For Ryan Lindley, his game against the Falcons was huge.
John Skelton was playing beyond awful in the first half, forcing Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt to make a change at the position. With Kevin Kolb still out with a rib injury, he turned to rookie Ryan Lindley to get the job done. And at times, he managed to look pretty good. At others, he was sloppy. Either way, he looked just like a rookie sixth round pick should.
One of the things that Lindley noticeably needs to work on is his timing with receivers. Not only did he not have great timing with his pass catchers, but he also stared them down far too often. That allowed many of the Atlanta Falcons defenders to make jumps on the ball, anticipating an interception.
With better pass protection, Lindley could have done better, but he did make some rookies mistakes. For example, he ran back over ten yards in the second half trying to avoid a sack from John Abraham. Instead, he should have simply thrown the ball away, giving his team the chance to fight another battle.
Lindley did show some promise, however. He surprisingly had good touch on his deep routes. He almost hit Andre Roberts on a bomb down the field in the second half that could have changed the complexion of the game.
He had some other throws that stood out as well. For example, his pass to Larry Fitzgerald at the very end of the game was actually very impressive. He fit it between two Falcons defenders, along the sideline in a key situation. If Fitz would have managed to keep possession throughout the catch while falling out of bounds, the outcome of the game may have been different.
Overall, Lindley was pretty good. Under the circumstances in which he was forced to come into the game, he performed to the best of his ability. We have to remember that he only just last week started getting reps with the first team, which means his rapport with the receivers and his offensive line still isn't that good yet. With more time to study the playbook, gain some comfort with his teammates and develop himself as a better quarterback, Lindley could turn out to be alright.
He did enough to not lose them the game, but he couldn't do enough to win it for them, either. He has the talent, size, arm and accuracy to be better than John Skelton. Will that force Coach Whisenhunt to make him the starter until Kevin Kolb returns? We will find out this week as the team prepares for the St. Louis Rams.