Ryan Lindley (14) believes he is a much different quarterback than the one who started for the Cardinals in 2012.
Ryan Lindley probably shouldn't have played as a rookie in 2012, and his stint as the Cardinals' starting quarterback probably couldn't have gone much worse.
Lindley smiles thinking back to the time. Now that he's starting again for the Cardinals – after an entire year on the bench in 2013 and then being cut earlier this season before eventually coming back to the Cards in mid-November – he isn't sure if more harm or good came out of that rookie experience.
"You know what? It's tough to say," Lindley said. "It might be 50-50. At this point, sitting where I am … at the time, I would've told you without a doubt it would have been the other way. But right now, I feel I learned from it. The biggest thing, if you don't
let it affect your confidence too much, it's a learning experience."
The Cardinals aren't in an ideal situation needing to start Lindley against the Seahawks Sunday night with Drew Stanton dealing with a knee injury. But in a confidence that stems from coach Bruce Arians down, there doesn't seem to be any concern now that they are here.
Arians reiterated Wednesday Lindley's preparation is excellent and that the coach trusts Lindley when it comes to mental makeup. Arians added the plan for Lindley to win doesn't have to be complicated.
"Just be himself," Arians said. "Just take the game plan and execute it. Throw it accurately and don't try to be a hero and force things. But, don't play scared, play smart."
Lindley is a different quarterback than the one Ken Whisenhunt marched out there for an initial home start against the Rams Nov. 25, 2012 – a game in which Lindley threw for his career-high 312 yards, but also his career-worst four interceptions.
Lindley admits now, there isn't even that much he can draw on from his time playing as a rookie. Too much has changed.
"That's night and day," he said. "At this point I don't even think about (2012)."
Arians said when he first took over the Cardinals, all he was judging Lindley on was his physical attributes. He didn't break down Lindley's play in an offense that is nothing like what Arians was bringing to town. Lindley was playing for a struggling team with a lot of injuries (and a poor offensive line) and at a time he simply wasn't ready as a sixth-round draft pick out of San Diego State.
The advances Lindley made in 2013 as Arians' third-stringer was enough to make his release difficult for Arians. Once Carson Palmer went down for the season, it only made sense to pluck him off the Chargers' practice squad.
"Ryan is prepared," Stanton said. "Everyone wants to look at his numbers and they aren't glamorous, but there are a lot of guys, myself included, that went in there and didn't have success at a young age. He's worked extremely hard behind the scenes, and no one sees that stuff. You can look at the exterior and you can think what you want, but I have the utmost confidence in what he can do."
Lindley said he's looking forward to the chance to break his streak of – as of now – 181 career pass attempts without a touchdown. His ratio of touchdowns to interceptions isn't pretty (0-to-7) but that's part of a past life that Lindley doesn't think defines his current ability as a quarterback.
"The first time out there it's new and you don't know exactly what will happen," Lindley said. "Now, through time, through experience, through seeing how Drew and Carson and Philip (Rivers) prepares, I'm a lot more ready to play at this point."
EVEN STANTON HAS NO TIMETABLE ON STANTON'S RETURN
Stanton did not describe his knee problem in detail, but said "I've never really had an injury like this before."
"I want to get back as soon as possible," Stanton said. "What that means, I don't know.
"That timetable everyone wants to put on it, I can't put one on it. Nor do I want to."
Stanton said that as a competitor, he'd love to be able to return for the season finale against the 49ers. He isn't sure that will be possible, acknowledging that he wants to be smart as he tries to return at least for the first playoff game.
He said he's trying to get used to wearing a brace. He was given an option to wear one after he tore his ACL as a rookie in 2007, and Stanton wouldn't wear it.
"The goal is to keep improving every day, try not to have any setbacks," Stanton said. "When it's ready to go, go out there and do as well as I possibly can."
COOPER CAST WILL FACTOR IN GUARD CHOICE
Jonathan Cooper is wearing a cast on his left wrist after getting hurt in the Rams game, and that will impact how Arians sorts through his starting guard selection with Paul Fanaika coming back from an ankle sprain. Arians said he will see how Cooper practices with the cast Wednesday – the Cardinals were going through their last padded practice of the season – and how Fanaika looks on the ankle. Ted Larsen, who has started on both sides, is also in the mix.
Aside from Stanton, Arians said wide receiver Jaron Brown (toe) was the only other Cardinal who didn't practice Wednesday. Brown's injury is likely why the Cards decided to promote wide receiver Brittan Golden from the practice squad.
The Cardinals did have a host of players limited Wednesday: LB Lorenzo Alexander (knee), DE Calais Campbell (hip), Cooper, Fanaika, WR Larry Fitzgerald (knee), LB Larry Foote (knee), S Tyrann Mathieu (thumb) and RB Kerwynn Williams (knee).
For the Seahawks, DE Demarcus Dobbs (ankle), RB Marshawn Lynch (back), TE Tony Moeaki (shoulder), T Russell Okung (chest), G J.R. Sweezy (ankle) and C Max Unger (ankle/knee) did not practice.