Three days remain and two practices are left before the Arizona Cardinals open up Wild Card Weekend against the Carolina Panthers. The quarterback situation has not yet changed, but context perhaps has.
While the team is hopeful Drew Stanton can return and start this weekend, when head coach Bruce Arians spoke with the media, he indicated there was "no change with Drew." That means no practice, even though there was no injury report released Tuesday.
Arians did note Stanton would need to get in one day of practice this week in order to start, and the walk-through the team will have on Friday in Charlotte will not be enough.
As we should, this seems to cloud more and more the availability of Stanton for Saturday, which means another start for Ryan Lindley.
After a very rough start against Seattle, he settled down and played decently against San Francisco, and fantastically in the first half, when he threw for 260 yards and two scores.
Arians saw it coming.
"People lose sight of the magnitude of that game and that experience against Seattle, to be thrown in to your first start in two years," Arians explained "It was a lot of good eye contact and poise with him as a player, understanding what we're trying to get done. And, he threw some really good balls. We didn't help him any, but in this one, he got off to a good start. He was in a comfort zone and then you could see his leadership come up. He was talking in the huddle more and guys started responding. It was a nice step forward."
It wasn't the only time on Tuesday Arians mentioned Lindley and leadership. When he was on "Late Hits" on SiriusXM NFL Radio, he indicated his performance won over the locker room.
"Even though we didn't win the game, Ryan Lindley really won over our locker room last week vs SF," Arians said. "The team has faith in him."
That faith and locker room cred might be just what the team needs. The defense played against the Seahawks like a team that didn't have a chance -- like they gave up. They struggled against the Niners. It is certainly possible that having the unproven Lindley out there took some life out of the team.
With a solid performance under his belt, the team can now do more than say they trust Lindley. They can actually trust him to make plays.
Arians said "it should" be easier for the defense not to press when they have confidence the offense can help.
That is exactly what the Cardinals need this Saturday.