Kevin C. Cox
The rookie will make his first career start against the team that started the Cardinals' losing streak
It is time to begin (or something like that) the Ryan Lindley era. He will make his first NFL start against the St. Louis Rams at home. His debut was nothing to write home about, finishing 9-20 for 64 yards, no TDs or interceptions. HEad coach Ken Whisenhunt turned to him, hoping to create some sort of spark for the offense that will fix the team's recent ills.
However, what exactly to expect is unknown. Whisenhunt said it himself.
"I don't think you ever know what to expect," said Whisenhunt to the media on Friday. "He's worked hard all year. He's done a good job. He handled himself well last week. He got more reps. But I think that's the thing with a rookie quarterback. I guess we'll see on Sunday. Hopefully he'll continue to work and play like he has in practice."
One thing that stood out in that comment was the last part -- apparently he has been very good in practice and has made an impression.
I asked the follow up question -- did they need to scale things back for Lindley?
"Not necessarily for him," Whisenhunt answered. "I think we're trying to do better at a lot of the things we do offensively. I don't necessarily think that scaling back is the right thing. We're trying to do the thing we do better, and try to do more of those things. I don't think he's uncomfortable with what we're doing from a schematic standpoint or the number of plays we have."
Translation -- we have been simplifying things on offense, but it isn't for Lindley. It is because we have been bad.
I actually am intrigued by this. Now, if I recall back in 2010 when John Skelton was thrust in to the starting role, Whiz came out and said that they had to scale back the playbook for him. If Lindley is already comfortable with everything, that says a lot about him and his preparation.
It does sound like things are being simplified in the sense that there are parts of the offense that are being scrapped because they don't or haven't worked, but it isn't for or because of Lindley.
The question is this -- what are your expectations of Lindley? Do you expect a win over the Rams? We saw Max Hall even pull off the win while doing nothing really to cause the win. Will you be content with another 9/20 performance? What about turnovers? Or big plays?
what do you expect to see?
What I think will happen is that the offense will still look bad, but that points will actually come at timely moments that give the Cards a slim victory to get back in the win column. As for Lindley, I would not expect much better than 50 percent completion rate, a touchdown and a pick.