A brilliant first drive turned into four picks, two that scored
It was tough to know what to expect from rookie quarterback Ryan Lindley in his first career start for the Arizona Cardinals. His debut against the Atlanta Falcons did not give anyone really a good gauge of what he could be. According to Ken Whisenhunt, his performance in practice has been good.
In fact, if you only watched Lindley in the Cardinals' opening drive, you would have thought that he was the team's franchise quarterback. He led a 15-play, 91-yard touchdown drive. He was 7/8 for 80 yards. He was finding Larry Fitzgerald, he was getting the ball away quickly, he was throwing the ball accurately and was making good decisions.
In that drive, he led seven first downs, which matched the amount the team had against the Falcons.
But after that, his very next throw was an interception returned for a touchdown to start the second quarter. From there, it looked like he was shaken a bit.
He was intercepted four times in all, twice returned for touchdowns by Janoris Jenkins. After a great start, he finished 31/52 for 312 yards and the four picks.
His throws were good inside the numbers, but he missed receivers outside the numbers and down the field. He overthrew or wide to receivers running down the field on the outside, which confirmed the knocks of inaccuracy that were in his scouting report coming out of college.
In the end, he played....like a rookie. At times there were flashes of solid play, but mostly it was inconsistent. There were throws that he was not on the same page as the receiver.
Should he continue to start after Kevin Kolb is healthy? Not unless you are going all in on the kid to end the year. Can he be in the mix next year? Probably not, but he showed enough to try and develop.