When the Arizona Cardinals drafted quarterback Logan Thomas, the writing was on the wall. It said, "Ryan Lindley, you're done with the Cardinals."
It wasn't because the coaching staff doesn't like him. It is because of numbers.
Head coach Bruce Arians has praised Lindley for his resiliency and for his skills. He even suggested that it would be hard for a late round quarterback like Thomas to beat Lindley to make the team. Of course, Arians also was proud of how well he lied after the team went and drafted Thomas.
So now Lindley appears to be a dead man walking. Arians has said that Carson Palmer's and Drew Stanton's spots are set. There really is no scenario in which Lindley would make the team over Thomas. Thomas wouldn't clear waivers to make it to the practice squad, Lindley is not eligible for the practice squad and Arians definitely won't keep four quarterbacks. He has said he might only keep two (but that isn't happening).
But Lindley is still being a great professional. On the official Cardinals team site, Darren Urban wrote a piece on Lindley's battle to make the team.
In Urban's own words:
"Yet there Lindley is every day – even this week, when veterans could have dispersed for the summer – lifting weights, studying video and accepting reality regardless of how steep it makes the climb."
He has been working closely with Thomas, helping him with film study and the playbook. Lindley says it is easy
"because Logan is such a good kid."
Lindley makes an interesting comment about his own rookie situation.
“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.
That is a bit of a condemnation of Kevin Kolb and John Skelton. We know that Skelton struggled with that aspect of the game. And as hard working a guy as Kolb was, it certainly seems from Lindley that he had some issues with the film side and deciphering the details.
What that also says is that Lindley quietly feels very confident about what he knows. Ken Whisenhunt was impressed by Lindley's smarts and what he did in practice, which ultimately led to his starting too early.
Consider this -- Lindley has become a hard-working mentor, a guy that knows his stuff in the classroom and film room.
What does that sound like? A backup quarterback. Not a third stringer, but a number two. All that's left is to be a guy that can enter a game in a pinch and get the team through the game. You would feel okay in an emergency.
Let's be honest. Are you any more confident in Drew Stanton to come in and play behind Carson Palmer than you are in Ryan Lindley? The guy hasn't thrown a pass in the regular season since 2010.
Arians has a ton of confidence in Stanton as a guy that knows the offense and that communicates with Palmer well. He can take a butt-chewing from Arians and relay that to Palmer.
But what if Lindley can do that? Could he possibly become the number two?
After all, Arians has been known to lie or change his mind.
Arians has, on two separate occasions, compared Lindley to Kelly Holcomb, a guy Arians coached in Cleveland. Holcomb started too early, but turned out to be a solid backup. Is that what Lindley has become?
Is there a scenario in which Lindley could supplant Stanton as the backup, thus making it possible for the team to keep both him and Thomas?
Stanton is more expensive. He is due a salary of $1.75 million and has a cap hit of nearly $2.7 million. Lindley makes $570,000 this year.
Of course, injuries could always come into play and Lindley could find himself on the roster anyway, but is there any possibility in which you could see Lindley becoming Palmer's backup? He appears to have the traits you want in that guy.
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