NFL Wire News

Cards hope Stanton returns for playoffs


TEMPE, Ariz. — The Arizona Cardinals hope that quarterback Drew Stanton will be ready for the playoffs after missing the final two regular-season games with a sprained knee.

Meanwhile, they are trying to get through the regular season with young quarterbacks who either have no experience (rookie Logan Thomas) or little experience (third-year pro Ryan Lindley).

Lindley played poorly in his start last week against the Seattle Seahawks and was a major reason the Cardinals couldn’t stay competitive in the game.

This week, coach Bruce Arians will start Thomas in San Francisco. Arians said the decision was no reflection on Lindley, but there is little doubt that if Lindley played better against Seattle, he would be starting against the 49ers.

“I think we need to find out what (Thomas) can do for the future and the playoffs, if it were to come to that,” Arians said. “That’s my job, to make sure that we cover every base.”

The Cardinals have an outside chance of winning the NFC West title. They would need to beat the 49ers and have the St. Louis Rams upset Seattle. It is far more realistic that Arizona will be the fifth seed and play the NFC South champion, either the Carolina Panthers or Atlanta Falcons, on the road in the first round of the postseason.

Arizona stands a better chance of winning that playoff game with Stanton at quarterback, so it isn’t going to rush him to play against the 49ers.

“I have very, very high optimism because he wants to be ready (for the playoffs),” Arians said. “I think had he not had that minor setback last year, he would have probably tried to play in that one.”

Stanton practiced on a limited basis last Thursday but experienced swelling and didn’t practice Friday.

“It’s not the end of the road for us,” Arians said of losing to the Seahawks. “We’re in the tournament. Where we’re going or how we’re going is all yet to be determined.”

–This will be the second time in three seasons the Cardinals will start four quarterbacks. They did it in 2012. Ryan Lindley was in the mix then, too, along with John Skelton, Kevin Kolb and Brian Hoyer.

–Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald needs one touchdown catch to become the 10th player in NFL history to record 90 receiving touchdowns and 12,000 receiving yards in a career. He would be the only active player on the list.

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