NFL Wire News

Lindley will start one of Cardinals’ biggest games


TEMPE, Ariz. — Arizona’s game against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday is one of the most important in the Cardinals’ history in Arizona. So it’s an inopportune time to start a third-team quarterback who wasn’t even on the roster to start the season.

But that’s the situation in which the Cardinals find themselves. Quarterback Drew Stanton (sprained knee) is week to week, and coach Bruce Arians has named Ryan Lindley the starter.

A sixth-round pick in 2012, Lindley was cut near the end of camp this year in favor of rookie Logan Thomas. But when Carson Palmer went down with a knee injury, the Cardinals re-signed Lindley. And Arians is starting him over Thomas because of his experience.

That experience has not been productive. Lindley played last week for the first time since starting four games in 2012.

He has attempted 181 passes in his career and has no touchdowns to show for it. That’s the longest streak in NFL history, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

“I plan on breaking that streak,” Lindley said. “It’s something exciting, part of the opportunity.”

The Cardinals are eight-point underdogs, which is understandable. Seattle is playing well, and the Cardinals are down to their third-team quarterback.

But the Cardinals can win this game. They won in Seattle a year ago despite Palmer having four passes intercepted. They should have been in the game at Seattle this year, but a missed field goal and dropped touchdown pass in the first half doomed them.

Lindley is not the same player he was in 2012, Arians said.

“I think at that point he was playing with a lot of injured guys,” he said. “I looked at him only physically, not what he was doing on the field. He could throw the football. I didn’t try to judge guys too much on what happened before we got here, just after we got here and how they prepared.”

Lindley will be more than a game manager, Arians said. The coach likes to throw deep, so don’t expect him to back away from that.

But to win, the Cardinals will need a productive running game, stout defense and efficient special teams play.

Lindley, Arians said, should “just be himself. Just take the game plan and execute it. Throw it accurately and don’t try to be a hero and force things. But don’t play scared. Play smart.”

SERIES HISTORY: 32nd meeting. The Cardinals lead 16-15. The Seahawks won 19-3 earlier this season. The Cardinals thought they could have made it interesting had they not missed a field goal and dropped a touchdown pass in the first half. The Cardinals limited Marshawn Lynch to 39 yards but quarterback Russell Wilson hurt them with his scrambling, rushing for 73 yards on 10 carries.

NOTES: QB Drew Stanton has a sprained knee and is week to week. Stanton appeared to be moving around well Wednesday but it’s doubtful he could play against the Seahawks on Sunday. Ryan Lindley is expected to start. … OG Paul Fanaika missed the last two games with a sprained ankle and is practicing on a limited basis this week. Arians has not said whether Fanaika will return to his starting spot when he is healthy. … WR Jaron Brown is missing practice time this week because of a toe injury. His status for Sunday likely will be questionable. … FS Tyrann Mathieu is expected to be available to play this week after missing a game due to a fractured thumb.

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