Revisiting the Lindley option

Posted by Darren Urban on August 27, 2013 – 2:52 pm

After the Cardinals wrapped up their final practice before the Thursday preseason finale today, Bruce Arians talked about the importance of the game for the “Ryans” — QB Lindley and RB Williams. For Ryan Williams, we all know what that he needs to show where he is physically (although Arians said he was back at full speed.) For Lindley, it’s a little different. He’s been there, been playing. But Arians made it clear early in camp he might just keep two quarterbacks, and Palmer + Stanton = No Lindley.

Lindley’s Denver outing is about “making himself more valuable than the other four, five guys at the end of the roster,” Arians said.

Lindley is going to play a lot in Denver (and Palmer might not play at all.) Thus far, the second-year QB has completed 10-of-17 passes for 156 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions in the preseason. His 89.3 QB rating is actually best on the team. The decision is about “the other four, five guys at the end of the roster” and how Lindley stacks up. Is it worth keeping an extra linebacker over a third QB? An extra offensive lineman?

Arians has been on many teams with just two QBs. Here’s why I think they stick with Lindley: Because the alternative is dangerous. If they release Lindley, who isn’t practice squad eligible, they would likely need to find a practice-squad QB just in case, a guy who would have to play catch-up. Seems like it makes sense to keep Lindley for now.

— RB Rashard Mendenhall (knee) and TE Rob Housler (ankle) didn’t practice today. But most of the banged-up players were out there, like WR Andre Roberts, DT Dan Williams, OLB Matt Shaughnessy and TE D.C. Jefferson. That’s a good sign heading toward the opener.

— Arians said there are still a handful of roster spots he considers still up for grabs, including wide receiver, safety, cornerback, tight end and even offensive line.

— The Cards practiced in their new bubble in Tempe today for only the second time:


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Posted in Blog | 26 Comments »

26 Responses to “Revisiting the Lindley option”

  1. By DINO on Aug 27, 2013 | Reply

    I think Lindley will be a very good QB in time,we need to hold onto him! Shoot we’ve let go of quite afew players that we should’ve kept! Like William Powell,Rhodes etc.Now possibly Lindley?? I vote NO on cutting Lindley!

  2. By Dynosoar on Aug 27, 2013 | Reply

    So those who are on the bubble are practicing in the bubble?

    Looking forward to seeing the 53 man roster and if it changes after cuts for other teams.

  3. By Dr. G on Aug 27, 2013 | Reply

    Arians has little confidence in Lindley. If Palmer and Stanton go down for an extended period, Lindley would not provide the ability to guide the team to be a consistent winner. I would rather see a practice squad guy who can begin to learn the system and be ready for a major crisis….’cuz it would be if we had to use a 3rd QB… Sorry Ryan, you showed sheer panic under fire last year… experience will not improve on that much… Please don’t tell about your QB rating for the 2nd and 3rd string defenses of pre-season games. We wish you well, but this is a business…and the business is about winning!!!! Who will pick you up, pray tell???

  4. By Mark in Chandler on Aug 27, 2013 | Reply

    One of the challenges with Cooper designated to return is that he still counts towards the 53 (as I understand it). That likely means there may be 10 OL on the team (counter Cooper) where I think they were planning on 9. Rachal may make the team where I think he was on the edge otherwise. His and Wartford’s value increases with Cooper MIA.

    “Arians said there are still a handful of roster spots he considers still up for grabs, including wide receiver, safety, cornerback, tight end and even offensive line.”

    So along with Rachal/Wartford perhaps on the bubble who else? Here is my take:

    WR: 5 or 6? If they had 5 TEs worth keeping I think they stick with 5 WR. Here is the order I think the WR are currently ranked: 1-Brown, 2-Thomas, 3-Taylor and it all depends on how many they keep and if there are any serious injuries in Denver. Hawkins has a chance for the PS

    Safety: 3? 4? If 4 then I think it is between Amaya and Jefferson. Taylor has gotten some time but I have not been impressed. I think Amaya gets the nod if they go with 4 Safetys but I can see Jefferson making a push if he can show something on ST. Amaya’s strength is special teams but with so many other ST specialists they may decide that Jefferson has a bigger upside on defense.

    CB: The only real question here is whether Fleming is worth keeping. If the 4th safety brings more than the 6th corner then he is gone. I expect the Cards to shop him in the end like AJ Jefferson.

    TE: Housler, Dray for sure. But next… Who knows? Jefferson has looked good in run blocking but is scary inconsistent in receiving. Sperry has a “resume” but has not looked good in games. King needs to show he is healthy. I think they will shop King to see what is out there. Quinn? Gottleib?? I expect that 1-2 TES of the 4-5 TE that will be on the roster against the Rams are not currently on the roster. The final waiver will bring some TEs or a corner-TE trade may be in the works as well.

  5. By Darren Urban on Aug 27, 2013 | Reply

    Mark in Chandler —

    RE: IR/Cooper

    Anyone on IR, designated to return or otherwise, does not count against the 53.

  6. By Kevin S on Aug 27, 2013 | Reply

    Just looking at the qualifiers from last year, 20 starting QB’s played all 16 games, with the backup only occasionally getting in for mop-up duty or maybe to spell the QB for a series or two if he got his bell rung. Griffin, Palmer, Weeden, Sanchez and Cutler all missed a single game. Roethlisberger missed 3. That takes care of 26 teams. Of the other six, you had teams splitting time between two guys either because of injury or ineffectiveness (or in SF’s case, deciding one effective QB could be replaced by an even more effective one): the Eagles split time between Vick and Foles, Jacksonville between Gabbert and Henne, KC between Cassel and Quinn, Tennessee between Locker and Hasselbeck. and SF between Kaepernick and Smith. (Interestingly, both SF QB’s threw exactly 218 passes so neither were considered a qualifier for the season QB rating rankings — you needed to throw 224 to qualify). And then there were the Cards with Kolb, Skelton, Lindley and Hoyer. On most teams the backup barely plays, much less the third string guy… and as pointed about by Dr. G, if you’re on your 3rd guy because of injuries to the first two, you’re in crisis mode and the season’s lost anyway. I’d save the roster spot for a player who’s likely to play. If Palmer goes down, you start making phone calls to vet QB’s to come in in case Stanton also gets hurt.

  7. By Patrick Hoog aka Don't Take Losses on Aug 27, 2013 | Reply

    Impressed with the number and depth of posts by Darren and Josh. Way to go.

    From another post by Darren it appears BA has kept Housler under wraps on purpose. Lol, just love how BA operates. And Tom Moore is $$.

    DC has looked so so , but I recall Housler and Roberts looking bad for a whole year.. gotta cut these rooks some slack. Look at Faniaka … took him 3 seasons to catch on…

    Darren: what was up with Roberts stopping on the sprint route vs. SD? Brain cramp? Even if lights in eyes, gotta run, the defender may catch the ball if he’s not in the play. He took himself out of the play, hope was just a preseason error…

  8. By MostlyRight on Aug 27, 2013 | Reply

    So the bubble survived last night’s storm? I kind of wondered about that.

  9. By georgiebird on Aug 27, 2013 | Reply

    The question for BA is not two or three QBs but rather ‘does BA feel Lindley can eventually be a #1.’
    The Cards need everything to go perfect to have a chance for a wild card this year.(and things are not so good right now). If Palmer and Stanton were to go down, it would be next to impossible to make the playoffs.
    So if Lindley is a career backup (and BA should know), keep another good position player and go with two QBs.

  10. By Dr. G on Aug 27, 2013 | Reply

    Kevin S:…. Very astute research… Lots of work…Well done… Some fans just need to try to look past the emotional aspects. The Cardiac Cards of the past put us all on a roller coaster. This roster spot could end up being very valuable with Coop out… Be well…

  11. By credit card on Aug 27, 2013 | Reply

    Your top teams already know their roster. A true sign of a bottom tier team “many spots up for grabs”

  12. By DINO on Aug 27, 2013 | Reply

    Alright,I thought about it some.IF we can keep our 2 other QB’s upright,then we do have a shot at the Playoff’s! ‘Cause despite what San Diego did,our defense is still a top defense! And as long as our O-line can hold off defenders for our receivers-YEAH,Palmer & Stanton will do just fine.I actually think Stanton is out performing Palmer! But hey,whoever it is that gets us to the Playoffs!! I just wouldn’t want to see Lindley go-or #34 but that’s another topic! GO CARDINALS!!!

  13. By John The Draft Guy on Aug 27, 2013 | Reply

    Kevin S

    Well said. I totally agree.

  14. By ored on Aug 27, 2013 | Reply

    while i like lindley,i agree he’s most likely not a future starter and we need other positions strengths more,i see BA drafting a qb to groom next year.

  15. By Coach K on Aug 27, 2013 | Reply

    You have to keep Lindley. He has shown great improvement and he has a live arm. You just need to keep him.

  16. By clssylssy on Aug 27, 2013 | Reply

    So far, Lindley has had a surprisingly impressive showing in the preseason, no worse than Palmer or Stanton. While I don’t think he will ever be a #1, there is value in having dependable backups and with the prevalence of injuries already this season and seeing what can happen when a team loses there QB (BA should know this more than anyone with Payton Manning) having only two QB seems a little thin. The Redskins are on their #3 guy and are fortunate that Grossman is the
    talent he is. The Bills are already feeling the pressure of a lack of depth at QB as are the Jets. The Cards went through about four QBs last year and there isn’t a wealth of QB talent on the waiver wire to choose from so it seems prudent to hang on to Lindley who knows our system rather than roll the dice. I’ve never been a big Lindley fan but he seems to be working hard and “a bird in the hand is…better than the alternative, especially if that bird is a Cardinal!

  17. By Derek on Aug 27, 2013 | Reply

    The cardinals need to get rid of Lindley. There is a quarterback out there Peter Lalich that would be a great sideline quarterback for a year. Then get rid of Stanton after this year and let him go be a starter or another backup somewhere else. Peter has all the tools. 6’5″. Would have been a 1st rounder but he also had some troubles with the drink but seems to have put those behind him. Go check him out on youtube under Jeff Garcia’s camp.

  18. By William Nielsen on Aug 28, 2013 | Reply

    Hi Darren,

    Do you think that the Cards would look at Harvard Rugland as an option at kicker? He seems pretty good, and do they have anything to lose?

  19. By Darren Urban on Aug 28, 2013 | Reply

    William —

    RE: Rugland

    I’m not sure if they will do anything with kicker. Maybe they are good to go with Feely now. We’ll have a better grasp of that by Monday.

  20. By DINO on Aug 28, 2013 | Reply

    Bring back Richard Bartel over Lindley then! 🙂

  21. By HunterSThompson on Aug 28, 2013 | Reply

    Hi Darren,

    Have been wondering for a while if you could shed some light on the safety position for the Cardinals. Kerry Rhodes had an amazing season last year (the Patriots game comes to mind in particular) and his entire time here was solid. The guy is still a free agent – is the current crop of safeties on the roster ALL better than him???

    My guess is that the ugly truth behind him not having a job has more to do with a homophobic NFL culture than his on-field ability that is too obvious to miss. #sadbuttrue

  22. By Darren Urban on Aug 28, 2013 | Reply

    Hunter —

    RE: Rhodes

    The Cards wanted to keep Rhodes, but at their price. He turned them down. Look at the contracts the Cards are offering now.

    I thought Rhodes would be signed by now. But if he is waiting for $3M a year, he’s probably not going to have a job.

  23. By clssylssy on Aug 28, 2013 | Reply

    I can’t understand why Cardinal fans seem so down on Drew Stanton when, in fact, Palmer hasn’t looked much better in the preseason and Lindley has improved substantially. I think it has more to do with organizational politics than with actual skill, performance, or ability. Palmer does know his way around the NFL but is still far from a proven starter, riding off his success with the Bengals a long while ago.
    He may prove to have found a system that works for him but I think it’s too early to bet the farm that he won’t get injured or fold under the pressure of the regular season and all the intangibles that go with it. His track record isn’t great for wins in recent history and there is only so much blame to go around before the QB, as the team’s designated leader has to assume some of the blame. Fans say they trust in BA but don’t trust his judgement about Stanton? I find that somewhat hypocritical as well as arrogant; Coach BA KNOWS Stanton and is in a far better position to see how he functions within the team on a day-to-day basis than our fan “experts”. As Coach Shanahan stated when Kurt Cousins went down, “you can’t have too much talent at the QB position today in this league”. Checking the waiver wire, QBs are being snatched up as soon as they become available and even Matt Leinert has been signed (I hope this proves to be the opportunity he’s needed away from the west coast). I think there is a reason the 9ers are keeping 3-4 QBs as are other teams like the Redskins, Saints, Chiefs, Seahawks, etc. When watching other teams in preseason they all seem bigger and more physical than the Cards and I feel that resting the season on two QBs is kinda like driving without insurance!

  24. By sbrown on Aug 28, 2013 | Reply

    the 53 man roster will have a few “BA” surprises on it. IMO I think he only keeps 4 RB’s ( Mendenhall, Smith, Taylor,Ellington ) I think Williams is traded/cut. With the Cooper injury, now does BA keep another O-Lineman instead of a #3 QB, might need the OL depth incase of another injury on the line.
    If only 4 TE’s,( Housler, Dray, Gottlieb, Jefferson ) then I think 6 WR’s make the final roster( Fitz, Floyd, Roberts, Brown, Taylor, and either Thomas or Hawkins ).

  25. By Kevin S on Aug 29, 2013 | Reply

    Clssylssy —

    I think you’re overestimating either Lindley’s talent or the importance of your 3rd-string QB knowing the playbook. I mean, after watching Lindley last year, there’s no way you could think we would have been any worse if we had just picked up the best available vet QB who didn’t have a job and thrown him in there after a week of practices. In fact, last year we added Hoyer in mid-December and a week or two later he was playing, and he was more effective than Lindley. So unless you think Lindley has improved by a substantial margin (and I wouldn’t put too much stock in preseason because he looked pretty good last preseason as well — he was in the top 5 overall in the NFL in passing yards I think), it’s hard to imagine we’d be much worse off if we had to go with a guy off the street. As others have said, it would be different if you thought he could be the #1 guy someday… but most people agree he’s not.

  26. By Big Ken on Sep 1, 2013 | Reply

    Lindley is definitely a work in progress. I think you have to give BA and his staff a lot of credit for his relatively quick development. He’s looked better right now than he did at the beginning of camp. Trade bait?

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