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The Plan To Develop Logan Thomas

Posted Mar 27, 2015

Second-year quarterback will get extensive reps this offseason

Cardinals quarterback Logan Thomas (6) comes off the field after his lone snap against Seattle last season.

Field Two during the Cardinals’ organized team activities this offseason may never be more important.

Certainly it’ll never be a more important time in the career of quarterback Logan Thomas.

Coach Bruce Arians splits his 90-man roster on two fields during team work in the offseason. The top two rungs on the depth chart learn on Field One. Field Two is everyone else – mainly rookies – as Arians tries to get them the reps they desperately need in the limited time the collective bargaining agreement allows.

In Thomas’ case, the need is necessary. If the 2014 fourth-round draft pick has any chance of developing into an NFL quarterback, this is the time to show it.

“He's going to get a ton of work and those reps are invaluable,” Arians said. “Just in decision-making, how fast you're getting it out of your hand, where you’re going with it, where you're going when ‘one’ and ‘two’ are still covered. Are you still scrambling around or are you going to find your outlets? That growth process comes strictly from reps.”

Arians estimates that Thomas will get 90 percent of the reps on Field Two in the offseason. (The Cardinals will likely sign a fourth quarterback to the 90-man roster.) Arians also said Thomas will get a “ton” of reps in training camp.

Thomas could also get some work on Field One this offseason, depending on what the team does with backup Drew Stanton. Arians said Stanton should be 100 percent after suffering a knee injury late last season, but starter Carson Palmer remains a question mark for any offseason work.

Arians reiterated Palmer is “rolling and he’s wanting to go” as he rehabs his repaired ACL, but that the Cardinals have to be smart about how they use Palmer – if at all – prior to training camp.

But that can only help Thomas’ situation.

By now, Thomas’ story is well worn. He was drafted as a quarterback project. Then he was forced to play a little early in his rookie season at Denver after both Palmer and Stanton were hurt. It was a forgettable performance, masked some by a memorable 81-yard touchdown pass to running back Andre Ellington.

There was a brief time when Arians said Thomas would start the regular-season finale in San Francisco, but that was changed after a rough day of practice that week. In the end, Thomas’ rookie season consisted of just 18 snaps – 16 in the Denver game, one against Seattle and one in the playoff game in Carolina.

There still is a chance the Cardinals look into drafting a quarterback next month – they reportedly had a private workout with UCLA product and Chandler native Brett Hundley – and the search for a long-term answer at the positon is ongoing. The Cards figure Palmer has two to three good seasons left. Stanton, meanwhile, is a free agent after this season.

Thomas, who has had accuracy issues, is the work-in-progress for now. But Arians emphasized the Cards had always planned on taking the long-term view with his development.

“We drafted him for two years from now, not November,” Arians said. “It just so happened his number got called (earlier.) I was not going to let him fail (in San Francisco) because once you fail those scars never go away.

“It's very hard to get the guys back in the locker room if you cost them the playoffs. I just wasn't going to put him in that situation. Right or wrong, it just was my decision.”

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