Quarterback Ryan Lindley throws a pass during Wednesday's training camp practice.
For two weeks, Ryan Lindley waited.
He did the individual quarterback drills and after practice would run through the practice script with little-used receivers Kevin Ozier and Reggie Dunn, just to get some throws. But for the bulk of practice, he had to watch as Logan Thomas took all the third-unit snaps and then played an entire half in the preseason opener.
Lindley knew what the plan was. Coach Bruce Arians had already made that clear, both to Lindley and the public. Thomas got the first game. And then Lindley would get the Minnesota game, and the practice reps that would come
with it this week.
"You just understand the situation," Lindley said. "B.A. coming out and saying I would get an opportunity in this game, that was encouraging and you can wait out a week."
Lindley's place is tenuous at best. Already, the battle for the third-quarterback slot seemed stacked against him because of Thomas' status as a fourth-round draft pick and his immense physical tools and upside. Then Thomas played very well in the preseason opener – looking better than he had at any point in practice – while completing 11 of 12 passes for 113 yards and a touchdown.
To this, Lindley isn't worried. The competition, he said, is with himself.
"Obviously I'm in a competition with him but at the end of the day I will be more frustrated with myself if I set that bar and I don't meet it," Lindley said. "(Logan) played awesome, he played a great game and I told him that afterward. He's taken everything he's learned and the mistakes he's made on the practice field and learned from them, and that's all you can ask from a guy."
Arians said Lindley will play the entire second half against the Vikings. He praised the 2012 sixth-round pick for helped coach Thomas when he gets a chance.
The reality is, since Lindley is not practice squad eligible, the battle to keep a job in Arizona will be difficult. Lindley did say he is much more comfortable in the offense than he was last year at this time, which is important. The last time he played in a game was the 2013 preseason finale in Denver.
ABRAHAM DUE "SOONER THAN NEXT WEEK"
General Manager Steve Keim said linebacker John Abraham should be in to camp "sooner than next week" and that he's expecting the veteran to be a part of the defense and aid the pass rush – just as he would have had he not missed any time.
Abraham has been absent to deal with a personal issue – Keim declined to say specifically – and said the return would be like a player coming back from injury.
"He has to work his way into playing shape and a guy coming off 11½ sacks at 35 years old, you'd like to think he's still going to be able to contribute," Keim said.
KEIM SAYS COOPER NEEDS TIME
Injured left guard Jonathan Cooper remained sidelined Wednesday with a turf toe. There is a chance he returns to
practice Thursday. Cooper has had his ups in downs in camp, but Keim said "I think at the end of the day he's still going to be the player that we thought.
"You just have to give him time," Keim added. "Time to knock off the rust."
Keim said that time will end up being "several weeks." That isn't ideal for a team looking to win the division, but Keim believes the Cardinals can weather Cooper's comeback from last year's broken leg.
"And you have to assess who is the alternative and how much better is he going to play than Coop," Keim said.
Right now, Earl Watford is filling in. Prior to Wednesday's practice, Arians said Watford had done OK in Cooper's absence, although he had made a couple of mistakes during Tuesday's work.
Defensive tackle Bruce Gaston left practice early with what looked like a knee injury, although he walked off. Still sitting out were Cooper, tackle Nate Potter (back), linebacker Kevin Minter (pectoral), wide receiver Ted Ginn (knee) and wide receiver Michael Floyd (groin).