Rookie quarterback Logan Thomas is expected to play the fourth quarter Saturday against Houston.
Barring a rash of injuries, rookie quarterback Logan Thomas will not see the field for a meaningful regular season snap this year. That makes preseason playing time that much more important.
The fourth-round pick will make his NFL debut in Saturday's preseason opener against the Texans. He will be the third signal-caller in the game behind Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton, likely entering late in the third quarter.
"I'm ready to go," Thomas said. "I'm living out a dream."
Thomas hopes to one day be the Cardinals' starting signal-caller, but for now he must beat out Ryan Lindley for the final quarterback position on the roster. Lindley won't play on Saturday, but will assume the third quarterback duties in the second preseason game against the Vikings.
Thomas is the favorite to win the job because of his potential, highlighted by his maneuverability and arm strength, but is still very much a work in progress. He is still learning to cycle through his progressions quickly enough to avoid a sack or interception.
When asked what he'd like to see from Thomas against the Texans, coach Bruce Arians said "throwing it to the right guy -- where his eyes belong, not just picking a guy out. Read the coverages, get it out of his hand and operate more efficiently than he has been in practice."
Thomas clearly has the strongest arm on the team but struggles with accuracy.
"He's still missing too many wide-open guys," Arians said.
Palmer, a 12-year veteran, took a while to get comfortable in Arians' offensive system a year ago, but excelled at the end of 2013. Thomas won't be needed as quickly, but is trying to grasp the plays and take advantage of this preseason opportunity.
"It's a pretty difficult offense to figure out," Thomas said. "It takes a little bit of time. As I keep going forward, I learn more every day, and that's what I have to do."
TURNING THE OTHER CHEEK
Fights are a common occurrence at training camps across the league, and the big news this week was the
suspension of Bears tight end Martellus Bennett for body-slamming cornerback Kyle Fuller at a recent practice.
The Cardinals have not had any scuffles, and much of that comes from the top. While some coaches like seeing the passion from players which results in occasional scrapes, Arians doesn't want it to go that far.
"One thing that B.A. stressed from the beginning was respect," center Lyle Sendlein said. "When guys start punching each other in the helmet, it doesn't do anything but break someone's hand. At times it's good to have that fire and emotion, and I think that's where the respect in the locker room comes in. The Cardinals aren't on the Cardinals' schedule. There's a fine line of being physical finishing plays and doing too much where you might get somebody hurt after the whistle."
Defensive Calais Campbell knows the team has been on its best behavior thus far, but he's not sure it will last. There's a lot on the line, especially for the backups fighting tooth and nail for a roster spot.
"In the grand scheme of things in training camp, it's going to happen eventually," Campbell said. "We've been pretty good about not having it yet, and who knows, we might get through without having any, but I know when guys are fighting for jobs out here, it's hard. You're going at it and your emotions get the best of you at times. When you're in the heat of battle, you're naturally going to push back. Sometimes that turns into a shoving match, but hopefully that's all it will ever be."
FOOTE NOT READY TO SHOW HIS AGE
Linebacker Larry Foote was a constant presence on some very good Steelers defenses early in his career -- starting every game from 2004 through 2008 -- but his best statistical season came in 2012 at the age of 32. He had 113 tackles and four sacks that year, and despite missing all but one game last season with a torn bicep, Foote is confident he can return to a high level of play.
"I know I can hold my own," Foote said. "I have been playing in this league a long time."
Foote is projected to start this season at the inside linebacker position Daryl Washington vacated when he was suspended for the year. With that comes scrutiny, but Foote said when you get to be his age, there are doubts every season.
"In this league, every year you've got something to prove, especially being a 13-year guy," Foote said. "They want to know, "Can you still run? Can you still tackle?' Everything. When you're close to the end, you've got to keep reassuring, showing those guys you can still play."