Seahawks scouted Cardinals’ Ryan Lindley before 2012 NFL draft
With two quarterbacks sidelined, Arizona’s Ryan Lindley is scheduled to start against the Seahawks on Sunday. Seattle studied Lindley before drafting Russell Wilson in 2012.
Seattle Times staff reporter
RENTON — When the Seattle Seahawks beat Arizona 19-3 last month, Drew Stanton was the quarterback for the Cardinals and Andre Ellington the leading rusher and receiver.
Sunday night, when the two teams meet again in Glendale in what is essentially an NFC West championship game, neither will play for the Cardinals. Stanton is sidelined with a knee injury suffered last Thursday against the Rams, while Ellington is out for the season with a hernia issue.
Not playing for the Cardinals that day, though, was leading receiver Larry Fitzgerald, who sat out with a knee injury and is now back.
All of the offensive changes mean there will be more mystery than usual in preparing for the second game of a season against a division opponent.
When he met the media Monday, Seattle coach Pete Carroll said it was still a little early to know exactly what to expect Sunday from Arizona’s offense, which will now be quarterbacked by third-year veteran Ryan Lindley.
“We have to figure that out,’’ Carroll said.
Carroll said Seattle studied Lindley before the 2012 draft, the year the Seahawks selected Russell Wilson in the third round. Lindley, who played at San Diego State, went in the sixth round to the Cardinals. Lindley played in a backup role in a 58-0 loss for Arizona at Seattle late in the 2012 season, when he got the only four starts of his NFL career (Arizona went 1-3 in those games).
At 6-foot-4, 230 pounds, Lindley is similar in size and style to the other two quarterbacks to start this season for Arizona. Carson Palmer, the team’s opening-day starter, suffered a season-ending knee injury in November, and Stanton went down with a knee injury Sunday.
What Lindley lacks are similar results. In seven career games, he is 93-of-181 passing for 782 yards, with seven interceptions and no touchdowns and a career passer rating of 46.8. In fact, Lindley was beaten out by rookie Logan Thomas for the No. 3 job out of training camp, but was re-signed from San Diego’s practice squad after Palmer was injured.
Coach Bruce Arians said he went with Lindley over Thomas because of experience. Lindley was 4-of-10 passing for 30 yards after coming in for Stanton early in the third quarter and finishing up a 12-6 win over the Rams. It was Lindley’s first NFL game since 2012.
Arizona’s uncertain quarterback situation is undoubtedly a big reason the Cardinals are an eight-point underdog despite being tied for the best record in the NFL.
Arians and teammates, though, have expressed confidence that Lindley can get the job done.
“We really believe in Ryan,’’ Fitzgerald told the NFL Network on Tuesday, adding that he trains with Lindley in the offseason. “He can make all the throws. We’ve just got to protect him, make some plays for him outside, run the ball. We’re going to be just fine.”
Adding to the intrigue, Arians said Thomas will also see some time at quarterback. The 6-6, 250-pound Thomas, from Virginia Tech, has played in just one game, going 1 of 8 when filling in for an injured Stanton in a 41-20 loss at Denver. Thomas, a fourth-round pick in 2014, made the one completion count, tossing an 81-yard touchdown to Ellington. Thomas is also more of a runner than Lindley
“We have background on those guys,’’ Carroll said. “Not a lot of film on them, but we’ll figure that out as we go. Bruce is a terrific quarterback coach, and he knows what he’s doing. He’ll get the most out of these guys.”