Starting a rookie QB in Arizona

Posted by Darren Urban on October 7, 2010 – 9:35 am

The Cardinals have been in Arizona since 1988. Max Hall becomes just the fourth rookie quarterback to get a start for the team in that span. The trio before him included Jake Plummer, John Navarre and Matt Leinart.

Year Name Att Comp Yds TD Int Sacks Oppt Result
2006 Matt Leinart 35 22 253 2 1 4 K.C. Loss
2004 John Navarre 40 18 168 1 4 1 @Det Loss
1997 Jake Plummer 40 21 195 2 4 6 Tenn Loss


As you can see, a rookie starter isn’t a guarantee of success (and, in all honesty, a rookie doesn’t get a start in the first place unless the team is struggling, so the rest of the team has to be taken into account). It can be argued that, of the four rookie QB situations for the Cards, Hall walks into the best team situation (although Leinart had a decent supporting cast, he had less of a running game and less of a coaching staff).

Expectations, however, should always be tempered in this situation.

“I’m going to make mistakes,” Hall said, “but I am going to give it everything I have.”

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66 Responses to “Starting a rookie QB in Arizona”

  1. By Tyrelle on Oct 7, 2010 | Reply

    Yes you are going to make mistakes but don’t try to make any. Give it your all but make sure your all isnt a 50% passer rating.

  2. By neil on Oct 7, 2010 | Reply

    I just listened to the podcast and I have a question. With DA’s confidence already being in the gutter now being benches made it worse, how do you expect it to be ok to out him back on the field if Max hall doesn’t work out? His confidence is going to be 5 times worse then before and he wont produce much?

  3. By Darren Urban on Oct 7, 2010 | Reply

    Neil —

    RE: DA

    I disagree about the confidence. I am guessing he already was feeling low — Whisenhunt said he was pressing. Plus, Anderson has been through the in-and-out thing before.

  4. By neil on Oct 7, 2010 | Reply

    Watching the game on Sunday against the chargers the announcers were saying otherwise and you could kinda see it. No saying your wrong but I think it would be a mistake to put him back in after this. Not saying Max hall is Thea answer but I don’t think DA is either. I would much rather see Max on the field doing his best instead of Anderson a veteran struggling to make check down passes.

  5. By OLdude on Oct 7, 2010 | Reply

    The reason I have been a supporter of Max is that he has “it”…the intangible that Matt or DA don’t have. This might be a “bite the bullet” period of transition while Max learns the position at the NFL level, but It also would not surprise me in the least if the Cards win this game. The caveat being ‘IF the O-line can get their “stuff” together” and protect him as if he is the “prodigal son”. Unless the play of the team as a whole doesn’t improve noticeably, Max alone will NOT

  6. By Cards24fan on Oct 7, 2010 | Reply

    We should have kept Leinart! Having said that, over the course of the rest of the season, I think Hall will do better than DA might have done.

  7. By joe again on Oct 7, 2010 | Reply

    No matter who started this Saints game for us, everyone would consider it a big upset if we win, so what the heck, its all up-side for us.

    But our team has been so schizophrenic over the last couple of years — they can look terrible or great one week to the next — and I think this game has upset written all over it. The Cards are embarrassed, mad at themselves, and still remembering how the Saints bullied them in the playoffs. They are back home, going into their bye, want revenge, and will be pumped to have a new QB.

    This is such a Cinderella story — the local kid takes over the struggling hometown team. Hey, the only time that its really hopeless is when you give up hope.

  8. By arun on Oct 7, 2010 | Reply

    Well said … totally agree … hope is good 🙂

  9. By CardinalSwagger on Oct 7, 2010 | Reply

    Joe again-

    I agree, well said!

  10. By Rick on Oct 7, 2010 | Reply

    Darren – In Leinart’s start against KC weren’t the Cards up 14 – 0 at the end of the first quarter? I believe that was the game that the defense gave up an 85 yard screen pass to Larry Johnson and found a way to lose!! The next week was the infamous Bears Monday night game. Here’s hoping history doesn’t repeat itself!!

  11. By Darren Urban on Oct 7, 2010 | Reply

    Rick —

    RE: Leinart start

    You are correct in all your K.C./Chi recollections. Fun times.

  12. By D ryans on Oct 7, 2010 | Reply

    The word for the day is “Positivity”, come on Darren say it with me.

  13. By j on Oct 7, 2010 | Reply

    Its all on both lines to step up. Offense Line give the recievers time to get open and prevent a beaten up qb (qb’s head very important). Defense Line stop the run, get out to the corners first but be aware of the middle, trap em’. As far as the rookie Hall worries go, EVERY ONE has been playing/coaching like a rookie thus so far so maybe this tip of the scale is what the players need. Plus I’ve noticed that devouted christian/mormon QB’s are really really good at all facets of that position especially leadership.

  14. By aaaaudio on Oct 7, 2010 | Reply

    what are the stats for the second games of these rookies?

  15. By Darren Urban on Oct 7, 2010 | Reply

    aaaudio —

    RE: Second games

    Leinart 42-24-232-2-0-1 loss to Bears

    Navarre Never started again (hurt in first game)

    Plummer 18-7-132-1-1-4 win over Philly

  16. By Bill L on Oct 7, 2010 | Reply

    I see a lot of high expectations being put on Hall. If he survives intact an makes a few good reads and throws a few good balls, I will be more than happy. Max got VERY little attention as an undrafted rookie 4th string QB in training camp. In preseason he played against guys that are out of the League, in Canada, or on practice squads. The first time he went up against a real NFL team was SD, and he was sacked 6 times in a game that was mostly over. Now he faces 1s out for red meat and a complicated blitzing D……and I am afraid as a competitor he won’t make one read and dump it or throw it away. One too many reads against a D he doesn’t understand… bit of hesitation… thought of glory rather than safety……..and he could be in big trouble………Good Luck Max.

  17. By Jerry on Oct 7, 2010 | Reply


    Your forum here continues to appear as though it is merely from a fan stand point as opposed to an educated football point.

    Since the end of the previous Cardinals season I have mentioned trying to bring in:
    Michael Vick
    Donovan McNabb
    Ben Roethlisberger
    A veteran CB

    You continued to believe through your responses that these were not viable options. In Vick and McNabb’s cases we can clearly see their success. Roethlisberger I’m sure will not miss a beat from his suspension. QB’s just won’t throw very often to DRC’s side and we have Fitzgerald as the only receiver to cover. Weak rookie receivers that are afraid to return punts or fumble when the ball gets in their hands are not the type that are needed. Now this faith in a rookie QB against the Superbowl Champs? Does the front office know what they are doing at all? Why do we continue as through history in allowing all of our good players to leave?

    I guess we are back to the way our team used to be. We will be saying goodbye to Fitz sooner than later as well. 4-12… We’re back! A digression story.

    1 fun fact, the bandwagon fans will be gone soon!

  18. By LadyCard04 on Oct 7, 2010 | Reply

    Will there be a Big Red Rage tonight? Didn’t see any notices for last week or this week.

  19. By Darren Urban on Oct 7, 2010 | Reply

    LadyCard04 —

    RE: Rage

    Yes, it’s tonight with Clark Haggans.

  20. By don on Oct 7, 2010 | Reply

    Sorry if someone already asked this but if Hall struggles can we see Skelton start some games at the end of the year? I know it’ll probably depend on if we still in it or not but regardless it’s worth a shot. I see a lot of raw scary good potential in Skelton. Also any shot at us going back to 4-3 have dockett and campbell on the ends and robinson and branch/watson/williams.

  21. By Darren Urban on Oct 7, 2010 | Reply

    Don —

    RE: Skelton

    Outside chance, I’d say.

    And this team isn’t messing with its defensive base scheme in season.

  22. By 98CardsFan on Oct 7, 2010 | Reply

    the slogan should be “it is what it is, just not always what it seems”

  23. By Zapp on Oct 7, 2010 | Reply


    Has there been any contract talks with Steve Breaston lately.

  24. By Darren Urban on Oct 7, 2010 | Reply

    Zapp —

    RE: Breaston

    Not that I know of.

  25. By gang6230 on Oct 7, 2010 | Reply

    i have this gut feeling this kid (max hall ) can pull it through. im not saying an instant miracle but he will as time progresses and more games played. he is the best chance the cards have right now. and if we can have faith he might just beat new orleans as you know they are suffering right now a lot of their starters
    are injured.
    the right time plus the right circumstances and the right planning and execution can bring a lot of success

    also that thing about max not being drafted doesn’t make a difference the draft doesnt guarantee a good player, just look at jamarcus russell max has been playing all his life. look at his stats at b y u now yeah this is the nfl look at warner undrafted overlooked by various teams and now a future hall of famer this is football anything can happen on any given sunday

    GO CARDS !!

  26. By tRiGiDy22 on Oct 7, 2010 | Reply

    Max The Minotaur”

  27. By Ben on Oct 7, 2010 | Reply

    Hey Darren,

    I have been extreamly negative lately and even taken some shots at you lately.(hope you dont take it personally. Just your the link between the fans and the team) I will say after listening to Max Hall’s presser that he sounds like a leader.

    I will be pulling for him and he has given me some new hope for this season.

    So here is my question: Do you like Max Hall? Do you think he will be successful? What is your gut telling you?

  28. By Darren Urban on Oct 7, 2010 | Reply

    Ben —

    RE: Hall

    To be honest, I have no earthly idea. I do see the things the Cards like — the way he handles himself, his quick decisions, his confidence. I see the things that probably kept him from being drafted — his size, his decent but not great arm. I do think he has a chance to be successful, however. How fast, I don’t know.

  29. By MikeG on Oct 7, 2010 | Reply

    Hey Darren–It’s interesting the number of passing attempts previous Card’s rookie Qb’s had in their first game. Do you see Max Hall having more than 30-35 attempts in this game???? That could be a recipe for disaster. We have to establish a heavy ground game against this team. I would love to see 30 runs called(2 TE formations)????

  30. By Darren Urban on Oct 7, 2010 | Reply

    MikeG —

    RE: Passing attempts

    In both the Plummer and Navarre games, the Cards got way behind. In the Navarre game, actually, the starting running back — because of injuries — was the immortal Larry Croom.

  31. By Cardsftw on Oct 7, 2010 | Reply

    I am a through and through cards fan, but i must say… why didn’t we give leinart the chance he deserves? i bet he is laughing his ass off in houston… i will cheer red and white till the end. but please we best fix our defense and hopefully find a way to spark the offence. this is how the gameplan should be… run beanie run hightower run beanie run beanie screen to hightower. through to fitz, slot to breaton once back from injury.

  32. By petedowdle on Oct 7, 2010 | Reply

    From last year to this year, we’ve lost players to injury, free agency, and retirement that have been replaced by players through free agency, from within the team, and the draft. But for the QB position, the new players that have replaced the old players have done rather well. Rhodes at safety is proving to be just as effective, if not moreso, then Rolle was/is. Breaston had a big game his first week (unfortunately, he’s been out for the last couple of weeks due to injury), and Porter’s replacement of Dansby is a lateral move at worst (watched Dansby whiff on a TD the other day that looked like what Porter also did). Couple that information with the fact that significant players have been out with injury these last few weeks. With all that said, then, I say to remember that this team is largely the same team that won back-to-back division titles the last couple of years, it’s in arguably the worst division in the NFL where anyone can take it (and the team favored to take it hasn’t even won a single game this season), and it has quite possibly the easiest schedule in both the division and the league to deal with, especially down the stretch. If and when the QB position produces, the rest of the team, including the D, will only benefit, play all the better for it, and win the games that they’re supposed to win as well as a couple that maybe they’re not meant to win. So far, it’s gone that way, they’re 2-2 with maybe their toughest games on the schedule now behind them, and still 12 games ahead of them to get themselves into the playoffs, where anything can happen. The season’s far from over, and the Card’s are further ahead than many other teams are. Keep hope alive, people!

  33. By Phoenixraven1 on Oct 7, 2010 | Reply

    Well we will probably lose Sunday but at least as a season ticket holder I can hold out hope I didn’t wast my money!!! Come on Max!

  34. By georgiebird on Oct 7, 2010 | Reply

    In a similar subject- If my memory serves me correctly, no Cardinal QB has stepped in during a game (in a relief role) and rallied a Cardinal team from a deficit to win a game either in St Lou or AZ.
    Starting Max doesn’t bother me for this reason: With the defense the way it is the best the Cardinals can do is beat SF once then win the division at 7-9 on tiebreakers and lose in the playoffs.
    Most of the personnel blunders have come on the defense. It’s so bad that fans are waiting for the return of Gerald Hayes who was brutal against the run last year.
    And with all the time that teams meet during the year, I can’t believe that an emergency 4-3 scheme couldn’t have been installed in case the 3-4 crapped out. The 4-3 gives the Cardinals the best chance to win- don’t know who to blame (poor coaching or dense players)

  35. By Former Steeler Fan on Oct 7, 2010 | Reply

    Let’s not be half-hearted about the QB change.
    Make Anderson inactive and Skelton the second string QB.
    If Whiz is going to “experiment” with the great UFA BYU QB, let’s have Skelton available when the O-line (and Beanie) allow Max to be crushed by the N.O. defense.
    Let’s see what Skelton can do. After all, he was good enough to spend a draft choice on him.
    If one or both of the rookies are injured (due to lack of protection) or ineffective, Whiz can always bring DA back after the bye.

  36. By SEC 113 RW 10 on Oct 7, 2010 | Reply

    I can’t help it but every time I think of Max Hall starting, the theme song to the ’70s movie “Flash Gordon” comes into my head!

    Darren, any chance we could get UoP Stadium to play that song on sunday?

  37. By Darren Urban on Oct 7, 2010 | Reply

    Sec 113 —

    RE: Song

    Uh, I’ll pass it along?

  38. By Darthcard on Oct 7, 2010 | Reply

    I miss jake. I still wear his jersey. He was the best qb I’ve ever seen as a cardinals that was actually ours. Not the adoption Kurt warner. No disrespect love him- but he was not our qb. Good luck Max. I wish you the best 🙂

  39. By Peter in Canada on Oct 7, 2010 | Reply

    Darren- In February u stated that this was Leinart’s team. Anderson was strictly the back up and would not be first string unless the Cards got off to a bad start to the season like 2-5. Well we have gone through both Leinart and Anderson after 4 games without either of them being injured. I am not being critical because I basically agreed with what you said. In my wildest dreams I didn’t see this coming, obviously neither did you. It goes to show one can never really say never because football can be a strange game. Hall is in the same spot as Kurt in 1999 and I hope he has the same success.

  40. By D ryans on Oct 7, 2010 | Reply

    Max “Toro” Hall

  41. By Eric on Oct 7, 2010 | Reply

    I hate to say I told you so, but, I told you so. I recall trading Boldin for a 5th round draft pick, when we should have traded him to Philly for Vick. Again, bad choice considering the seasons both are having. I love my Cards, and Max, your my boy, but, dam, coulda, shoulda, woulda. Say what you want about Vick, he has atoned for his sins, more than some others ever have had to, (i.e. Ray Lewis) and is healthy, and a BEAST. He should be wearing Cardinal Red. No telling how far we COULD have gone. Thank God our division sucks.

  42. By Darren Urban on Oct 7, 2010 | Reply

    Eric —

    RE: Boldin

    He was traded for a third- and a fourth-round pick.

  43. By brad Oneill on Oct 7, 2010 | Reply

    i have to say i like the flash gordon idea!!!

  44. By Jones from IL on Oct 7, 2010 | Reply

    For those who don’t already know…Imagine, The Cardinals are the oldest pro footbal team in America. Jim Hart threw 30 interceptions his first full year with the Cardinals – then went on to play very well for another 17 years with the Big Red – so Max try to do better than Jim Hart your 1st year, but continue Hart’s proud legacy. Hart holds the record for the longest pass in NFL history, 98 yards to Bobby Moore (Ahmad Rashad) in 1972. Hart passed for 34,665 yards over a 19 year history. (Year 19 with the Redskins)

  45. By Scott H on Oct 7, 2010 | Reply

    Yes, there may be mistakes ( just as there were with Aikman, Brady, Manning, etc ), but these are expected and tolerable with a rookie QB. They are part of the growth process. BUT the key word is growth. And growth ( and hope ) are things that were non-existent with Anderson. I knew what he was and that that was his ceiling. Period. The mistakes were NOT tolerable with him. Regardless of what this team accomplishes this year, they are now looking toward the future and for their next QB. I’d rather endure a 6-10 season doing that than a 6-10 season with a lousy veteran QB with whom we have no future. And for the FIRST TIME this season, I can honestly say that I find myself excited about this team.

  46. By 98CardsFan on Oct 7, 2010 | Reply

    Flash foward to November, what will you be saying then?

  47. By Darren Urban on Oct 7, 2010 | Reply

    98CardsFan —

    RE: November

    Heck, I barely know what I want to write tomorrow, much less November. So much could happen. Heck, Kurt could be back by then … (I’M KIDDING).

    BTW, I think you asked about Kevin Curtis at one point. He is actually battling cancer right now, although the idea is to conquer it and play again. But he’s on the sidelines right now.

  48. By RichS on Oct 7, 2010 | Reply

    I think Whiz has pretty much decided NO will win this game and doesn’t want DA to get hurt.

  49. By Former Steeler Fan on Oct 7, 2010 | Reply

    I seldom see “Trust in Whiz” in the posts any more.
    Is that because many posters are starting to believe that Whiz hasn’t made good personnel decisions lately?

  50. By joe on Oct 7, 2010 | Reply

    Vick is a Horriable Person. I cant believe a cardinals fan would suggest that. Repent for your sins in the real world NOT in the spotlight of the NFL. Poor decision for letting that trash back in.

  51. By Rick 6 on Oct 7, 2010 | Reply

    Scott H.
    I couldn’t agree more, and feel the same way.
    Well said.

  52. By SeeingRed on Oct 7, 2010 | Reply

    Funny how so many fans are up to seeing Max go through rookie growing pains etc…many didn’t want to give Leinart a real chance or even DA one before the regular season started. What are all u Hall believers gonna do if he stinks?? What if the guy just isn’t that good on a NFL level? what if he is mediocre? at what point will fans realize he too is what he is…a short, undrafted FA? He’s got confidence…that’s nice but I remember Joey Harrington coming out and he was confident, energetic, had potential…..and sucked ultimately. Just be mindful that what u have seen of Hall is all predicated on 3rd and 4th quarter preseason games.

    Don’t get me wrong, I want Hall to succeed because I want the Cards to succeed but I am anything but convinced that he is the “future” of this team…I see people saying the “Max Hall era”…huh?? Pump the brakes.

  53. By John on Oct 8, 2010 | Reply

    I agree with other posts that skelton should be #2. DA’s confident is shot and he definately will not be back next year so why bother putting him back in if Max gets hurt or does’nt perform. I Think Skelton does have a lot of potential and just might surprise the nay sayers with his maturity. Let’s do this together! (without DA of course)

  54. By clssylssy on Oct 8, 2010 | Reply

    I’m with OleDude on this one…I think this game is totally winable. The Saints are coming in expecting to have a W in their column before getting on the plane.
    We have done it before and I believe we could send the WhoDat Nation away saying, Whatdat??? .

  55. By BigRedFan (win or lose) on Oct 8, 2010 | Reply

    MAX! AH AHHHHHH. . . . .

  56. By cardsalltheway on Oct 9, 2010 | Reply

    “I’m going to make mistakes,” Hall said, “but I am going to give it everything I have.”
    It should read…“I’m going to make mistakes,” Hall said, “but at least I’ll complete more passes than DA.”
    I have Steve Williams starting on my Fantasy team, hoping that Hall can connect with a wide open Williams deep which DA failed to do two weeks in a row. If he misses like DA then you’ll here more stuff like…
    Skelton, Skelton, he’s our man, the others belong in the garbage can!

  57. By Dre on Oct 9, 2010 | Reply


    Actually, Leinart in his first couple games had really good stats. I really think that guy got a raw deal here in AZ.

    To be drafted with a MVP, superbowl winning and record setting QB who had arrived a year earlier and was expected to beat out Warner for the starting QB job as a rookie. In his second year, Whisenhunt came in with a different system and he battled again for a starting job. In Leinart third year Warner regain his stride again and the rest is history.

    After the 2008 season, when we resign Kurt to a two deal…I heard by many football ppl and player that there comes a time for QBs where the game slows down. I thought I saw that during the 2009 season in Matt’s game. Well, we all know what happened this year, so we will never know if it was finally his time to take off…a la Kurt Warner like-ish in ’08.

    And it seems like Whisenhunt, you and a lot of other folk just really didn’t like the guy….or maybe you feel like you always have to justify Whisenhunt decisions. Either or I bet Matt is laughing his butt off right now.

    Whisenhunt has been exposed…”Dear Heavenly Father please please plaese let Max Hall do pretty good for us tomorrow” is what Whisenhunt is saying tonight before he goes to sleep.

  58. By Darren Urban on Oct 9, 2010 | Reply

    Dre —

    RE: Leinart

    Maybe Matt is enjoying the predicament the Cards are in right now. But until he finds a job that shows otherwise, he won’t be able to prove the Cards made the wrong decision.

  59. By Tom Bush on Oct 10, 2010 | Reply

    I was hoping you could answer perhaps a very simple question for me. In each of the first three games, the Cardinals have listed John Skelton as inactive. However, I see him in uniform and on the sidelines. Is he there for the learning experience? To get a feel for the game? I thought if you were inactive you couldn’t even dress. I think its a great thing that he is there on the sideslines learning, staying involved.

  60. By Darren Urban on Oct 10, 2010 | Reply

    Tom —

    RE: Skelton

    The third quarterback is always one of the eight inactives. But he is eligible to play if the other two QBs can’t play.

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