Logan Thomas had a "shaky" start to his first practice as starter, but he's on track to quarterback the Cardinals Sunday.
Starting an NFL game, Logan Thomas said, is "one of my dreams."
The fact the rookie is starting at quarterback isn't exactly a dream for the Cardinals, but it's the situation they are in after Ryan Lindley struggled against the Seahawks last game and Drew Stanton remains sidelined with a knee injury.
Stanton didn't practice Wednesday. Coach Bruce Arians said Stanton is progressing, but tempered the enthusiasm a bit when talking about Stanton's return – not only for Sunday's regular-season finale in San Francisco, but also for the first playoff game, which could be as early as Jan. 3.
"We've got our fingers crossed," Arians said. "There are no sureties about either one. If he's ready for this one, it would be in a backup status, and we've got our fingers crossed he'll be ready to practice next week."
In the meantime there is Thomas, who Arians already said could be quickly taken out of the 49ers' game if he isn't doing well. There is no set idea for playing time for Thomas, Arians said, and Thomas shrugged off any concern that he could be pulled.
"If I prepare the right way and play the way I think I can play, then it shouldn't be a problem," Thomas said, adding, "That's definitely something you respect about it, he's not going to B.S. you, he's going to be straight up with you."
It was Arians at his most blunt Wednesday when he noted that Thomas started shaky in practice before finishing strong. That was partly nerves, Arians said, and partly Thomas trying to figure out the proper place to throw the ball each play and do it accurately.
Thomas acknowledged his early hiccups, but insisted he'd fix it.
"(My start) wasn't the greatest but as it went on it got better and better," Thomas said. "That comes with reps."
Reps are something Thomas simply hasn't had since training camp ended and he started the preseason finale in San Diego. After that, Thomas has done almost no work in the Cardinals' offense, with his practice work coming while running the scout team against the Cardinals' starting defense.
Thomas did get practice during the week before the Washington game, when Carson Palmer was slowly coming back from his nerve issue and Stanton was sitting out with a concussion. That's been it in an Arians' offense that most players say is difficult to master.
"He's really not had enough chances as far as our offense," Arians said. "He's worked through the fundamentals extremely hard and gotten much better, but putting those fundamentals to use in our offense, that's two totally different things."
Thomas had one play against the Seahawks last week – an incomplete pass – and was 1-for-8 throwing in his quarter of work in Denver.
Barring an unexpected return for Stanton – Arians said Monday he didn't want to play Stanton this week – Lindley will be Thomas' backup and possible relief pitcher, depending on how the game plays out. Arians reiterated he wants to win the game, but also mentioned for the first time he will be "smart" with certain players who are nursing injuries.
"You've got to be ready to go," Lindley said. "At the same time your job as a backup, too, is to make sure the No. 1 is ready to go. Logan is a great kid and I'm excited for the opportunity he has. We want to make sure we get out there and put our best foot forward as a team."
Arians also said he will be watching how the Seattle-St. Louis game develops. If the Seahawks, who must lose for the Cardinals to improve their No. 5 playoff seed, pull away, that could impact playing time in the second half for some players.
Thomas is hoping he can get all the playing time at his position. Arians said he needs to find out what he can about Thomas. If Stanton isn't able to be ready for a playoff game, Arians would like a clear view of his options between Lindley and Thomas.
Thomas just wants to make sure his dream doesn't turn bad.
"It's going to be a lot of fun, it's going to be a lot of learning and a lot of studying for me," Thomas said. "At the same time, I wouldn't want it any other way."