Ryan Lindley entered his postgame press conference – his first as a starting quarterback – not dressed like, well, a starting quarterback.
Wearing a black San Diego State polo and black Chuck Taylor shoes, the rookie talked about his effort, which saw him complete 31-of-52 passes for 312 yards and four interceptions in Arizona’s 31-17 loss to the Rams Sunday in Glendale.
Two of the interceptions were returned for touchdowns by Rams corner Janoris Jenkins.
Lindley, who said a QB has to just “roll with the punches” and keep fighting, said he felt like he got knocked around in this one.
“I think I punched myself pretty good today a little bit, but yeah, I mean it obviously wasn’t the outcome, wasn’t the start I wanted, we wanted,” the rookie said.
“There’s not much I can do right now to take any of those back.”
Knowing that, Lindley said part of the job is not getting flustered out on the field.
“I think as a quarterback you’ve got to stay even keel, so I thought for the most part I tried not to get too down on the bad plays we made,” the rookie said. “I tried not to get too high, too satisfied on the good stuff we did, because there was a little bit of both.”
Indeed, Lindley’s day wasn’t all bad. He led the Cardinals to a pair of touchdown drives in the first half, and the QB did a good job spreading the ball around, completing passes to six different receivers.
However, the 23-year-old looked like a rookie which, really, makes sense.
“He’s a rookie, he hasn’t played a lot, but he’s got to learn from this,” Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt said.
Part of Lindley’s issues may be attributed to a desire to get the ball to Larry Fitzgerald. The Pro Bowler was open on quite a few plays, but Lindley was only able to connect with him three times for a total of 31 yards. Three passes intended for the receiver were intercepted.
Lindley said two of the interceptions were mental mistakes (the third bounced off Fitzgerald’s hands), and that he can’t really explain it any better than that right now.
“Larry is doing the right thing,” he said. “I’m just off a little bit on something, rushing something, not trusting what I’m seeing out there.”
Improvement in those areas will come in time, as the more Lindley plays the more comfortable he will get not only with the speed of the game, but with everything he is being asked to do.
“Ryan is working his tail off,” Fitzgerald said. “He’s a rookie. He’s giving it everything he has.
“We have to go out there and do a better job of helping him have success.”