Arizona Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt has put his team’s struggling offense into the hands of undrafted rookie quarterback Max Hall.
Whisenhunt announced after yesterday’s practice that the former Brigham Young standout would make his first NFL start Sunday when the Cardinals are home against the Super Bowl champion Saints, replacing the erratic Derek Anderson.
Hall is Arizona’s third starting quarterback since training camp opened.
Anderson replaced Matt Leinart in the third preseason game. That led to Leinart’s release and left Hall as Anderson’s backup.
The strong-armed Anderson, signed by Arizona as a free agent after he was released by Cleveland, was benched after throwing two first-half interceptions in last Sunday’s 41-10 loss at San Diego. Hall came on to complete 8 of 14 passes for 82 yards without an interception but was sacked six times.
“I think Max certainly feels he’s ready for it,’’ Whisenhunt said. “I mean, he’s a confident young man. He’s been that way since he’s been here. He’s made progress. He believes in himself and carries himself with that confidence. I know that he wanted to play. I don’t think that’s ever been a question.’’
The Cardinals are tied for the NFC West lead at 2-2, but have been outscored, 82-17, in their two losses.
“Hopefully we’ll make some more plays, be a little more efficient offensively,’’ Whisenhunt said. “I think that one of the areas we need to improve in is just making the plays that are there. That’s what we’ve missed on.’’
Hall said he’s not looking at this as a one-week audition for the job.
“I’m just going forward like it’s mine,’’ he said. “That’s the mind-set that you have to have. They’re putting everything into me. The game plan and everything is going toward my strengths, so I’m moving forward like it’s mine.’’
His injury leaves the Redskins with a very inexperienced backfield, too.
Coach Mike Shanahan said that Portis has a third-degree separation of the left groin, with the muscle separated off the bone. Portis will not require surgery, and the coach estimated a recovery time of 4-6 weeks.
“That’s disappointing,’’ Shanahan said, “that working so hard, playing so well, that he’s got that setback.’’
Portis was hurt in last Sunday’s 17-12 win over the Eagles, when he was already starting to share more of the rushing load with Ryan Torain. Now the only two healthy tailbacks on the roster are Torain and Chad Simpson, who have combined for 70 carries in their NFL careers heading into this week’s game against the Packers.