TEMPE, Ariz. -- If quarterback Drew Stanton wants to play in Arizona's wild-card game Saturday at Carolina, he has to practice at least one day this week, coach Bruce Arians said.
That’s it. Just one. It doesn’t matter if it happened Tuesday or comes Wednesday or Thursday. That's all Arians wants to see from Stanton before he hands him the ball against the Panthers.
But time is running out on Stanton. He wasn’t on the field during the part of Arizona’s practice Tuesday open to the media. Since an injury report wasn’t required to be distributed, it's unknown if he participated after practice was closed. Arians said there wasn’t a change in Stanton’s status, meaning Stanton continues to recover from a right knee injury suffered against the St. Louis Rams in Week 15.
The Cardinals will go through a walk-through in Charlotte on Friday, but Stanton would need to go through a full practice in order for Arians to consider playing him. Arizona changed their travel plans to fly to Charlotte on Thursday instead of Friday, as was initially scheduled.
“I talked to the players and the players were wanting to get in Thursday night so we moved everything up,” Arians said.
“The players just felt like they needed more rest from the flight itself and the one that you want to do as a coach is to make sure that no one has an excuse. If that’s an excuse, we’re going to fix that one real quick.”
If Stanton misses his third straight game, Ryan Lindley will get his seventh career start.
Sunday against San Francisco saw an improvement from Lindley, who completed 58.9 percent of his passes in the loss to the 49ers. His two touchdown passes were marred by three interceptions, but after almost three full seasons without a touchdown pass, Lindley was glad it happened on his NFL-record 229th attempt.
He gave the ball to his wife Monday.
“To be honest, now that it’s over, maybe it was slightly (bothering me),” Lindley said. “A little bit. You go out there and you don’t think, ‘Hey, I need to finally break this streak of touchdowns. In a sense, it’s like, ‘When am I finally going to get one?’ The biggest thing this week I that I really just said, ‘Calm down, it’s going to come and when it comes, it comes.’ Luckly, it did early.”
Arizona is the fifth team since 2006 to have four different quarterbacks throw a touchdown, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
But Arians said the Cardinals don’t see Lindley as a third-string quarterback, or their fourth quarterback of the season, anymore.
“I don’t think that anything different is expected of us in that locker room,” Arians said. “We don’t look at it as a team with a third-string quarterback. It’s our starting quarterback. He’s a Cardinal so we’d look for the same level of efficiency that we’d see if Carson [Palmer] or Drew were out there.
“I think last week gave everybody, defensively and offensively, the entire group, more confidence that they’re ready to go this week.”