With Drew Stanton (right) hurt, the Cardinals again turn to Ryan Lindley (14) at quarterback -- and may need him for the playoffs as well.
Drew Stanton is home, rehabbing after reported arthroscopic surgery on his injured knee and coach Bruce Arians said the quarterback "is on schedule" to return next week.
Ryan Lindley is back as the Cardinals' starting quarterback, not because Stanton has had a setback but because rookie Logan Thomas showed at Wednesday's practice he was not ready to be the starter – as Arians had said Monday he would be.
It's not the scenario the Cardinals wanted heading into their regular-season finale at San Francisco, knowing their first playoff game barring a Rams' upset in Seattle is only a week away. But it's the scenario with which the Cardinals must deal.
Arians said Stanton's status had no impact on why he decided to move back to Lindley so quickly. Stanton reportedly had an infection in
the knee – a problem that could jeopardize his availability for the playoffs -- but Arians only said Stanton could still return.
"I have no idea about infections and all that," Arians said. "You can talk to doctors about that stuff. He's on schedule for next week."
Arians emphasized it was Thomas' struggle in one practice as a starter that changed his mind for the game Sunday.
"The ball wasn't in the spots it needed to be," Arians said. "He was throwing it well but not to the right guys. He just hasn't had enough reps to be able to go against this defense which is one of the best five defenses in the National Football League.
"It was probably a poor decision on my part to early-announce it (Monday) but it is what it is and we will do what we need to do to win the football game, and that's to start Ryan."
Neither Lindley nor Thomas was available to speak to the media.
Arians insisted he still thinks Thomas can develop into a "hell of a player."
"I was hoping he'd be able to handle it, but it's not the time right now," Arians added.
Getting Lindley prepared for the 49ers has been the top goal right now. Arians said running back Kerwynn Williams, who had just two carries against the Seahawks, will get more work against the 49ers, and said the Cardinals should run the ball more often overall anyway. Arians had already said he made a mistake by not running more against the Seahawks.
Lindley only completed 18 of 44 passes for 216 yards and one interception against the Seahawks, and he holds the NFL record for most attempts (225) to begin a career without a touchdown pass. Arians again defended Lindley's showing against Seattle, saying it wasn't filled with turnovers and that the rest of the offense also needed to play better.
Arians noted receivers missing "a couple balls we need to catch" and brought up the third-down false start inside the Seattle 5 (by guard Ted Larsen) which hurt a touchdown opportunity in a 35-6 loss.
"He'll be fine," Arians said. "Ryan damn sure didn't lose that game."
Arians was asked if Stanton returning for the playoffs remained the best-case scenario and Arians said that was what the Cardinals have been hoping for all along. If Stanton can't come back, it'll fall on the shoulders of Lindley going forward, unless the Cards make an unexpected roster move.
"If your defense shuts the other team out, you're not going to lose," Arians said. "That doesn't have a damn thing to do with the quarterback. Simple. Hopefully we'll scratch out some more points and win the game."
FOOTE COULD MISS SUNDAY'S GAME
Inside linebacker Larry Foote missed his third straight practice and is listed as doubtful. The veteran has missed only one defensive snap all season. Kevin Minter, Glenn Carson and Kenny Demens all will have a chance to shore up the position. Stanton is also out.
Safety Deone Bucannon (knee), tight end John Carlson (calf), guard Jonathan Cooper (wrist) and defensive tackle Dan Williams (foot) are all questionable.
For the 49ers, starting guard Alex Boone (knee) was placed on injured reserve, ending his season. Running back Carlos Hyde (ankle), wide receiver Steve Johnson (knee) and safety Eric Reid (concussion) are out. Cornerbacks Tramaine Brock (hamstring) and Perrish Cox (shoulder), linebacker Ahmad Brooks (thumb) and wide receiver Bruce Ellington (hamstring) are questionable.