Leinart's Demise: Swift and Unforgiving

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The demise of Matt Leinart in Arizona has been swift and unforgiving. The former Heisman Trophy winner and 10th overall pick in the 2006 draft could find himself out of a job later this week.

On the heels of being demoted in favor of Derek Anderson, the relationship between Leinart and the Cardinals has gone sour. In particular, the alliance between the former USC standout and coach Ken Whisenhunt has been severed and appears to have been for some time.

Leinart has lost his grasp on the starting job for the second time since Whisenhunt arrived in the desert. Leinart was drafted by the previous coaching regime, led by Dennis Green, so he's always been somewhat of a lame duck during the Whisenhunt era.

His days as a lame duck look to be coming to an end.

None of the Cardinals' current players have spoken up about what's gone on behind the scenes between the team's head coach and former starting quarterback. However, Pro Bowl wideout Anquan Boldin – who spent seven years in Arizona – provided a glimpse of what has transpired over the years.

When asked about the developing situation regarding Leinart, Boldin wasn't surprised about the result.

"Honestly no," Boldin told a Baltimore radio station. "That's just because I've been there and witnessed the relationship between both Matt and coach Whisenhunt. So I'm actually not surprised."

As tired as the Cardinals' fan base is of Leinart and his unfulfilled promise, there's been some backlash regarding Whisenhunt's handling of the situation.

Has proper communication taken place? Did Leinart's demotion come about due to reasons other than football? The truth is that only a select few know the answers to those questions.


Ben Roethlisberger
(Getty)

This isn't the first criticism to come about Whisenhunt's behavior towards his starting quarterback. During Whisenhunt's tenure with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Ben Roethlisberger often expressed disagreement on how certain issues were handled and empathized for Leinart.

"There were a lot of things I didn't agree with Whiz about," Roethlisberger said. "I know what Matt's going through."

So, where does this leave the soon to be remaining quarterbacks in Arizona?

Whisenhunt seems to get along with veterans who have paid their dues in the league. His relationship with Kurt Warner was terrific and Anderson seems to be following the same path.

However, things haven't been as smooth with younger quarterbacks such as Leinart and Roethlisberger.

There's a good chance Arizona enters the 2010 season with two rookies backing up Anderson. How does this leave John Skelton and Max Hall feeling about the future with Whisenhunt?

Only time will tell.

By cutting ties with Leinart, the team would be putting a great deal of stock in two relatively unproven commodities, given that Anderson might not be the long-term answer.

For the sake of Skelton, Hall and the future of the Cardinals' offense, let's hope Whisenhunt's ability to connect with his young signal callers improves in the years to come.

If it doesn't, more unfulfilled promise and changes under center could be on the horizon.


Questions or comments? Contact Brad Wilbricht at brad.wilbricht@gmail.com

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