Quarterback Ryan Lindley, here playing against Minnesota in the preseason, was re-signed Tuesday and could still end up as the No. 2 QB.
When the Cardinals chose rookie Logan Thomas over Ryan Lindley as their third quarterback near the end of training camp, they did so with the future in mind.
Now that Lindley is back – signed off the Chargers' practice squad Tuesday -- the present is a little murkier.
The Cardinals liked the idea of developing the raw-but-talented Thomas during practices this year behind entrenched starter Carson Palmer and backup Drew Stanton to see if he could become the quarterback of the future.
While that plan is still in motion, Palmer's season-ending ACL injury has forced the coaches to determine whether Lindley or Thomas is the better immediate candidate should they need a replacement for Stanton.
Lindley didn't play in a game last season but served as the No. 3 quarterback for coach Bruce Arians and started four games as a rookie in 2012. Thomas filled in after Stanton left the Broncos game with a concussion and finished 1-of-8 for 81 yards and a touchdown.
"That's yet to be determined right now," said Arians when asked who would be the No. 2 quarterback. "Today, Logan is the backup and we'll see how Ryan progresses back into our offense having been out a while."
Lindley said his familiarity with Arians' scheme played an integral role in accepting the active roster spot after spending 10 weeks in San Diego. He called it a "difficult" decision to leave the Chargers, and said the answer may have been different had it been another team requesting his service.
"That was a big thing about the decision," Lindley said. "If it was a random team that called, I probably would have been a little hesitant because I'm not sure what's going on. If you get thrown out there you're not super confident. In this case I think, yeah, I'd feel a little bit better if I did have to get thrown in there. We'll see what happens. I'm hoping Drew goes out there and lights it up every week and stays healthy. That's the plan."
STANTON'S BUSY WEEK
Stanton's second child, daughter Emeric, was born on Monday evening. He was back at the Cardinals' training facility on Wednesday, ready for the first day of practice heading into this week's showdown against the Lions.
"My wife let me go sneak around the corner and go into the other bedroom, so I got about six hours of sleep last night," Stanton said.
Stanton will set a career-high with his fourth start of the season against Detroit, and, barring injury, he will be the guy the rest of the way as the Cardinals hope to keep their Super Bowl aspirations alive.
Adding to the drama, he faces a Lions team which he rooted for growing up and the one that drafted him in the second round in 2007. Between the birth, the injury to Palmer and playing the Lions, Stanton was asked if this was the biggest week of his life.
"I was probably a little bit more nervous when I had to ask my father-in-law to marry my wife," he said. "That was a little bit more nerve-wracking than anything I've probably done. I think having the maturity to handle it now, being 30 years old, being in this league and trying to take the approach of one day at a time getting prepared for these guys.
"When I'm here, it's 100 percent football and when I go home it's 100 percent my family. That's the way I learned at a young age and that's what's allowed me to have success."
STEPFAN TAYLOR RETURNS TO PRACTICE
Running back Stepfan Taylor (calf) was back at practice in a limited capacity after missing the past two games. If he can play against the Lions, Taylor could return to his role as Andre Ellington's backup. Other Cardinals limited at practice on Wednesday were Ellington (foot), safety Deone Bucannon (quad), linebacker Lorenzo Alexander (knee) and defensive tackle Dan Williams (elbow).
Linebacker Desmond Bishop (hamstring) and defensive end Ed Stinson (toe) did not practice.
For Detroit, running back Reggie Bush (ankle), defensive tackle Nick Fairley (knee), wide receiver Calvin Johnson (ankle) and guard Larry Warford (knee) missed practice. Long snapper Don Muhlbach (ankle) and tackle LaAdrian Waddle (knee) were limited.
FITZGERALD PICKED AS CARDINALS' "SALUTE TO SERVICE" NOMINEE
Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald has been chosen as the Cardinals' "Salute to Service" award nominee. Each team in the NFL selected a player, coach or member of the front office who has shown an exemplary commitment to honoring and supporting the military.
Fitzgerald held a free two-day camp at Luke Air Force Base for 130 children in October. Earlier this year he did a fly-along on an F-16 at Luke Air Force Base to help promote the base's Open House and Air Show that weekend. He has twice joined fellow NFL stars on week-long trips to Iraq and Afghanistan to meet thousands of active troops.
BAUMAN RELEASED FROM PRACTICE SQUAD
The Cardinals released running back Zach Bauman from the practice squad and added cornerback Darren Woodard. The return of Taylor to practice left the Cardinals with enough healthy running backs as they currently have five on the active roster.
Images of the Cardinals cheerleaders during the game against St. Louis