Lindley back in familiar place; role to be determined

Quarterback Ryan Lindley just rejoined the Cardinals off San Diego's practice squad but could be named Drew Stanton's backup.

Mark J. Rebilas/Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

TEMPE, Ariz. — With quarterback Carson Palmer (ACL, IR) out for the season, Ryan Lindley on Tuesday rejoined the Cardinals 11 weeks after he was cut in training camp.

The Cardinals signed him off the Chargers practice squad to their 53-man roster.

"I hopped in the car; packed everything I had over there and made the drive out once I knew it was going down," he said Wednesday. "I-8. Stopped in Gila Bend, stopped at the usual gas stops."

Lindley’s NFL career is marked by familiarity. He played at San Diego State, so playing for the Chargers felt comfortable. Returning to Arizona also felt comfortable, both because he played here before and because he still lives here.

"We’ve kind of hunkered down here (in Arizona), my wife and I. She was actually out here the whole (time)," Lindley said "It was an easy transition, and she’s happy I’m back.

The signing makes sense because Lindley knows the system, although he acknowledged there have been some tweaks he’ll need to learn. He spent two seasons with the Cardinals after he was drafted in the sixth round in 2012, but he was beaten out by Logan Thomas for the final QB roster spot this fall and was signed to San Diego’s practice squad on Aug. 31.

When Palmer suffered a bruised nerve in his throwing shoulder, the Cardinals could have brought Lindley back, but they would have had to sign him to their active roster and keep four QBs for at least three weeks, per NFL rules. 

What remains to be seen is if Lindley will be the next man up if Drew Stanton gets hurt. Lindley’s knowledge and experience would be valuable for a team chasing a playoff spot, a division title and home-field advantage.

Arians said Thomas is the backup for now, but more evaluation is required before setting in stone the depth chart.

Patrick Peterson was named NFC Special Teams Player of the Week after he posted his first and second interceptions of the season against the Rams. The second was his first career pick-6 that he returned 30 yards to give the Cardinals a 24-14 lead late in the fourth quarter and seal the outcome.

"For the first time in a long time I felt 100 percent," said Peterson, who battled ankle head injuries earlier this season, as well as inconsistency. "I just got tired of hearing all the criticism, people not really knowing the situation, but at the end of the day, being an athlete, those are some of the things you have to do, fight through injuries."

Peterson is the fifth Cardinal to earn a player of the week honor this season, joining Justin Bethel (special teams, Week 9), Larry Fitzgerald (offensive, Week 8), Chandler Catanzaro (special teams, Week 6) and Ted Ginn Jr. (special teams, Week 2).

This is the second defensive player of the week selection for Peterson, who also won the honor in 2013 following Arizona’s Week 4 win at Tampa Bay. He is the first player in team history to be selected player of the week multiple times in two different categories. Peterson was previously honored on special teams twice as a rookie punt returner in 2011; after Week 9 and Week 12.

The Cardinals’ struggling running game will get a boost when running back Stepfan Taylor returns to the lineup after missing the last two games with a calf injury.

"We’ll see how it is today in practice, but after rehab I’m feeling good," Taylor said Wednesday.

Taylor expects to reprise the role he had as the No. 2 back behind Andre Ellington. The hope is that the Cardinals can get more explosive plays, but also that Taylor can help in short yardages situations where the team really misses Jonathan Dwyer. 

"I feel comfortable in any role," said Taylor, who did plenty of power running at Stanford. "I feel like I’m a complete back. Rather than having a label put on me I’m going to continue working to be a complete back."

It was 7:40 a.m. when a car pulled into the parking lot at the Cardinals practice facility and into a spot normally reserved for those picking up tickets. There was a good reason for this violation.

Out of the passenger seat stepped injured QB Carson Palmer and his crutches. Palmer needed a drop-off because it’s tough to drive with a torn left ACL.

It’s rare reporters get a chance to share their reaction or feelings about something a player has just done. For the most part, it’s viewed as unprofessional. But after watching Palmer hobble to the podium on Monday, less than 24 hours after suffering a season-ending injury in what may be his best opportunity to play in a Super Bowl, it felt like the right thing to do to tell Palmer just how impressive that decision and the subsequent press conference appeared to everyone on the outside.

Both Arians and Lions QB Matthew Stafford see similarities between the Cardinals defense and the Lions defense.

"I think so," Stafford said via conference call. "The defensive line is as big as they come with Calais Campbell and Tommy (Kelly) and all those guys. They have guys who can get after the passer a little bit and then their back end is extremely talented. They’ve got two really good corners."

Detroit’s defense is ranked No. 1 overall in the NFL, allowing 283.4 yards per game. The Lions are first in points allowed per game (15.8), second in rushing defense (71.3 yards per game), tied for first in average yards per carry (3.2), third in passing defense (212.1 yards per game) and tied for fifth in average yards per catch (6.6).

The Lions haven’t been ravaged by injuries the way the Cardinals have, but defensive tackle Nick Fairley suffered MCL and PCL injuries in a win over Atlanta in London on Oct. 26. He was expected to miss 4-5 weeks.

The Cardinals signed cornerback Darren Woodard to the practice squad and released running back Zach Bauman (a Valley product) from the practice squad.

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