TEMPE, Ariz. — Drew Stanton finally got his shot last season, as he appeared in nine games for the Arizona Cardinals, starting eight of them.
The former second-round pick of the Detroit Lions in 2007 who had not appeared in an NFL game since 2010 fared well, completing 55 percent of his passes for 1,711 yards and seven touchdowns with five interceptions.
But a right knee injury suffered on Dec. 11 against the St. Louis Rams ended his season, and he could only watch as the Cardinals struggled to find consistency under center for the rest of the season and then in a playoff loss to the Carolina Panthers.
As the Cardinals began their offseason strength and conditioning program Tuesday, Stanton, 30, said he’s healthy and ready to go.
“I feel awesome,” he said. “Haven’t had much of an offseason — trying to put in a lot of work and effort, and now getting back here to a point where I feel really confident in my knee. Everything is back to normal, getting back to football activity, and I’m looking forward to getting better and getting out there and getting reps.”
Stanton, who said he has no limitations football-wise, admitted he will be cautious when it comes to conditioning in hopes of putting less stress on the knee. He added he will not wear a brace on the knee because he feels like they inhibit him, and instead just aims to get healthy and move forward, trying to get better.
More than any other year, he has game experience to go off of.
“It helped tremendously; anytime you get a chance to play, and play for an extended period of time, you get to see where you’re at and where you want to progress to, at the same time,” he said. “I felt like with each start I was getting more comfortable and doing more within the offense, and the game was slowing down around me.”
There’s also more film to go off of, with him facing first-team defenses in real games.
“Getting a chance now to go back and watch all the film, work on some of those things mechanically, and also what was I thinking going through the read and progression, all that stuff,” he said. “It’s exciting from my standpoint because this is the first time I’ve really had that opportunity to evaluate myself and take an honest look.