Cardale Jones, Logan Thomas and developing QBs

Posted by Darren Urban on January 15, 2015 – 3:27 pm

Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones — who just led the Buckeyes to a national championship but has played just three games — held a press conference today to say he was staying in school and not coming out for the draft, which was a possibility. Ohio State has, right now, all three of its QBs from this year returning next season (although that could change) and there is no lock that Jones will get to start. He was third-string to start the season, after all.

But even with only three games under his college belt, I can understand why someone could think about coming out to the NFL. There is the current and longstanding debate about college athlete compensation, which isn’t the case if you go pro. More importantly, there are the devastating injuries suffered by Marcus Lattimore and Todd Gurley and the two OSU QBs in front of him — Braxton Miller and J.T. Barrett — that would make a kid think twice about staying in school when you can get paid to have the same injury risk on the next level.

The idea of Jones coming out, though, made me think of Logan Thomas.

The situations are not completely parallel. Thomas was in school for a long time and played plenty, and Jones — now that he’s returning — still gets that opportunity. But Thomas, like Jones, needs development. That was the book on Thomas when he came out and that’s what Bruce Arians continues to say. Many have asked what kind of progress Thomas made during the regular season and the reality is, it wasn’t much. Even Arians acknowledged that late in the year, one of the reasons Thomas didn’t get playing time despite the Cardinals’ QB situation.

Once training camp ends, it’s the starting quarterback who gets the practice reps. The few leftovers go to No. 2. Yes, Thomas gets reps as the scout team QB, but that’s running plays from another team and there’s only so much you can get from that. Yes, you can work on some fundamentals, but that only gets you so far. There is only so much progress you can make in that situation. It’s the great QB conundrum for  young quarterbacks. You have to play a lot to get good, usually, and unless you are good, teams don’t want to play you a lot.

That’s what I thought of when it was possible Jones would come out. He’d be so raw, who’s going to play him early? How would he get that experience that he’ll not get (in theory) by staying in school? It’s a big reason why it’s tough to find a quarterback these days, because the time and games needed to properly develop a guy simply aren’t available.


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37 Responses to “Cardale Jones, Logan Thomas and developing QBs”

  1. By D on Jan 15, 2015 | Reply

    I am glad BA protected Logan this year…if he would have played this year, his career had a good chance of ending up like Lindley.

    Which makes me think of Coach Whiz and the upcoming situation he will face again in this draft by taking a QB…it will be M. Leinart part II.

    (FSU QB needs to sit for a few years, but Whiz probably will play him early under pressure from Org)

  2. By Andy Kw on Jan 15, 2015 | Reply

    The path that QB Logan Thomas is taking reminds me of Aaron Rodgers. Aaron Rodgers was a backup QB for three seasons bwhind Brett Favre before he became a starter full time. More practice, time and patience will do good things to Logan Thomas. He is sitting behind a pretty good QB in Carson Palmer and is sitting behind a veteran QB that now has extensive experience as a starter in Drew Stanton. Give Logan another year or two before he truly starts. Make sure you give Logan some reps as a QB in a few regular season games. When we build a strong 4th QB lead, put in Logan so that he gains the experience.
    When Carson Palmer’s contract is up, it should be Logan Thomas time. I think Palmer will be in the NFL for only two more seasons and will most likely not play out his contract, Larry Fitzgerald and Darnell Dockett would retire, Lyle Sendlein would have already parted ways, Frostee Rucker would have retired and Matt Shaughnessy would be on another team, Rashad Johnson would also be on another team. When Logan becomes our starter, we would still have Jared Veldheer, John Brown as our starters. Troy Niklas will eventually take the helm as our starting TE.
    On defense, would be aging vet Calais Campbell, Alex Okafor, Patrick Peterson, Tyrann Mathieu, and Deone Buccannon would be our remaining starters from the 2014 season. Ed Stinson will be the new starter replacing Dockett at DE/DT. If Kareem Martin does not become the guy the Cards wanted him to be, then we will be most disappointed.
    This upcoming season, our draft should focus on ILB and OLB. If ILB Benardrick McKinney is available at #24, draft him ASAP. Our first two picks should focus solely on defense.

  3. By Marlin on Jan 15, 2015 | Reply


    From my perspective (I could be wrong), you’ve always been to easy on Logan. He’s worth a 2nd year to see how he progresses. But if, at the end of 2015, he hasn’t grown to be a solid #2…or a #1 candidate…………..he should be gone.

  4. By Scott H on Jan 15, 2015 | Reply

    Somehow, I just find it hard to compare Logan Thomas to Aaron Rodgers….But c’mon, those situations are about as different as any two situations could possibly be. As a rookie and his first few seasons, Rodgers was behind a legend in Brett Favre. He was NOT going to play until Favre was gone, done, how ever that was going to happen. Period. NO WAY Favre was going to be anything but the starting QB in Green Bay while he was there. And that was certainly fair, given the career he had there.

    Granted, we don’t know what will happen for Thomas in his 2nd and 3rd years. BUT in his rookie year, the opportunity for him to play was definitely there. The Cardinals lost their starter, then they lost their back-up. At the time Palmer went down, Thomas WAS their 3rd string QB. And we saw what happened – the team brought Lindley in he moved ahead of Thomas immediately. And as bad as Lindley was, they never turned to Thomas. Was that for his benefit? Was it because they knew he was nowhere near ready? Equal parts both?

    So….if this scenario had played out in Green Bay during Rodgers’ rookie season, would we have seen the same? Or would Rodgers have played? I have to think he would have. But it never came to that, so….we would never know.

    Regardless, the fact that they just wouldn’t let Thomas play while sticking with Lindley – who was downright awful – draws a lot of attention to itself.

    I suppose it is too early to pass judgement. But…I just don’t feel it with Thomas. I don’t think he was drafted with future-of-the-franchise in mind. I don’t believe that person is on our roster right now.

  5. By Steve on Jan 15, 2015 | Reply

    Logan Thomas is not our future QB, no accuracy simple as that.

  6. By Patrick Hoog aka Don't Take Losses on Jan 15, 2015 | Reply

    Its hard to comprehend why our QB can’t be developed, or at least make strides, on the side thru coaching and practice and tutelage of Tom Moore, our QB coach, our HC QB whisperer et al…either they have not dedicated the time to him or he is not what they thought, is one surmise…

  7. By Darren Urban on Jan 16, 2015 | Reply

    DTL —

    RE: “On the side”

    When would that take place during the season? Their time is accounted for basically from 6:30 a.m. until 5, and coaches are still trying to game-plan for the next opponent.

    I’m not saying they weren’t hoping he’d be further along when they got him, but the bottom line is, this isn’t a league set up for major development. Time constraints don’t allow it — which is my point of the post.

  8. By georgiebird on Jan 15, 2015 | Reply

    Agree on all the big arm QBs- it takes a lot more to make it in the NFL.
    In the Cards- Carolina game, Lindley was the best QB on the field. Yes, both QBs were lousy but Newton was even worse. While Lindley had to deal with a very aggressive Panther defense, Newton was just missing receiver after receiver. Newton had a few nice runs and that’s his strong suit but will help end his career. And Newton was saved by the “phantom lateral” rule. On Newton’s two TD passes, one was all Fozzy the other was a one yard sell out by the Cards D.
    Logan Thomas has the same attributes as Cam but Thomas has been playing QB a lot less Having gone to VaT as a TE. Teams have learned how to play Cam by trying to contain him in the pocket and take away the long passes and have him make the “touch” passes that Cam can’t do.
    Because of Thomas’ “newness” to the QB position, BA was hoping for Thomas’
    learning curve to be straight up. It looks like the Thomas experiment will be short lived if Thomas can’t deliver on the learning curve since he’s starting at QB 101.

  9. By Coach K on Jan 15, 2015 | Reply

    Logan was a reach in round four. Most teams had him as a fifth or sixth round pick. Some had him undrafted as a QB prospect. His mechanics are simply not where they need to be. I’m sure he is a great kid, but his body of work is simply too far behind to correct. I think he needs to seriously consider moving back to tight end. I think he would thrive at that position.

    As for future quarterbacks, I’m hoping a kid like Sean Mannion slides to the Cardinals in round two. This guy is a young Carson Palmer. A pocket passer with a big arm. Most important….HE IS EXTREMELY ACCURATE. Throws a very similar ball as Palmer. On the money and leads his receivers to a spot.

    His accuracy and arm strength will outshine his lack of foot speed. But he can move well enough to avoid the rush. Sean Mannion is the QB to watch if I”m Steve Keim.

  10. By georgiebird on Jan 15, 2015 | Reply

    When BA was hired, I thought we were in good shape to get our franchise QB. While BA has been a tremendous HC, I thought he would do more in finding a young QB talent. Granted, the chances of finding that QB are hurt when the team is having 10 and 11 win seasons.
    And to BA’s credit, there haven’t been any QBs to come in the league in the last two years that have a can’t miss label -(maybe Carr and the good blood lines comes the closest). SK would probably do the 2014 draft differently but that’s hindsight.
    I know there are many needs this off season but I hope the Cards try everything to get a talented young QB.
    It’s interesting that the Giants and their fans were looking at Tom Coughlin’s retirement a couple of years ago when he was 66 because he was too old. That was after Couglin had won two SBs for the Giants.-
    Well BA is now 62.
    There was once a financial planner who had a seminar with some of his 60 and 70 year old clients. He asked them what they were doing with all the money he had made for them over the years. They said to him, “we are saving it for a rainy day. He said to them, “It’s raining”.

  11. By Eazy E on Jan 16, 2015 | Reply

    I love what Cardale said about coming back in that education was a big part of coming back too! That’s awesome man and God willing when he goes to the NFL, he’ll be better prepared! I love his potential, but it was smart to come back and hone your skills and see if you can nab a Heisman and another championship!

  12. By LadyBird04 on Jan 16, 2015 | Reply

    I love the way Arians coaches, that said, Logan Thomas hasn’t shown the fans anything to make us feel reassured. I agree with Arians in not putting him into the late season games or the play-off as it probably wouldn’t have changed the results and could have ruined Thomas’ future (much like I believe Lindley was broken by Whiz & company in our disaster of a season two years ago.)

    We haven’t seen Thomas making good decisions on the field and he seems to take forever to read the field/make a decision/throw the ball. If he can’t get that sequence done exponentially quicker, he’ll never survive. I also don’t see an accurate passer who can deliver to a receiver on the move.

    Jones with only three games seemed to be able to deliver the ball quickly and was mobile/strong enough to move the ball. He seemed to be better prepared but then again it was only College level. I wouldn’t want to make the decision to roll the dice but I’d rather him than Johnny Football as he doesn’t seem to act the fool.

  13. By Scott H on Jan 16, 2015 | Reply

    To pick up where my last post ended….obviously, Palmer is the guy for now. Done. Period. Stanton is in place for 2015, so we can consider the back-up position nailed down as well. The Cardinals do not HAVE to think in terms of QB-of-the-future this off-season, but then again, it never hurts. As always, if the guy they love is there and they aren’t going too far out of the way to get him….then do it.

    I see NEXT off-season as the the point at which they absolutely DO need to be thinking in terms of QB-of-the-future. They need to be putting someone in place at that time. Again, I just don’t see Thomas as thay guy, but….if they do, that’s fine. BUT they can’t end up in the situation again next year they ended up in this year, which was having a 3rd string QB who offered virtually no hope at all. Granted, that hardly ever happens, but since we know it CAN….they can’t leave themselves so un-prepared by having a guy they feel is so un-prepared to play.

    And who knows if they will go the route of DRAFTING a QB to be the future. That would be nice but they have found success over the past decade with veteran QB’s who still had gas left in the tank and were available at the right time. I haven’t taken the time to look at who the next Kurt Warner or Carson Palmer might be in 3-4 years, but….ya never know. Drew Brees, perhaps? But they better not even THINK about Jay Cutler.

    Ideally, it would be great to be able to land the next Andrew Luck and KNOW you are set for the next decade.

  14. By Will on Jan 16, 2015 | Reply

    Daren, than I guess my question is, when does Logan get the time to develope? If he not getting reps in practice then when, maybe he could work with Kurt?

  15. By Darren Urban on Jan 16, 2015 | Reply

    Will —

    RE: Help

    As I mentioned, he has worked in the past with George Whitfield. But the CBA places serious restrictions on how much he can be with Cardinals coaches in the offseason. Isn’t supposed to even talk with coaches about football until mid-April.

  16. By tkm on Jan 16, 2015 | Reply

    in this league you can’t have 3 starting quarterbacks on 1 roster,so having 2 that are durable and good is a nfl team is going to have a 3rd string qb come in and start winning games,especially in the playoffs,that is why i think the top 2 have to be good and durable.if u like the 3rd stringer then start grooming him and get him as ready as possible.if you think lindley was our best option at the time,then why would you have logan on the roster.i don’t think lindley is better ,i was just trying to make a point.

  17. By jeffgollin on Jan 16, 2015 | Reply

    Issue before us is whether Logan has the mental chops and wherewithall to grow into a starting QB role or whether, instead, he will remain in “po-tential limbo.”

  18. By Louisville Card on Jan 16, 2015 | Reply

    Hi Darren,

    Good article and very true it’s hard for a qb to make it if you’re not that good coming out. It stresses the need for a developmental league where these guys get actual game experience and more tape to review them. Do you see this happening anytime soon? I heard that something is in the beginning stages but hard to tell if there is any truth to it…

  19. By Darren Urban on Jan 16, 2015 | Reply

    Louisville —

    RE: Developmental league

    I too have heard some talk but nothing is imminent.

  20. By clssylssy on Jan 16, 2015 | Reply

    Good article Darren, but obviously most fans don’t understand the restrictions of the CBA or have forgotten how complex BA’s offense is and how it took Carson Palmer (a seasoned veteran) half a season to get it down even taking all the reps with his receivers and offense. Fans seem to think a rookie can walk in off the street and start playing at a high level straight off the bus–rarely is the case! The class that Luck, Newton, RGIII, Wilson, Kaepernick were in hardly ever happens and I don’t think we’ve even seen a glimmer of what Logan Thomas is all about. Fans praise BA and Tom Moore as the great yodas and quarterback whisperers yet have no faith in their assessment of talent? Hipocrisy! The situation in Denver is similar to the Aaron Rogers/Brett Favre scenario and from all accounts, although we’ve not seen anything of Osweiller while being mentored by Peyton Manning, John Elway is very happy (and I have a feeling Elway would have dumped him if he weren’t going to step in when the Sheriff decides to hang up the cleats). The Saints also have Luke McCowan mentoring behind Brees and Sean Payton has kept him pretty well a mystery in New Orleans.
    The CBA being what it is, I do have to wonder why the organization wouldn’t utilize other resources available such as EXOS (and Kurt Warner) or encourage Logan Thomas to seek outside help along those lines? It really seems that the Cardinals don’t do much in the area of player development (QBs, tackling, WRs catching the ball, etc.) and while I realize that players coming into the NFL already should have these skills, it’s a huge leap from college to the pros and these guys come from all different styles of coaching and most are going to need refinement.
    I did read somewhere it was hinted that BA was waiting for the Steelers to move on from Big Ben as a possible successor to Palmer and given the Steeler/Cardinal pipeline that doesn’t sound all that far fetched.

  21. By Chuck 1 on Jan 16, 2015 | Reply

    I think that Keim will draft a QB in 2015 and Thomas will become a tight end.

  22. By D on Jan 16, 2015 | Reply

    I don’t see any QB’s in this draft after the top 2 that would be better or start sooner than Logan, so I believe Logan will be #3 next year.

    Darren–fans in NE think Larry will be playing for them next year on a 3-4 million two yr deal. I would guess that Larry would get more from AZ in a new deal, but I think his role in BA’s offense is not to his liking so a chance to end his career with Brady has to be appealing. Is the organization worried about public backlash if we see a divorce with the face of the franchise?

  23. By Darren Urban on Jan 16, 2015 | Reply

    D —

    RE: Backlash

    If Fitz is willing to play for much less in NE than Arizona, I’m not sure how you put that on the organization. They can only offer what they can offer.

    If they are mad Arians isn’t willing to feature Fitz in the offense, I guess I get it, but Arians’ system has won 21 games in two years so it’s tough to be angry about how he’s handled things there too.

  24. By Big Ken on Jan 16, 2015 | Reply

    Looks like Sean Mannion is playing in next weeks Senior Bowl. Coach K is real high on this guy.

  25. By Andy Kw on Jan 16, 2015 | Reply

    Whisenhunt will take Ryan Lindley back

  26. By Patrick Hoog aka Don't Take Losses on Jan 16, 2015 | Reply


    If we have 3 extra Offensive coaches, time can be made. As we heard all year, its about “want to”. AS QB is so crucial, which we are told by BA and Keim (and who can disagree?) time MUST be made. BA is all about “no excuses”, it must apply to him and the coaches as well.

  27. By Darren Urban on Jan 16, 2015 | Reply

    DTL —

    RE: Time

    OK, you might spare a coach. You cannot spare 21 other guys (10 on offense, 11 on defense). Bottom line, they are going to try and develop. If he can’t do it in the framework that exists, he can’t.

  28. By Coach K on Jan 16, 2015 | Reply

    Big Ken

    Mannion is pro ready. Has all the measurables. Most important one is accuracy.

    His stock will keep rising. Perhaps too high for the Cardinals to consider.

  29. By superbowlcards on Jan 17, 2015 | Reply

    Im with all the above posters that support Logan Thomas, for those that are so quick to pull the trigger and waste a draft pick, actually waisting two draft picks, the 4th rounder that was used on Logan, and any pick that might be used this year! I dont believe that SK & BA are dumb enough to waste a pick on a QB this year, other than a 7th rounder like most teams do every year hoping for that needle in the haystack find. For all the Logan Thomas haters please remember he was a rookie this year, and it was made very clear he was going to be on the sidelines learning, not on the field learning!! Only way Cards will draft a QB is if someone like Mannion (who for the record im no fan of Mannion) falls and is on the board still when our pick for round 6-7 rolls around. FYI, there is another QB playing in the same all-star game as Mannion, plays at East Carolina and was mentioned on here quite awhile back and reading up on his stats, he is very intriguing, keep an eye on his performance, he should surprise quite a few, Carden is his name, aome of us refuse to pay for NFL network so any “scouting reports” on here after the game would be so awesome!! Im sure most Cardinal fanatics will be paying special attention to pass rushers, running backs, and O-Line prospects, especially Center & Guards who can play Center or project as a Center in NFL, as well as Right Tackle, something tells me SK/BA aren’t sold on Massie as an anchor at RT.
    Andykw….I especially liked your posting on Thomas, tons of excellent points, keep em coming, its the offseason for Cardinal fans so im sure we all will be thrilled to read your posts!!

    Dynosaur…the same goes for you, outstanding posts with tons of good points, dont apways agree with yoi, but certainly enjoy reading your posts!!

  30. By clssylssy on Jan 17, 2015 | Reply

    Arians may boast 21 wins but they were largely defensive wins. Our offense, even when Palmer was healthy was barely adequate as our run game was so pathetic and Arians didn’t utilize the talent at the WR position and our TE position is not much better than it’s ever been. Our 0-line was marginally improved but take away our defense and we would be looking at a very different record–we couldn’t have won some of those really tight games against the Redskins, St.Louis, KC. We all got a reality check in Atlanta and with the last few games of the season. Just sayn’ things are not always what they appear and our record was attained by having a strong defense.
    If Fitz goes to another team, it won’t be because of the money or his affection for this team and it’s fans, but simply because he has career goals and another team might offer him a better chance at attaining those goals. I find that admirable and perhaps more players should have personal goals and objectives as we all benefit from their quest for excellence and attainment of those goals.

  31. By Patrick Hoog aka Don't Take Losses on Jan 17, 2015 | Reply

    Agree re the 21 guys, but misses the mark I see, here is another view of the world: a young QB needs

    1) a former QB (or QB coach, a Warner, a Reich et al) to sit with him every day for 90 minutes in front of a 50″ screen to dissect AZ Cardinals game film plays and do Q&A on what the QB saw, how he responded to what Defense did, and how he should have or could have responded, by chalk or digital diagramming ;

    2) consistent, repetitive, daily 90 minutes of drop back footwork and throwing, with that QB coach calling a play, describing to him what the Defense will do, and having him pick a receiver and throw, need 3-4 guys, to get those habits, coaching technique and thought processing simultaneously … we have a practice squad that could help with that, ball boys too (recall young Larry Fitz in Minn?).

    If he got that kind of intense work in addition to “the practice” for this past season, he’d be more ready or we’d know we have to draft a new one…

    QB is so critical, with Keim’s “you need to draft one every year” comments, having brought in Tom Moore, with BA being the QB whisperer, with Kitchens .. I thought the above investment of time and effort was what we might be getting. Looks like they were complacent, neglected the backup to the backup plan…or Logan just mightn’t have it…. Bobby Knight: you must always be in position to be in position. Wooden disciple, Parcels discipline … must have the “want to” to practice to win, not just the “want to” to win … lol…

    Bet they prepare 3rd QB better next year…

  32. By Dr. G. on Jan 17, 2015 | Reply

    Hey Darren – – Your patience is admirable handling the repetition on things that have been written in articles and discussed in postings ad nauseam: like development squads or AAA league, questions already answered on Logan’s practice time, Fitzgerald!, BA finally admitting misuse of Ellington, Cromartie, etc. It seems some posters just start typing what they choose without reading the previous dialogue or the subject matter.

    Next, we might see gossip such as: “Cards have a player who has fathered at least 12 children with eight different women. Could this be true? Do you think he will play anywhere for the biggest $$$$ because of this? Tune in for updates”….just dumb…

    I may take intermission until further into the Spring…..Thanks for your efforts…

  33. By Coach K on Jan 18, 2015 | Reply


    I like the Carden kid from East Carolina. He had a great season. I would not put him on the same level as Mannion who played a much tougher Pac 12 schedule. Mannion sliding to round 6 or 7 is impossible. If anything, he will move up to round two by the time the combine ends. Possibly at the bottom of round one?

  34. By SkeltonsRevenge on Jan 18, 2015 | Reply

    Logan Thomas is practice squad at this point, Lindley will not be resigned. The team NEVER should have been without an option going into the playoffs, they capitulated and threw the season post Stanton injury, not acceptable. There are always experienced QB’s on the market. BA needs to look at having QB competition in camp behind Palmer.

  35. By clssylssy on Jan 20, 2015 | Reply

    Perhaps you could do an article about how the CBA has impacted the development of QBs in recent years and the fact that this isn’t your daddy’s NFL any longer. It seems the majority of fans are completely without any idea of “the process” and have unrealistic expectations that players can just step onto the NFL stage and immediately be the next Tom Brady or Peyton Manning. Just a suggestion…

  36. By sig on Feb 19, 2015 | Reply

    Thomas is a physical freak and has the tools to develop. If he didn’t then Arians would not have drafted him nor will he give up on him until he gets a solid amount of time to develop and take over from palmer. Arians may finally conclude that he isn’t able to be developed but watch him work his magic. If anyone watched the limited preseason action from Thomas I think you can see the accuracy rap was likely a bad.

  37. By Aaron on Apr 1, 2015 | Reply

    It just shocks m at how quick everybody is to completely write off someone who we see very little of. It has been said time and time again that Thomas was drafter for two years from now. Not this next year. Everybody just calm down. We truly have very little knowledge of how he is progressing/or not progressing, because we see very little of him on the field. I am very happy we did not see him on the field. We all knew when Carson went down that our high hopes for this season were over. Even though Drew played admirably, that was that. It was over, and its ok, it was a fun season. Why throw him out there when there was literally nothing to be gained from it. I know in the NFL EVERYBODY needs to make snap decisions about everything. Lets all just take a step back and trust the two men who literally took our franchise from a joke, to a force.

    That is all.

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