With Ryan Lindley Starting, the Arizona Cardinals' Offense Becomes Completely Unwatchable

In 2012, Ryan Lindley was one of the worst quarterbacks we've ever seen. He'll now be starting for the Arizona Cardinals once again.

Bad television is fine as long as you're aware that you're watching bad television. If my fiancee flips on Keeping Up With the Kardashians, I can handle it for an episode only because I know it's really, really awful. If I were to watch an episode of that show thinking I was going to learn something or become a better individual, my TV would probably be ripped off the wall and thrown off the balcony.

Remember this, Cardinals fans, as you watch Ryan Lindley quarterback your team.

Three years ago, we witnessed one of the worst quarterback carousels a team has ever assembled. The Cardinals rolled out John Skelton for six starts, Kevin Kolb for five, the aforementioned Lindley for four and Brian Hoyer for one. In total, the four quarterbacks made 22 appearances in 16 NFL games -- the Cardinals used 1.375 quarterbacks per game in 2012.

The results were exactly as you'd expect, especially when you consider the team's backfield consisted of Beanie Wells, LaRod Stephens-Howling, William Powell and Ryan Williams. The only good player on the offensive side of the ball for Arizona in 2012 was Larry Fitzgerald. Period.

But because Lindley is a thing again, we have to remember and relive that 2012 season. And it's not pretty.

According to our Passing Net Expected Points metric, prior to adjusting for strength of schedule, the Cardinals had the fourth-worst passing offense we've seen since 2000 that year. And no quarterback on that Cardinals' roster hurt his team quite like Ryan Lindley did.

No, I mean it. In the fourth-worst passing offense over the last 15 years, Ryan Lindley was the worst of the four quarterbacks used by Arizona. Take a look at the four quarterbacks' Passing NEP totals that season, as well as what it equated to on a per drop back basis.

QuarterbackPassing NEPPassing NEP per Drop Back
Brian Hoyer-11.76-0.21
John Skelton-55.23-0.26
Kevin Kolb-8.83-0.04
Ryan Lindley-77.42-0.42

As you can see, none of the quarterbacks were especially good -- you'd expect this -- but Lindley was clearly the worst of the bunch. How bad was he? Well, since the year 2000, including this one, we've seen 671 quarterback seasons where the signal-caller dropped back to pass at least 100 times. Among this group, Lindley's -0.42 Passing NEP per drop back average is eighth worst. And if you filter that down to quarterbacks who have dropped back to pass more than 150 times, only Alex Smith's 2005 was worse than Lindley's 2012.


The good news, I guess, is that Smith was able to turn his career around with good coaching, which is what Lindley has in Bruce Arians. Moreover, the Cardinals are already in the playoffs, giving Lindley a bit of time to get acclimated to non-practice football once again. Just don't be surprised if we see Logan Thomas getting significant snaps sooner rather than later. At least, that's what history is telling us.