Drew Stanton: “There will be no limitations”
GLENDALE, Ariz. – “As far as football’s concerned, there will be no limitations. I feel awesome.”
Those words came out of the mouth of Cardinals’ quarterback Drew Stanton, who’s back this week with his teammates during their first full week of strength and conditioning.
It’s been over four months since Stanton injured his knee on Thursday Night Football in St. Louis, Mo., against the Rams. Stanton did his best to rehab as quickly as possible to be back in time for the playoffs, but it didn’t cooperate with him, so Ryan Lindley took the starting reigns for the rest of the season.
It’s a new day. As Stanton said in the opener, he’s got nothing holding him back physically, aside from some uniform issues he’s working through with the medical staff and the trainers. Stanton’s tried several different types of knee braces, and none of them met with his approval.
“I messed around with some knee braces, just to kind of take the load off, but haven’t really liked them. I feel like they inhibit me in some way shape or form,” Stanton said. “[Cardinals’ head athletic trainer] Tom [Reed], and those guys, and the doctors didn’t feel like I need to do it in any way that’s going to help prevent me from re-injuring that [knee]. I’ve had that behind me and moving forward.”
During the offseason, Stanton spent many a day over at the Fischer Institute, doing a lot of “monotonous” things to get his knee back to 100-percent. Stanton started there with his rehab two weeks after the season ended, so he’s been grinding away to get back to prime playing form.
“It’s paid dividends for me,” Stanton said. “They have a great system that they have over there. We’re lucky to have [Cardinals’ physical therapist] Brett [Fischer] on our staff here, because he communicates so well with Tom [Reed] and with [Cardinals’ strength and conditioning coach] Buddy [Morris]. It’s been a seamless transition for me going there the past couple of months to now coming here. I’ve created a good foundation now heading into the offseason.”
Last season was quite a season for Stanton and the rest of the Cardinals’ quarterbacks. Carson Palmer was in and out for the majority of the season, as was Stanton. When Palmer was in, the Cardinals were undefeated [6-0]. When Palmer was out, it was a different story. Arizona was a respectable 5-3 when Stanton got the start, which isn’t bad all things considered. When Lindley took over for Stanton in the final weeks of the season, let’s just say it was an adventure for all parties involved. Everyone was able to learn and take something away from their experiences in 2014, including Stanton.
“It helped tremendously,” Stanton said. “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. I felt with each start I was getting more comfortable and doing more within the offense, and the game was slowing down around me.”
“Getting a chance now to go back, watch all the film, work on some of those things, mechanically, and also, ‘What was I thinking going through the read and progression?’ 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.”
“Now, being able to take a step back and say, ‘What did I do good? What did I do bad? What routes did I throw well? What could I have done different in different situations that could’ve turned out better for us and help us win football games?’” Stanton said.
With Palmer working his way back alongside Stanton, and head coach Bruce Arians leery of thrusting his starter back out too quickly in the offseason program, Stanton should figure to see a lot of reps in OTAs and in minicamp. Training camp might be a different situation. Arians is definitely planning on having Palmer out working then, just not that much now.
Stanton knows his role on this team and he’s fine with it. It hasn’t changed in the three years he’s been here.
“I realize I’m the backup, obviously Carson’s [Palmer] the starter here. He’s going to do everything he can. Whatever he cannot do, my goal is to do everything else, and go from there,” Stanton said. “This is a great opportunity for me to go out here, and get these invaluable reps, and see everything unfold in front of my eyes.”
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