendables. He said it was good, noting “you know what you are getting into when you go into that type of movie and it lived up to expectations.”

“I think if you ask the team, this is our fourth training camp, you would get 100 percent affirmation we need to do this. I think the first year they didn’t quite know what to think. Now, from the first day of camp, they start talking about when is movie day.”

— Live chat in 30 minutes right here.

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50 Responses to “The Leinart effect”

  1. By Tyrelle on Aug 18, 2010 | Reply

    Go Matt!!!!

  2. By Bill on Aug 18, 2010 | Reply

    I wish people would give Matt a chance to show what he can or can’t do before the string him up and stone him. I think we will have a bumpy start but he will figure it out.

  3. By Chad D on Aug 18, 2010 | Reply

    I don’t know quite how else to say this, but Matt has not been fair shake yet.

    1st year: New system, HUGE expectations, Dennis Green, really bad O-line. *Dude threw the ball for 2,500 yards in just 12 games and set a rookie record of 400+ against the Vikings.
    2nd year: New coach, bad o-line, new system, Kurt looming, broken collar bone. 3rd year: Kurt Warner.
    4th year: Kurt Warner post Super Bowl appearance.
    5th year: Unrealistic fan expectations, has the role of being the guy that follows “The Guy”.

    My point is that we need to back off and let the man show us what he has learned over the past 5 years. Let’s see if our mighty Kurt was a good coach/mentor. Let’s see if Matt might rally behind a town that gives him a shot. People that are calling for Anderson apparently haven’t been watching very closely. He is a fine backup, but not our trip to the NFC West title. If you are calling for Hall or Skelton, well you have no concept of football and might have some sort of medical issues impeding your good judgement.

    Relax. Matt will do what he can. Will he lead us to victory? No promises. Is he our best option? Without a doubt.

  4. By comet007 on Aug 18, 2010 | Reply

    From a UCLA employee and a USC hater 🙂 and a long time TRUE cardinal fan GO MATT !!!!!!!!!!!!! being a true fan is being a supporter of the TEAM good or bad

  5. By Fight ON! on Aug 18, 2010 | Reply

    I personally have never seen anything like this polarization for any of our players in the NFL as long as I’ve been a Trojan.

    Oh well, I guess it’s all those years of AZ losing and having nothing, that you cling to any bright era, no matter how brief. What will happen is, no player who has experienced so much hate will want to stay here long term. Congratulations on becoming the new philly fans of the west. If you can’t support your team and all it’s players, you aren’t real fans, you’re “fanboys”.

  6. By Eric S on Aug 18, 2010 | Reply

    Enough already!!! Give the kid a chance. He cant perform worrying about what people will say or feel. There’s no QB out there today that can walk in a fill the shoes that have to be filled. NO ONE!.. So lets rally around our QB and show him the love. There will be a learning curve, no doubt but I feel he will come out the other side just fine. Go Matt!! So all those nay sayers why we drafted you no 1 !!!

  7. By Deveau on Aug 18, 2010 | Reply


    As a professional armchair coach, I believe that Matt Leinart, when applied to the correct system, can be successful. Using my years of armchair coaching experience, I can also say without worry that the coaching staff in place has the smarts to know this as well, and apply a system to compliment Matt’s strengths.

    That being said, any fool knows that regardless of how great a foundation you lay, it requires constant maintenance to look pretty at the end of the day, and that effort needs to come from the tenant in the position.

    And this is for #7. Every man knows failure at some point in their life, it is inevitable as human nature. The other part of human nature is to point out the failures of others. You can spend your time worrying about people who sit in chairs and run their mouths, or you can look in the mirror and worry about what that guy is thinking.

    Kind regards,


  8. By Dani on Aug 18, 2010 | Reply

    Matt will hang himself in no time! Put Skelton in!

  9. By Deveau on Aug 18, 2010 | Reply


    On a side note, do the Cardinals offer fans a meet/greet the coaches day, or do we have to stalk him on our own?

    Kind regards,


  10. By Darren Urban on Aug 18, 2010 | Reply

    Deveau —

    No, there is nothing like that.

  11. By ChrisH479 on Aug 18, 2010 | Reply

    I have no doubt in my mind that Matt can do it. He’ll never be a Kurt, but he’ll get the job done.

  12. By Nick Pepe on Aug 18, 2010 | Reply

    It sounds as though the leash is short and Whiz will play whoever he thinks will guide the team to the playoffs. And I think that is exactly how it should be. Matt is a professional and has been for some time. He gets paid to handle adversity and I think he knows exactly the situation he is in. Whether he can step up to the challenge, well that answer is for another day.

  13. By Ditship on Aug 18, 2010 | Reply

    I think most fans want to win and truly could care less who is the QB as long as we win. I’ll root for the starter as long as he’s not a felon or a scum bag. Last time I looked Matt was neither of those things and I hope the best for him because that’s honestly best for the team.

  14. By footballdad79 on Aug 18, 2010 | Reply

    A movie!?…..A movie!?…..really? after THAT performance? When i joined the Mil. we got our @$$ kicked for months, we bonded in the trenches there were NO movie days. GO TO THE MOVIES WHEN YOU GET HOME AND PRODUCE ON THE FIELD!

  15. By Darren Urban on Aug 18, 2010 | Reply

    FootballDad —

    OK, take a step back. This isn’t the military. And Whiz takes them to the movies every year.

  16. By Randy on Aug 18, 2010 | Reply

    I’m on the Matt-wagon and I would really love to see him be our QB for years to come, but damn I couldn’t help but to love how Skelton did in the first preseason game. I was there and just watching in awe with how easily he moved the ball. Sure it was against Houston’s 3rd/4th stringers but that doesn’t change the fact that Skleton looked comfortable in the pocket and he delivered.

    With that said, I still would like to see us move up to get Jake Locker next year in the draft. 🙂

  17. By Pheenic Cromartie on Aug 18, 2010 | Reply

    Darren, what movie did they end up seeing?

  18. By Darren Urban on Aug 18, 2010 | Reply

    Pheenic —

    They got to choose. It’s all in the blog above.

  19. By BigRedFan on Aug 18, 2010 | Reply

    “Ride with me or die with me”. Who can forget it? My two cents is that unless the O-line tightens up we may see all the QB’s out there at some point. . .

    Bottom line: our best offensive weapon is Ben Graham.

    I never considered a punter a weapon, but this guy is.

  20. By Scott H on Aug 18, 2010 | Reply

    Geez, I can’t even think of anything to say about Matt that I haven’t said ten times already. So, I’ll just say ditto for me on everything that Eric S said in his post. I can’t stand all the speculating – one way or the other – anymore! I guess we’ll all know at some point during the season but right now, all ANYONE knows is that we just don’t know.

    PS – And to the football Gods, I pray for this above all else – please do not deal Leinart a season-ending injury after 5 games. Just don’t do it. Let him stay healthy so he can play long enough for us to know where we stand. I swear, I CANNOT stand another year of waiting to see if Leinart is the guy!!! That is the worst possible thing that could happen for any of us. Might we all agree on that???

  21. By footballdad79 on Aug 18, 2010 | Reply

    your right darren its not the military, but you ask the players and they’ll tell you they are “battleing” and at “war” and copare themselves to solders. the topic was just on PTI a while ago. what im getting at is obviously they have a lot to accomplish and they get paid a lot of $$ to do this……….and go to the movies.

  22. By CHIRPCHIRP44 on Aug 18, 2010 | Reply

    Great piece, Darren. I’m a Leinart guy but more importantly I am a Cardinals guy and whoever is wearing that Cardinal red I am going to be behind 100%.

  23. By AndyStandsUp on Aug 18, 2010 | Reply

    All due respect footballdad79, but as proven before, comparing war and play not even close.
    My heart’s out to those servicing and their families. God speed you back home,and we hope you get to cheer the Cards soon.

  24. By Logan Cooper on Aug 18, 2010 | Reply

    I am so bummed i missed the chat.
    I had jury duty.

    This is a down the road question for sure and purely hypothetical.
    Could you see the cardinals not resigning hightower, when the time comes, and having beanie and LSH being the one two punch.
    To me those two are the perfect compliments to each other.
    Whiz always brings up the bus and Willie Parker and beanie and LSH are fit that mold better.

    I expect big things from LSH for the fact that he is being kept hush hush this year. Especially for the fact he didn’t even get in that last game.
    To me, I take it as the coaches want nothing on tape for other teams to evaluate. Thoughts?

  25. By Darren Urban on Aug 18, 2010 | Reply

    Logan —

    I think Hyphen will play a bigger role, but I am not sure he’d ever be able to slide into the role Hightower has. Not at that size. I could be wrong.

  26. By cody on Aug 18, 2010 | Reply

    Darren, not as a writer, but as a fan, what is your opinion on Leinart? do you think he will be our qb for the next 10 years, will he just be servicable until Skeltons ready, or do you think that Andersons going to be the starter in a matter of time?

  27. By Darren Urban on Aug 18, 2010 | Reply

    Cody —

    No offense, but I don’t do “as a fan.” That’s in contrast to what my job entails. Obviously, there are guys I like personally, and I am human — we all have favorites. But I try to look at it objectively, or at least through eyes that reflect how the coaches/personnel people might. This is a year to year thing. This year, I think Leinart is the guy. If he proves himself, he’ll last longer.

  28. By ben on Aug 18, 2010 | Reply

    hey darren
    i just dont see what everyone else is seeing in #7. as a fan of this franchise we were used to cheering for bad players with potential they never lived up to, but now with a new regime, and new attitude, why cant they get this #7 thing rite. all the well wishers in the world arent gonna help him become a winner in the pros. heres hoping i am as full of the dookie as these people think

  29. By Former Steeler Fan on Aug 18, 2010 | Reply

    I suspect that many Steeler fans would trade Tomlin for Whiz even up. But, Dan Rooney was determined to walk the walk with the Rooney Rule and hire a minority.

    I know. I know. Whiz left for the Cards before Rooney interviewed and hired Tomlin, but does anyone really believe that he would have chosen Whiz over Tomlin? If so, get real.

    Whiz apparently has great rapport with the owners, GM, coaching staff and players. He has taken the Cards to new levels.

  30. By Bob C on Aug 18, 2010 | Reply

    The same people slamming Matt are very same people who where scream for him after Kurt’s 5 fumble game.

  31. By M&Ms on Aug 18, 2010 | Reply

    I notice from most comments that people are talking about how Leinart plays and how he moves the ball, and even some ignorant comments about us as fans because we aren’t completely behind Leinart (i.e. Fight ON!), but let’s just talk for a minute about Leinart as a person. The guy seems like he has a crappy attitude. I’m all for anybody sporting the jersey (though I agree with Ditship on the ins and outs), but doesn’t anyone realize that half the reason why some Cards fans don’t stand behind Leinart is because of his demeanor/personality? While Anderson was out there throwing balls Matt was on the sidelines scoffing and making faces. It didn’t really seem like he was interested in being “mentored” by Kurt, so let’s also not lay his possible failures on the shoulders of his predecessor. This is purely opinion, but….the guy seems like a jerk sometimes. Being a quarterback is more about being a leader. Having the right social skills and leadership to be the statuesque type man we need. Just saying.

  32. By TucsonTim on Aug 18, 2010 | Reply

    and all it took to get McNabb was a 2nd round draft choice. Things that make you go hummmmmmmmmm

  33. By Darren Urban on Aug 18, 2010 | Reply

    Tucson —

    …. and a giant new contract for an aging quarterback.

  34. By Bryan on Aug 18, 2010 | Reply

    I saw on nfl live or somewhere that Sage Rosenfels could be on the trading block.
    Cards show any intrest?I’d rather have him than Anderson……….


    …and maybe Leinart.haha

  35. By Darren Urban on Aug 18, 2010 | Reply

    Bryan —

    Don’t see it happening.

  36. By tom on Aug 18, 2010 | Reply

    Hello Darren, you do a great job covering the team. Im just wondering what are the relationship with players like with Leinart compared to Warner? Not only on the offensive side ,also from the defensive players?

  37. By Darren Urban on Aug 18, 2010 | Reply

    Tom —

    I think it’s normal. He’s closer with some guys than others. I think some are waiting to see the same things everyone else is.

  38. By Brad ONeill on Aug 18, 2010 | Reply

    logan i hope you at least voted guilty if the guy is going to make you miss the chat he deserves whatever he got. i mean why would the police go to all the trouble of arresting a guy if he wasn’t guilty.

    Matt may not be kurt warner but maybe that will mean we wont have any 5 turn over games. Maybe it will mean our run game will get the time it deserves. maybe Matt will emerge like steve young after montana. The only thing that is sure is that the Warner era is now over and if we are going to win its going to take a lot more than just Matt making perfect passes. our linemen need to block, our runners need to run and our receivers need to make the most of every opportunity.

    Our defense needs to stop making 3rd and 9 a 60/40 proposition for the opposition. if they can keep the game close we can win. last year we were in a weak division. this year that means we have 2 opponents that come in knowing they have a shot at the playoffs and one of them beat us twice last year.

    For this season to be a success we need something out of Matt but what we really need is too not make matt the excuse for 52 other people to fail.

  39. By Cardsftw on Aug 18, 2010 | Reply

    I believe in Matt!!!!! Cut Anderson! he’s a bum!!!

  40. By Brian on Aug 18, 2010 | Reply

    It’s funny the way “fanboys” continually discredit Leinart. Now I am not triing to insinuate anything,or compare in any way, but I remember when Steve Young was in San Fransisco as the new starter for Joe Montana, and all their “fanboys” kept talking the same old !@#$ I keep reading in these posts. Football is a TEAM sport the last time I checked. It is up to the team to understand and deal with Situational Awareness. It is up to the coaching staff to understand and develope Situational Management of the game. Give a !@#$% quarterback a great offensive line, and you will win. Put a great quarterback behind a !@#$% offensive line, and you will lose. Balance between a good Quarterback, and a good O-Line, and all of a sudden you have greatness. If the Cardinal O-Line can be consistantly good and protect a Good Matt Leinart, Cardinals should be FEARED.

    On another note, I am excited to see our defense play this year. Great job by the Cardinal organization in recruiting this off season.

    Darren, Great job writing.

  41. By KB on Aug 18, 2010 | Reply


    can you ban people from posting dani bashes everybody and everything for being a fan its horrible. GO MATT you will do just fine.

  42. By Mikey V on Aug 19, 2010 | Reply

    Um I’m sure everyones opinions are very well thought out and researched and blah blah blah. The fact of the matter is it’s “Put up or Shut up” time for Matt. The thing is Cards Fans dont wanna go back to being the bottom feeders of the league. The best QB will play, Period.

  43. By TucsonTim on Aug 19, 2010 | Reply

    Darren –

    maybe you get what you pay for…or don’t

  44. By Scott H on Aug 19, 2010 | Reply

    Bryan –

    I had similar thoughts about Rosenfels! Then again, I tend to rather impulsive about these things and that’s probably why I’m not working for an NFL franchise. If I were the Vikings, Tavaris Jackson is the guy I would be putting up on the trading block – not Rosenfels. When ya really think about, Rosenfels hasn’t really done any more than Anderson has in this league up to this point. But my gut says I would rather have Rosenfels, absolutely. Do I think it’s gonna happen? Probably not, unless there is an injury here. I just have a feeling that Rosenfels is gonna play very well for someone this year, whether it’s the Vikings or someone else.

  45. By CardsFan on Aug 19, 2010 | Reply

    What? No “Eat, Pray, Love”? 😉

    “I liked what I saw,” isn’t very clear. Was he intentionally being vague? I’m assuming that he wanted Leinart to be angry about the wave-off to demonstrate his passion and that’s what he got. Darren, any info on what exactly Matt’s reaction was? Did you happen to see it?

  46. By Darren Urban on Aug 19, 2010 | Reply

    CardsFan —

    He didn’t throw a tantrum or anything. From what I could tell, he got back in the huddle knowing he still had to convert some points in the two-minute drill. Matt talks today and I’ll ask.

  47. By KB on Aug 19, 2010 | Reply

    Iwill name two teams just like our situan green bay aaron rodgers wached for 3 years stepped in and is now maybe the best qb in the league philli now with kolb why doesnt everyboby have a hatred to them is it a usc thing or do we just have the most ignorent fan bsae inthe NFL. why wont our ignorant band wagon fans give matt a chance. I bett matt has better year then kolb we just need to let him play and not booo him on every incompletion.

  48. By Scott H on Aug 19, 2010 | Reply

    Mikey V –

    I hope you are right, I hope the best QB will play. Period. Trouble is, there doesn’t seem to be a clear indication of who that is right now. I really do hope someone truly separates from the pack over the next three games. And whoever that may be, so be it.

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