Cardinals quarterback Matt Leinart, a first-round pick in 2006 who arguably is down to his last chance in Arizona, knows that the season doesn’t start in Week 1 of the regular season.
It starts in Week 1 of the preseason.
“It’s huge,” Leinart said of Saturday night’s game against the Texans, per John Marshall of the Associated Press. “I’m definitely not taking this preseason lightly. I don’t think you ever do, but there’s always that mindset that ‘I’m only
going to play a series.’ I’m going in knowing I’m not going to play a whole lot,
but I want to take advantage of those opportunities.”
He’s right; it was two years ago that Leinart entered the preseason as the starter. And he exited it as the backup.
This time around, he’s got Derek Anderson looking over his shoulder instead of Kurt Warner. Which, for Leinart, is nice. Still, it’s Leinart’s job to lose. And, in theory, he could.
So what will he need to do to keep the job?
“I would like to see assertiveness,” coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “I would like to see how he handles the huddle and the team. Obviously, you
want to see production but there’s a lot of things we’ll evaluate from Matt that
may not necessarily be seen from the fans perspective.
“I’m excited to see if he can take what he’s progressed with in the
offseason and carry it onto the field in this role he’s in now.”
Sorry, but if Leinart had what it takes to be a successful starter in Arizona, he’d already be a successful starter in Arizona. Until he proves otherwise, we’ll continue to believe that Leinart was the captain of a blue-chip ship at USC, benefiting from the kind of across-the-board talent gap that makes it easier for the guys who get the glory to get even more of it.