The end is getting near for Derek Anderson. If the Cardinals don’t win tomorrow night at home against the San Francisco 49ers, the team will likely pull the plug on their long-villified quarterback. I hope I’m wrong.
One, I like Derek Anderson. And two, I dread watching the last five games with a backup quarterback and a grimace on my face. Max Hall, the backup, is the kind of players fans say they love. He’s a long shot. Short with no arm. But he spits on his hands and wipes them in dirt. He’s in the coach’s face like a puppy dog, wanting to please, begging to play. If DA is to go down, I’d much rather watch the No. 3, John Skelton, get creamed and reamed.
Anderson never had a chance in Arizona despite his gifts. A great arm, a 6-6 frame and courage seldom get you anywhere once the fans turn on you. And they turned on DA before the season even started. If the coach, Ken Whisenhunt, had hired an offensive coordinator, if DA got better coaching, if the Whiz hadn’t handled so poorly the demotion and release of this year’s expected starter, Matt Leinart, if, if, if . . . . Now it is too late, and I feel sad for DA. I feel sad for myself in that I will probably never witness that great game I believe is inside him. That’s how life is sometimes. You get your chance but it is the wrong place at the wrong time.
I look at Anderson’s potential and think of the film, “Agnes of God.” An immaculate conception seems to take place right before the viewer’s eyes, and yet it is not believed. Fans look at Derek Anderson and think only the worst. I don’t think they would believe in the Second Coming of Joe Montana if he came in the cleats of DA. The only other Cardinals quarterback I can remember who was so hated by local fans was, yes, Kurt Warner, that Kurt Warner who was given up for dead in 2006, that Kurt Warner whose resurgence over the next three seasons took the Cardinals to heights they’d never seen.
Many Cardinals fans are now hoping the team loses the rest of its games. That way they will earn a “lottery” pick in the next draft, grab a young quarterback sent from above. How quickly they forget that Cardinals brass has passed on top talent before. Like Adrian Peterson three years ago. How quickly they forget the top three quarterbacks in the 2006 draft. The No. 1 pick that years, Vince Young, is still floundering in Tennessee. Leinart is a third-stringer in Houston. And only the quarterback taken third, Jay Cutler of Chicago, is showing signs of life.
My wish is this. I would like the Cardinals to keep DA no matter what. Win on Monday Night Football or not. Maybe he will have a break-out game in what may be the inconsequential remaining games. Why go with Hall who will never take you to the promised land? Why send Skelton to a certain humiliation as a starter? Stay with DA. He’s the best chance for the future right now. Wait for a few months to see if you can do better.
But I admit time is running out. Hopefully DA will have a big game against the Niners. The big black vehicle with the curtained windows is warmed up, the driver with orders to take the carcass to the nearest cemetery.