Cardinals coach Arians leaning toward starting rookie Thomas
TEMPE - In the wake of Arizona's most one-sided loss in Bruce Arians time there, the coach says he's leaning toward starting rookie quarterback Logan Thomas in the regular-season finale.
"We need to find out what he can do for the future and the playoffs, if it were to come to that," Arians said at his day-after news conference Monday. "That's my job - to make sure that we cover every base."
Arians insisted that starting Thomas "no way would be a reflection in the way that Ryan played, only the chance for Logan to show that he can do something."
Lindley completed 18 of 44 passes for 216 yards with one interception in Arizona's 35-6 loss to Seattle on Sunday night.
Thomas would be the fourth quarterback to start for the Cardinals this season, third in the last three games.
Sunday's game at San Francisco has playoff implications. If the Cardinals win and Seattle loses at home to St. Louis, Arizona would win the NFC West and possibly the conference's No. 1 seed.
Either a Cardinals loss or Seahawks win would relegate Arizona to a wild-card spot and a first-round game on the road, most likely as the No. 5 seed.
Arians said he has "very, very high optimism" that Drew Stanton will be ready for the playoffs "because he wants to be ready."
"Had he not had that minor setback last week, he would have probably tried to play in that one (against Seattle)," Arians said. "There's no way I'll play him this week unless I have to."
Stanton, who took over when Carson Palmer went down with a season-ending knee injury, sprained his right knee in Arizona's 12-6 win at St. Louis on Dec. 11. He practiced on a limited basis last Thursday, but experienced some swelling in the knee.
"We don't want to have another setback," Arians said. "He'll work into practice some this week and get some action in practice."
Arians said he didn't think nerves got to Lindley.
"I thought he was very calm," the coach said. "He was handling his protections extremely well. It was just a matter of finding the open guy and being accurate."
Thomas, a fourth-round draft pick out of Virginia Tech, is a mobile 6-foot-6 quarterback with a cannon arm. Accuracy and decision making are his issues, and the Cardinals had wanted to have him watch from the sidelines all season as the third-string quarterback behind Palmer and Stanton.
But when Stanton took over for Palmer after a shoulder injury, then went down with a concussion at Denver, Thomas was forced into action. He completed an 81-yard touchdown pass to Andre Ellington, but his other seven throws fell incomplete.
Two days after Palmer's season-ending injury, the Cardinals signed Lindley off the San Diego practice squad. Lindley had been Arizona's No. 3 quarterback last season and was in training camp this year before losing the No. 3 job to Thomas.
With Stanton out, Arians turned to Lindley, not Thomas, in the crucial game against Seattle, choosing not to send the rookie against the NFL's No. 1 defense.
Now Thomas will get his first career start - unless he performs poorly in practice. Then Arians said he could make a change.
And when the game begins, Arians vowed to keep "the hook" handy and replace Thomas with Lindley.
Quarterback play was only one of the things that went haywire Sunday night. The running game never gained traction and had to be abandoned when the team fell so far behind. Kerwynn Williams, after gaining 175 yards in 25 carries the previous two games, carried two times for 4 yards.
And that defense that prides itself as one of the NFL's best was shredded and overpowered, through the air and on the ground. The 596 yards allowed matched the second most in franchise history. Only the 1958 Chicago Cardinals gave up more, 683 against Pittsburgh.
It was Arizona's third loss in five games after a 9-1 start.