Given the recent struggles of Cardinals quarterback Drew Stanton, some had wondered whether he was in jeopardy of being replaced by rookie Logan Thomas. We now know the answer to that question.
Thomas, who played earlier in the season after Stanton suffered a concussion, has been supplanted by Ryan Lindley. And it appears that, if Stanton misses time with the knee injury he suffered last night at St. Louis, the next man up is the guy who first became a Cardinal when Ken Whisenhunt was still the coach.
While the Cardinals haven’t said much about Stanton’s status, the early indications aren’t good.
“It’s unfortunate, you feel terrible for Drew going down,” receiver Larry Fitzgerald told reporters after the game. “Hopefully tomorrow the MRI reveals something more positive.”
The phrase “more positive” implies that the initial indications are negative. And for some knee injuries (like a torn ACL), it’s easy to form a negative view without an MRI.
So now it’s apparently Lindley’s show, based on Fitzgerald’s comments.
“‘Linny’ hasn’t gotten any reps probably since training camp in the offense,” Fitzgerald said. “For him to come in in this type of situation, in this hostile environment with all of the implications going into the game, he did an amazing job. You couldn’t be more happy for the guy. He’s worked extremely hard to put himself in a position of being well-prepared, and we’re going to rally around him.”
It sounds as if coach Bruce Arians agrees.
“I went with [Lindley] because of his experience, he has been in a stadium and played against these guys and this was not a time to put [Logan Thomas] out there,” Arians told reporters after the game. “He is going to be a great player someday, but he is not ready for this yet. Ryan was more than ready; I really liked his poise and his confidence. I didn’t feel like we had to scale it back, but I let him throw some balls and he made some nice throws.”
As the Cardinals prepare for a rematch with the Seahawks with the division title hanging in the balance, Lindley has another advantage arising from the time he spent on the San Diego practice squad earlier this season.
“Seeing them, I saw them once in San Diego, saw them once when I came out here, so this is going to be be the third time around game planning for these guys so that should help a little bit,” Lindley said.
It remains to be seen how much it helps. But in what could be the ultimate test of the “next man up” theory, the last man anyone thought would be the next man up at quarterback when the season began now gets a chance to help nail down a division title and the No. 1 seed.