Who is Ryan Lindley, and why is he the starting quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals first round playoff game instead of Drew Stanton or Carson Palmer? These are the questions that casual NFL football fans will be asking when they tune in for the Cardinals vs Panthers game if they haven’t been following along over the past few weeks. Palmer went out for the season with an injury, and then Stanton quickly followed him out the injury door as well – meaning Ryan Lindley gets his first playoff start. But what can be expected of him?
Ryan Lindley was a sixth round pick for the Arizona Cardinals in 2012, coming out of San Diego State University. The Cards released him just before the start of the 2014 season, and he landed on the Chargers practice squad. But then Arizona brought him back after the injury to Carson Palmer. After Drew Stanton also went down, Lindley was pressed into action at the tail end of the season. He hasn’t produced, throwing two touchdowns and four interceptions and failing to lead the Cardinals to what could have been a division championship. His career QB rating of 50 (out of a possible 158.3) has led critics to suggest that a proven veteran should have been signed in his place – but it’s too late to turn back now.
Lindley was technically benched in favor of rookie Logan Thomas mid-week, but was ultimately given the starting job back before the next game. That means he could be on a short leash today, as Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians must empty his bag of tricks to work around his quarterback situation in the hopes of winning today’s playoff game against the Panthers. But if Ryan Lindley finds another gear and manages to lead his team to postseason success, the late round pick could quickly become the stuff of legend.