No lackluster for Lindley
When the Arizona Cardinals drafted quarterback Logan Thomas in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL draft, Ryan Lindley knew his days with the team were numbered. The Cardinals as of now have four quarterbacks on their current roster. That is too many quarterbacks for head coach Bruce Arians, and with the guarantee from coach that Drew Stanton is the clear cut back up to Carson Palmer, and a rookie quarterback that draws many comparisons to Cam Newton with a rocket arm, Lindley is smart enough to know that he just very well may be the odd man out.
Yet despite his potential demise from the team, the three-year veteran quarterback is still around when others are not. In a time when veterans are disbursing for the summer, Lindley is there devoting his time by lifting weights and studying film.
Lindley was of course thrust into the starting lineup his rookie season (2012) by the old regime. He did not even expect to make the team last season under the new regime. When Arians took over as coach last season, he thought of only keeping just two quarterbacks on the roster (Palmer and Stanton). However, Lindley played well enough in the final game of the 2013 preseason against the Broncos to convince Arians to keep a third quarterback on the roster. Yet Lindley has not seen live action on the field since that preseason game.
We are now one year removed coach Arians rookie campaign as a head coach, as well as his thoughts on only carrying just two quarterbacks on the regular season roster. He still may only want to roll with two gunslinger QB’s, but with players such as Palmer, Stanton and Thomas having been brought in by his own fruition, he could easily go with three again. That being said, you would think the future does not bode well for Lindley seeing as how he was drafted while Whisenhunt was still at the helm.
Nonetheless, Arians still insists that nothing is set in stone. Does this mean that Lindley might still very well have a chance to crack the roster?
“I’m going to keep the best three. Or the best two,” Arians said. “Neither one is guaranteed anything.”
Arians also stresses that training camp and preseason will be the determining factor on who he wants to keep.
Still Lindley says he’s “pretty much numb to the business,” after a 2012 rookie campaign in which he started four games while appearing in seven of them, and not throwing a single touchdown to seven interceptions. Not to mention sitting on the bench all of last season after not being sure if he would even make the team. So why is this kid still even on the team? It could be for the simple reason that Arians loves his resiliency under scrutiny.
“He can take ass chewing’s as well as anybody and bounce right back,” Arians said.
Lindley admits though that last season was a bit of a learning experience for him after watching Palmer’s work ethic and study habits. He also was able to see how Stanton prepared for his role as a backup.
“To be honest, I didn’t have a guy like that my rookie year who could show me how to spend that time in the film room, how to see different intricacies of what defenses do,” Lindley said.
So with that comes the battle for third string amongst Lindley and Thomas. Arians shows praise for Lindley, but many including him see a lot more potential in the rookie (Thomas), and they seem to have a good idea on the type of player that Thomas could indeed turn out to be. However even he still has a long way to go.
It will be interesting to see how the ensuing battle for the No. 3 quarterback carries over into training camp, but there is no doubt that coach Arians will be keeping a close eye on how it turns out.
“As a Number three especially you better show a bright future,” Arians said. “You have to flash enough to have someone say, ‘This guy could be something in a few years.’
“The battle for No. 3 is always, ‘Is he smart enough to play the game, can he process, if he is throwing interceptions, why? If he’s not accurate, why? Can you fix it?’ If not, why keep him?”
There is no lackluster in Lindley though when it comes to competing against Thomas for a roster spot. He knows his days may be numbered in Cardinal red, but at least he is willing to do what it takes to help Thomas transition into his rookie season. He has had nothing but good things to say about Thomas.
“It helps when Logan is such a good kid,” Lindley said. “If he came in here and was cocky and was kind of a jerk but he’s such a good guy, I just want to help where I can. I just have to put my best foot forward. Regardless, you put yourself on tape, whether it is practice or preseason, and if it is my time, it’s my time.”
“There is a time everyone gets tapped on the shoulder.”
Thomas added by saying the two has a good relationship.
“We have built a nice rapport,” Thomas said, and added it is easy to ask Lindley questions.
Even Palmer noticed the bond forming between his cohorts, and acknowledged the Lind-sanity if you will.
“Ryan couldn’t handle the situation any better,” Palmer said. “He’s good with Logan, where he could just go into a shell and say, ‘I’m not going to talk to anybody.’ He’s just in a tough spot, but he’s a fighter. He’s going to prepare and he’s going to make the decision as hard as he can. I hate to see a guy in that spot but I love to see a guy in that spot handling it as well as he handles it.”
Although the challenge is eminent, Lindley can only smile. He is by no means naïve about it knowing what his future holds as he still has his faith, and a wife at home that continues to support him no matter what.
“It’s weird saying this because I love the game and love competing and I’m a football player, but it’s what I do, it’s not who I am,” Lindley said. “I want to give my best effort, make sure I am a good teammate and a good player for the coaches and things will work out the way they will.
“If the training I get here gets me ready for a job in the real world, so be it. It’s bigger than how I react on the field. It’s how I react to the people around me.”
All quotes according to Darren Urban of azcardinals.com.
Phoenix Sports-Kings Co-Lead Columnists Jason Mulkey @_JayBird79