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Hobbling Drew Stanton Should Return

When quarterback can play again unknown as Cardinals prepare for Seahawks, NFC West decider

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Quarterback Drew Stanton fades back to pass moments before suffering the right knee injury that has left him on crutches, his status to return unknown.

The Cardinals believe Drew Stanton will play quarterback for them again this season.

When that will be is only a guess.

Coach Bruce Arians would only describe Stanton's right knee injury as just that, declining to put any other terms on it other than to say Stanton did not need surgery. The quarterback is on crutches now and Arians did say he would be surprised if Stanton were able to play a week from Sunday, when the Cardinals host the Seahawks on "Sunday Night Football" in a game that will likely determine the NFC West champion.

"Whatever quarterback lines up for us next Sunday night, he'll have a game plan that he's comfortable with and should be able to execute," Arians said. "That's what we expect of him."

Stanton's status is "a day-to-day thing," Arians said. Asked how many more injuries his team can withstand, Arians didn't

hesitate.

"Whatever it takes," Arians said. "Whatever it takes."

The likely starter for the Seahawks will be Ryan Lindley, who closed out the game in St. Louis, although Arians would not commit to either Lindley or rookie Logan Thomas. The two will not compete, Arians said, but the coach will base the decision on "which one I want."

Lindley got the call against the Rams because the Cardinals knew the quarterback would see some exotic blitzes that Thomas is not yet equipped to handle.

"If Logan would have gone in, he would've gotten some stuff he has never seen," Arians said. "Ryan, I knew, would handle that part better."

Arians emphasized whatever decisions he is making now is not a reflection of the kind of player he thinks Thomas can eventually become.

Lindley knows he can't play at the same level for the Cardinals to have success. He completed his first pass to Michael Floyd on the play after Stanton got hurt, gaining six yards and setting up a Chandler Catanzaro 51-yard field goal.

After that, however, Lindley hit on just 3-of-9 throws for 24 yards and nearly had one intercepted.

It was Lindley's first work within the Cardinals' offense since training camp, after which he was cut in favor of Thomas. Lindley wasn't re-signed by the Cards until Carson Palmer was lost for the season Nov. 9 against the Rams when he tore his ACL.

Lindley's career stats – the bulk of which came in 2012 as a rookie when then-coach Ken Whisenhunt played him in six games – are not pretty. Including Thursday, Lindley has completed less than 50 percent of his passes. He has no touchdown

passes and seven interceptions.

Lindley is not unaware of what his résumé says.

"At the end of the day we got the win," Lindley said. "For me, that's the number one stat as a backup quarterback is not turn the ball over and winning the ballgame. I only screwed that first one up (on the near-pick) but we got lucky on it so we'll work on it as we go."

The Cardinals will look at bringing in another quarterback, but since Stanton can return – and not a candidate for injured reserve – whomever they bring in would likely be on the practice squad. Dennis Dixon briefly filled that role earlier in the season when Carson Palmer and Stanton were hurting after the Denver game.

Arians said the gameplan for Seattle could branch in a couple of different ways, all tailored so that whoever is quarterback will be prepared. That could mean 10 plays with four formations for each, or 50 plays, as well as the ability to know protections and variables with all the blitzes that could come.

"It's just a matter of having him comfortable," Arians said.

In a way, the Cardinals are already comfortable with major injuries and losing a starting quarterback. They've managed to figure it out as they've gone up until now.

"Luckily we'll get an extra day of practice or two, so that'll help get ready for Seattle," Lindley said. "I saw (the Seahawks) once in San Diego, saw them once when I came out here, so this is going to be the third time around game-planning for these guys. That should help a little bit.

"Obviously when you get on the field, you've just got to make plays, and I think I left a few out there. We'll improve as we go."

Images of the key batted ball by Jerraud Powers late in the Cardinals' win over the Rams



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