Cardinals quarterback Phillip Sims (1) will start when the team plays in Denver Thursday night.
Four months ago, Phillip Sims was just a camp arm. A rookie minicamp arm, no less, added on a tryout basis for one weekend so the Cardinals had someone to throw to their first-year receivers.
Now he's starting an NFL game for the team.
It's a preseason game, yes, and the fourth one at that. But Sims has done well in his battle with Logan Thomas to see which one fits third behind Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton, and it's Sims who gets the start against the Broncos.
"I haven't really had much time to think about it, honestly," Sims said of his rise from tryout to starter. "I'm happy but this isn't
where you want it to end at. You want to keep going, you want to make the regular-season roster, you want to play in regular season games. Preseason is good and fine, but I don't think anyone is willing to come play in preseason and hang it up."
The reality is that the winner of Sims vs. Thomas still might not win a roster spot. There's a good chance, especially if the Cards decide Sims is the better prospect, that the team sticks with two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster and slides Sims to the practice squad.
Sims has made a strong case. The Cardinals have scored on four of the six possessions he's engineered in the preseason, and a fifth ended with a field-goal attempt, albeit blocked.
But Thomas too finished well in Oakland. Given his first chance at a two-minute drill, Thomas guided the Cards on a nine-play, 91-yard game-winning touchdown drive after taking a nasty blow to his knee early in the possession.
"He showed his toughness, took us right down the field and got a touchdown," coach Bruce Arians said. "That was outstanding."
"I had no idea until I was called upon that I'd have that situation," Thomas said. "But that was a blessing, and it gives you a chance to prove yourself under pressure."
Arians continues to say there is no leader in the Sims-Thomas battle -- which puts a lot of emphasis on the game Thursday night.
"It's just another game in my personal opinion," Sims said. "You get caught up in the hype and let it overcome you, that's when you start going out there and playing outside yourself."
WEATHERSPOON, JOHNSON READY TO PLAY; GRESHAM SITS
Both linebacker Sean Weatherspoon and running back Chris Johnson practiced fully Tuesday, Arians said, and both will play Thursday
against the Broncos.
Johnson said he felt good, and Arians said he'd like to get the veteran 10 to 12 carries in what would be his first preseason action. Arians didn't have a snap count in mind for Weatherspoon, but acknowledged the Cardinals needed to be careful about leaving either in on extended drives when fatigue could cause more trouble with their respective hamstring injuries.
Tight end Jermaine Gresham (hamstring) will not make the trip to Denver, Arians said.
Most of the starters are not expected to play in the game, including the top two quarterbacks.
Wide receiver Michael Floyd is still sidelined with his hand injury, but he was playing catch before practice Tuesday and said he is happy with his progress – even if he declined to put a timetable on his return.
"I think my hand is doing what I want it to do," Floyd said. "I'm a fast healer, thank God."
The next step is to get back on the practice field and start getting his timing down in the offense again, he said. Can that still happen so Floyd can be back for the regular-season opener Sept. 13? Floyd smiled.
"I think so," he said.
ROSTER NOW AT 75 AFTER CRISP CUT
The Cardinals needed to make one final roster move Tuesday to get to the limit of 75 and got there by releasing undrafted rookie tackle Rob Crisp. Crisp had missed much of training camp after hurting his knee. He remains a potential practice squad candidate.