A tale of four quarterbacks

Posted by Darren Urban on December 25, 2014 – 9:19 pm

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

The former was 2009, with Kurt Warner, or 2013 when Carson Palmer took every snap at quarterback for the Cardinals. The Cards had quarterback stability because they stayed (pretty) healthy and because Warner and Palmer were good. It’s what you need in the NFL to win. The worst of times, well, the Cardinals have done that too. When you are on a merry-go-round of quarterbacks in a season, it turns painful. The Cards did that in 2010, when Derek Anderson was backed up by rookies Max Hall and John Skelton (with a sprinkling of Rich Bartel at the end of the season). They did it in 2012, when Skelton and Kevin Kolb traded starts and injuries and then ineffectiveness leading to then-rookie Ryan Lindley (and a sprinkling of Brian Hoyer at the end of the season.)

Those years were totally different than this one, of course. The Cardinals struggled in those years. They weren’t battling for a division title going into the final regular-season game and they certainly weren’t playoff bound regardless. The Cards have only played four quarterbacks this season because of injury, not because of choice. That’s good, but it’s bad too. As offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin said Christmas afternoon, “Week-to-week different quarterback, do you like it? No.” It certainly isn’t a present you want to find under your tree.

Monday Bruce Arians said he was leaning toward starting Logan Thomas unless he saw something in practice that made him change his mind, and then Thursday came the Kent Somers report that the Cards would instead start Lindley again. Either way, the Cardinals are trying to find the best option — especially if Drew Stanton can’t come back from his knee injury for the first playoff game.

UPDATE: Ian Rapoport is reporting Stanton had to have arthroscopic surgery because of an infection and could be done for the season.

“All our quarterbacks looked good, even the kid (Jeff Mathews) we have on practice squad now,” Goodwin said after practice (which is closed to the media) Thursday. “We’ll be OK no matter what.”

The Cardinals don’t really have a choice at looking at it any other way. Lindley or Thomas, Nos. 3 and 4, are the options — perhaps even as the Cards play in the playoffs.

“If they both go out this week and throw for 300 (yards), that’d be great,” wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald said.


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39 Responses to “A tale of four quarterbacks”

  1. By NJAzCardsFan on Dec 25, 2014 | Reply

    Lindley starting again…??? Well this is one game I am going to miss…. No sense in watching an ugly beatdown…… This will be the safest bet ever in NFL history…..

  2. By red bird of death! on Dec 25, 2014 | Reply

    Yeah Cmon let Thomas start Lindley has just been terrible every time. I had a small get together at my condo a while back to celebrate Lindley going away, just let the rookie off the leash!

  3. By rod on Dec 25, 2014 | Reply

    Oh my God this makes me sad…
    giving Lindley the nod makes this team so bad.

    If only we’d been lite with injuries, and the occasional suspension or cut…
    the Cardinals would have seized the opportunity, to lead us right to a Superbowl precession in our hut.

    So now I’m looking forward to next year and the 2015 task…
    I have all the faith in the world that they’ll get it done, those men we call BASK.

    : )

  4. By Canadian Redbird on Dec 25, 2014 | Reply


    I wish I could say I have faith in Lindley however his track record of making poor throws compromising the receivers worries me. I love the way all of our receivers compete for the ball and would enjoy having the full compliment Day 1 of playoffs. Hope that Stanton will be ready sooner than later.

    Do you know the scenario of who we would be playing considering a Seattle win and a Cardinal win or loss. Some experts say we would play either Atlanta/ Carolina and others say Dallas.

    Hope you had a good Christmas. Always enjoy your posts. Whatever happens, its been an enjoyable year being a Cardinal fan.

  5. By BirdofFaith on Dec 26, 2014 | Reply

    Embarrassing is the best way to put it ! Why do we still have Lindley and why was he kept in 13 ?? We should have just kept Skelton behind Stanton. Logan Thomas is practice squad and not ready for prime time ! Arians is not taking the position seriously, he is justifying his Lindley move. Having a guy knowing the system and being able to execute it are two different things, especially in Lindley’s case ! Get Skelton back so he could backup Stanton in the playoffs, enough trying out Lindley !

  6. By Amir on Dec 26, 2014 | Reply

    God help us all if Lindley starts… or ever play again for us. He is beyond terrible. Is Logan that bad???

  7. By Marcelof on Dec 26, 2014 | Reply

    I just can’t believe it….

    Thomas might have been quite “shaky” to be worse than Lindley at practice, that’s the only reason …. I’d rather start Matthews over Lindley, he’s by far the worst QB I’ve ever seen playing.

    His throws make me sick and so do his decisions overthrowing and misfiring the receivers all the time.

    Won’t watch the game if Lindley plays…

  8. By shannon robinson on Dec 26, 2014 | Reply

    Hit the open guy with an accurate pass he can catch in full stride. Of course we’ve got to give our QB the necessary protection and time.

  9. By JohnnyBluenose on Dec 26, 2014 | Reply

    Unless I am mistaken, Thomas has only played a total of one play since we played Denver on Oct 5th. And because our practices are closed to the media, no one other than teammates and coaches have seen him play since then. If Arians has more confidence in Lindley, who has only been on the team about six weeks, than he does in Thomas, it makes me wonder why that is. Eventhough Lindley has been in the league a few years and has played in a handful of games, he has had no success. I heard a commentator suggest that Thomas does not have a command of the playbook. Really? That’s been his only job for the past nine months. To learn the playbook. And he can’t manage that? Even a pared down version of our playbook? Maybe those who suggested that Thomas would eventually end up playing tight end will be proven right. Thomas and Fells as our tight ends may not be a bad combination. Regardless of who our quarterback is on Sunday I hope Arians does a better job of play-calling than he did last week. And I hope he has the good sense to rest our starters, especially our “walking wounded” as we get ready for the play-offs. You know…the games that really count.

  10. By gbrim on Dec 26, 2014 | Reply

    I know Darren thinks this is no reflection on Thomas’ progress since he wasn’t expected to play this year anyway, but if you are clearly worse right now than a QB that has been miserable in every outing of his NFL career, that is reason for concern. Maybe he wasn’t expected to play, but under these circumstances you would hope he would be a better choice now than he has proven to be.

    Keim says he likes to draft a QB most years. I hope he does just that somewhere during the ’15 draft. Palmer won’t last forever and Stanton is under contract for only one more year. Clearly BA needs some options to compete with Thomas going forward.

  11. By hminus on Dec 26, 2014 | Reply

    Even an average qb will look pretty competent w/a decent run game,but if we rush 15 times for 29 yards again,expect it to get ugly…

  12. By louis on Dec 26, 2014 | Reply

    LIke i said the same old cards keep dreaming cards fans . It is time to move on to a real football team . Happy NewYear.

  13. By Cardsfan52MLB on Dec 26, 2014 | Reply

    I am a little disappointed that Lindley will get the start against the 9ers. With Lindley, I don’t feel he can make the plays that are needed for this game to stay competitive. I know Thomas has no film or experience to instill confidence in the coaching staff to allow him the start but I think the arm talent and athletic ability will provide the spark this team needs on offence. I feel with Thomas, Williams, Housler, Fells, and Fitzgerald we have a strong pool of dynamic players to keep the 9ers guessing. Here’s to hoping we beat the 9ers and the Rams go into Seattle and beat the Hawks.

    Go Cardinals!

    P.S. I saw a post in one of the blogs regarding a chant for the Cardinals. I strongly agree, when we were on D last Sunday I constantly screamed “LETS GO CARDINALS!” or “LETS GO DEFENSE!” I have yet to get my voice back. We do need a chant of our own. And we also need a video or a message on the video board when we are on offence stating something to the effect of ” Quiet down Red Sea, Offense at work!” I know some fans are not aware that we need to be as silent as possible when our Cards are on offense.

    Thank you

  14. By clssylssy on Dec 26, 2014 | Reply

    Same franchise, different verse. Seems the Cards have done the QB carosel before and it ended in the firing of the only coach to win the Division two years in a row and take us to minutes from winning a SB. Well, it seems we didn’t learn anything about planning for the future and here we are again, now questioning if Logan Thomas is going to be our project for the future or if he will be yet another casualty of a team having to burn him prematurely out of necessity.
    I have watched the 9ers play and have to give them credit for playing like animals last week; they are a team loaded with talent but besieged with internal issues and instability. Nonetheless, they are not to be taken lightly as a division rival, and this will be a fight. We are, on the other hand, loaded with talent and stability but lacking in experience playing down in the dirt, smashmouth tough. I’m not the eternal optimist that some on this site are, but believe we have been slapped back into a realization that our season record isn’t enough to get us where we want to be, and it will take hunger, focus, toughness and intensity to persevere and leave the 9ers with the knowledge that we could be them under the worse circumstances. They have a tendency to fall apart in the third-fourth quarter which is when we get hot, so, maybe Coach BA has decided to start Lindley and then switch to Thomas with the hope that we came away with a valuable life lesson and Lindley can manage the game for Thomas to finish (do we know how good or bad Thomas really is?).
    Lindley didn’t make this team bad, they have been playing all season and he had a week! Time to put that behind us and grow a set going forward. Play Smart and Finish Strong…make them earn every yard the hard way.

  15. By Patrick Hoog aka Don't Take Losses on Dec 26, 2014 | Reply

    Hoping the D steps up and we can run it own their throats. That jumbo package with 2 extra OL as TEs looked pretty good few weeks ago with Keryn behind…

    Otherwise, we could take the beatdown mentioned above. Hope for best, prepare for worst…

  16. By j30red on Dec 26, 2014 | Reply

    Lindley has had a chance to prove himself as a starter and has failed miserably. I cannot imagine that Logan Thomas is that bad of a quarterback at this point in his rookie career to not at least warrant a shot at leading the team. Other rookie quaterbacks around the league have had a chance to play and gain the necessary playing experience to grow as a QB. Why not our rookie? I respect Arians as a great couch but he got this one wrong!

  17. By geggam on Dec 26, 2014 | Reply

    Well, BA has done a good job so far. I suppose the fickle among us will be quick to disregard his judgement.

    Look at the record and wake up ?

    If BA says Lindley is the best option then he is the best option.

  18. By Patrick Hoog aka Don't Take Losses on Dec 26, 2014 | Reply

    OMG: if Stanton has that MRSA infection, wow…I had it, was on 2x/dy 1hr IVs for 2 weeks to kill it…common NFL and hospital infection

  19. By Darren Urban on Dec 26, 2014 | Reply

    DTL —

    RE: Infection

    How do you know what kind of infection it is?

  20. By geggam on Dec 26, 2014 | Reply

    BA has put this franchise in a playoff spot. regardless of your or anyone else’s opinion, If he says Lindley is the best option then I am of the opinion that is likely true.

    At some point the game slows down for a new QB. Maybe pray to football jesus that happens to Lindley ?

  21. By Cardsfan52MLB on Dec 26, 2014 | Reply


    Can you confirm the Ian Rapoport report that Stanton has undergone arthroscopic surgery?

  22. By Darren Urban on Dec 26, 2014 | Reply

    Cardsfan —

    RE: Stanton surgery

  23. By Judy Beatty on Dec 26, 2014 | Reply

    I’m thinking about not renewing my season tickets if Lindley starts the game on Sunday. I cannot watch another game like last Sunday. They should have to return our money for last Sunday’s game.

  24. By Patrick Hoog aka Don't Take Losses on Dec 26, 2014 | Reply

    … please look for an argument elsewhere… don’t know of course, didn’t say I did…” if Stanton has that MRSA infection, wow..” but educated guess…did discuss with my bro who is surgeon, its very common infection in joint, when I was getting IVs at Piper Cancer center, a couple dozen others in a class room like setup in circle, all on drip IV antibiotics, we all talked, ALL had MRSA, most had in joint or skin where penetrated during out patient or minor scope procedure, turns out patient and hospitals are NOT clean, most got infected in a medical facility, during surgical procedure, has been national pandemic since 2005:

    “Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection is caused by a strain of staph bacteria that’s become resistant to the antibiotics commonly used to treat ordinary staph infections.

    Most MRSA infections occur in people who’ve been in hospitals or other health care settings, such as nursing homes and dialysis centers. When it occurs in these settings, it’s known as health care-associated MRSA (HA-MRSA). HA-MRSA infections typically are associated with invasive procedures or devices, such as surgeries, intravenous tubing or artificial joints.

    Another type of MRSA infection has occurred in the wider community — among healthy people. This form, community-associated MRSA (CA-MRSA), often begins as a painful skin boil. It’s spread by skin-to-skin contact. At-risk populations include groups such as high school wrestlers, child care workers and people who live in crowded conditions.”

  25. By Dave on Dec 26, 2014 | Reply

    As a Cards fan for over 40 years, I have always been an optimist, for good reason. With the news of Stanton’s surgery and likelihood his season is over, I must accept the facts and be a realist; the Cards season is over. There is no possible way, with Ryan Lindley or Logan Thomas the Cards can win even 1 playoff game and it doesn’t matter who we play. With either QB playing, the defense can only do so much being on the field after 3 and out’s on almost every series. Reality of multiple opportunities for the “other team” along with understandable fatigue on the defense spells certain disaster. It was a GREAT run but reality is, we have zero chance with either of these QB’s at the helm. It is what it is.

  26. By krehbieo14 on Dec 26, 2014 | Reply

    As poorly as Lindley has performed, he has never taken a snap on a Cards team that was firing on all cylinders. Unfortunately for him, he has been thrust into situations where the entire team was outplayed in all facets of the game. Lindley should not be the scapegoat for poor tackling, dropped passes, lousy line play on both sides of the ball, and special teams ineptness and a lame running game. We have no other option. We can whine or get behind the guy. I prefer to support the Cards choices as we move forward.

  27. By Andrew S. on Dec 26, 2014 | Reply

    While I know that I am in the distinct minority, I happen to think that Lindley did not do as horribly as everyone says. To wit: 1) he did not fumble; 2) his only interception was near the end of the game during “Hail Mary” time; 3) there were a number of drops. No doubt, there were accuracy issues, but he kept his composure against the hottest defense in football. Meanwhile, the Cardinals’ defense did not show up and a running game regressed, putting more pressure on the passing game. Look, he is a third-string quarterback, but people need to get over it and support Lindley and the Cardinals. They will be underdogs to the 49’s but the game is win-able. In situations like these, you just try to keep moving forward.

  28. By Richard S on Dec 26, 2014 | Reply

    When Whiz was the coach and the Cards made their first playoff appearance, I thought that experience would bode well for the future as more work for the players, more practices, more games. I read in the San Francisco Examiner though that one of the reasons that team is falling apart is that they’ve had too many post season appearances and the players got worn down from all the activity. I wonder if it’s good or bad for future years if you make the playoffs.

  29. By Eric G on Dec 26, 2014 | Reply

    Gotta believe Bruce is protecting the rookie, and maybe giving lindley a shot at that td. Hope BA pulls Lindley when he stinks it up in the first half

  30. By Gabe on Dec 26, 2014 | Reply

    Why not let Fitz start at QB? He has a great arm, knows the offense and could be a big threat on the ground. If not, there will be 24 starting QB’s sitting on their couches come Monday! We need a solution, not a bandaid. This season was too great to put it on the shoulders of someone who has yet to throw a TD in the NFL.

  31. By clssylssy on Dec 26, 2014 | Reply

    Richard S and all
    There’s an old saying that says not to believe everything you hear (read) and only half of what you see which would seem to apply especially to football. The media can’t get their stories straight, or are fed misinformation which they are only too happy to run with! Who really knows these days what’s going on with the team…Darren doesn’t get to attend full practices so can only write what he’s told.
    We really have only seen Lindley play under the most horrendous circumstances, against the league Champs with no supporting cast (the limited time we saw him two years ago were under almost the same circumstances) and so what choice do we have but to get behind him and hope the team decides to show up for this last regular season game. We have accomplished more against better teams so now is the time to make our stand with our guys…or, like Judy, get off the bandwagon and don’t let the door hit ya on the way out! We made the playoffs this year, and won all but one of our home games. It may not be the outcome we had hoped for but, it’s a beginning and positive step in the right direction. Let’s go into San Francisco and stand or fall as a Band of Brothers with pride. Together we can Finish Strong!

  32. By JohnnyBluenose on Dec 26, 2014 | Reply

    @Judy Beatty…..if you don’t think you got your money’s worth this year then you don’t know anything about football. And I don’t believe you are a season ticket holder.

  33. By JohnnyBluenose on Dec 26, 2014 | Reply

    @Richard S……consistently winning their division and playing multiple post-season games over the past dozen years does not seem to have negatively affected the Patriots.

  34. By mben123 on Dec 27, 2014 | Reply

    Lindley is Not very good, he knows the offense better then Thomas, doesn’t look scared like thomas and if were going to send a QB out to get banged up it might as well be Linley instead of Thomas who could be our future.
    They should seriously consider grabbing up Tebow for minimum wage, he is big like BR likes he can take a hit and he has playoff experience. He couldn’t do worse then Lindley.
    If they had done that with Vick the year Warner retired we could have gotten to the big show again with Fitz and Boldin there for his last year. They need to take advantage of the minimum cash out put and see what the QB whisperer can do with Tebow.

  35. By Lee W. Flanagan on Dec 27, 2014 | Reply

    Yes Lindley didn’t really do all that bad against Seattle. But it’s just a matter of perspective. However, if the receivers would have caught all his catchable passes. And iffff the defense would have kept Seattle to let’s just say to 15 points. Would the Cardinals have won the game?…Probably not. That’s what everyone is fussin’ about. If the same happened to Palmer..probably, Stanton..maybe, Thomas…never know,and Lindley. .absolutely not.

  36. By SammyK on Dec 28, 2014 | Reply

    I read where someone was suggesting bringing back Skelton so I googled him when he was competing against Kolb in camp, here is what a writer had to say.

    ”Skelton, on the other hand, is an improvisational playmaker with a flair for the dramatic. He plays with a bit of a sandlot mentality and his willingness to take chances with the ball has produced some of the Cardinals’ best plays the past two seasons. Skelton utilized those impromptu skills to make several key plays in practice. For instance, he scored on a naked bootleg during a spirited goal-line drill that was originally called as a power run in the huddle. Although Skelton kept the ball at the urging of his coaches, it is that kind of improvisation that leads to points for the Cardinals’ offense. Another benefit of Skelton’s carefree attitude is his willingness to test the defense with vertical throws. He repeatedly threw the ball over the top of the defense with success after eluding a free rusher in the pocket. With explosive plays valued at a premium, Skelton’s ability to generate big gains could land him the starting job at the end of training camp.”

    What happened, was he coached wrong or was it line issues or what that year ? I agree he should have been kept and the kinks worked out !

  37. By Kevin S Mesa on Dec 28, 2014 | Reply

    Judy Beatty —

    The team goes 7-0 at home, including nail-biter wins against several good teams (Philly, SD) and a win over the hated 49ers, and you’re not going to renew your season tickets when — because of injuries — we have to start a 3rd stringer a couple games? Tell me, please, what NFL team has a 3rd string QB that is likely to be able to beat the Seahawks when they have the division title on the line and, prior to the game against us where Lindley started, their D had allowed 27 points in 4 games? How do you think the game would’ve turned out if we still had Palmer and Wilson had gotten hurt a few weeks ago, Tavaris Jackson had been playing, and then Jackson got hurt in the game a week before ours and Seattle had to bring up BJ Daniels from the practice squad?

    Look, I get that everyone is frustrated that Lindley isn’t that good and it feels like a team that could’ve potentially gone deep in the playoffs now is in danger of being bounced out in the first round by a sub-.500 team. But show me an NFL team where a 3rd string QB playing with one week of practice with the first stringers is going to go out and play well against the league’s top defense. Imagine the Packers, Patriots, Colts, etc. not only without their top QB but without their backup.

    If you don’t want your tickets any more, you must not have had them very long. I can totally understand people not renewing their tickets after we went through the Anderson/Hall/Skelton/Kolb years. Not renewing them now? This is the best two years of Cardinals football since the team has moved to Arizona.

  38. By Elcee on Dec 28, 2014 | Reply

    What depressing, no-talent quarterback we have. The thing is that our record was so good this year that there is little chance that we can even get another decent quarterback.

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