The Cardinals turn to Drew Stanton at quarterback now that Carson Palmer broke his arm.
Carson Palmer could still go to injured reserve with his broken left arm, which would make for some difficult decisions about who would come off that list.
Or maybe, as the quarterback sought a second opinion Monday after the Cardinals returned from London in the wee hours of the morning, he could have a short enough stint out that he'd just stay on the active roster.
Coach Bruce Arians wasn't sure Monday afternoon, although he said he still believes Palmer needs surgery regardless. Arians said after the game Palmer's injury would sideline him eight weeks, but Palmer told Arians he was hoping it could be more like 4-to-6 weeks.
"I was saying 'that'd be great,' " Arians said with a chuckle.
It may be overly optimistic. Arians said if Palmer did go to IR, the team would "definitely" save one of the two IR-to-return moves they would have. Assuming running back David Johnson (wrist) would be one, Palmer's inclusion would mean rookie running back T.J. Logan (wrist) – who is closer than anyone to coming back – would have to remain on IR for the season.
Whatever the result, the team is now Drew Stanton's to quarterback. Arians reiterated that Monday, while praising new backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert. The team has carried two quarterbacks in the past, Arians said, so they are unlikely to add one anywhere but the practice squad.
(And if Palmer doesn't go to IR, he would also take up a roster spot.)
Arians said Stanton, who hasn't been getting any practice reps with the Cardinals' offense with Palmer playing, will benefit from that work now. Stanton struggled against the Rams, completing just 5-of-14 passes in a shutout loss. The Cards also get some extra time to prepare because they have a bye this weekend before playing in San Francisco in two weeks.
Still, "it doesn't matter when it happens," Stanton said. "It's never good. Last year I had to turn around and play in a Thursday night game (when Palmer got a concussion). I need to get prepared to play, and the nice thing is I have Blaine with me too and we have developed a good system of studying, a good rapport. I'll get coached up, trust what we are doing offensively, and pick up the pieces and move forward."
Stanton was signed to be the Cardinals' starter under Bruce Arians in 2013, at least until Palmer was acquired in a trade a few weeks later. In 2014, when Palmer missed games first with a shoulder injury and then after tearing his ACL against the Rams, Stanton stepped in to start eight games. The Cards went 5-3 in those starts before Stanton's own
season was ended with a knee injury – also against the Rams, in the second meeting of the season.
That year, Stanton completed 132-of-240 passes for 1,711 yards, seven touchdowns and five interceptions.
Palmer stayed healthy in 2015, and last season, Palmer missed one game – that Thursday game in San Francisco – because of a concussion (against the Rams). Stanton completed only 11-of-28 passes for 124 yards that game, but two went for touchdowns to Larry Fitzgerald and the Cardinals won.
"The beauty of this is we are a really good offense," Stanton said. "We have a Hall of Fame receiver, a Hall of Fame running back and it's my job to try and lead this offense in the right direction
"I have learned a lot from Carson sitting behind him, but I am also going to do things my way because I can't be Carson Palmer. I have learned that throughout the course of my career. Some things will look a little bit different. At the same time, the majority of the offense, because we have those playmakers, it's just finding a way to build that continuity and get the momentum back in our favor."
The Cardinals have nine games remaining, and at 3-4, would have to find momentum quickly to still be in the playoff hunt whenever they might be able to get Palmer back on the field.
"No one is going to throw a pity party for us as far as who is playing and who is not," Arians said. "We don't have David Johnson, we don't have Carson. We still have to find a game plan that wins. My job is to get our players ready to win."
Some of the top images from the game in London