The battle for third QB

Posted by Darren Urban on May 20, 2015 – 4:29 pm

Bruce Arians made it pretty clear the other day where his quarterback depth chart stood. The third quarterback spot is “wide open” as a competition, a comment that both solidified Drew Stanton’s status as Carson Palmer’s backup (not a surprise at all) and left the rest of the offseason and training camp to an interesting situation for Logan Thomas (which might be a little more surprising.)

When the Cardinals signed Chandler Harnish, it was easy too look at it as adding an extra camp arm — the Cards always have four quarterbacks around — who was familiar with Arians’ system. Thomas was a guy who figured to be around at least one more season so the team could figure out if the 2014 fourth-round pick could indeed develop into an NFL quarterback. Then the Cardinals decided to sign tryout QB Phillip Sims and suddenly, the Cards had five quarterbacks. Maybe, if Palmer was further back in his rehab, all those arms would be important. And, truth be told, the full boat of QBs could still be partially about Palmer relief this summer. But after Arians praised Sims recently and then noted the whole wide-open thing, well, then you wonder where this could go.

With two practices running simultaneously during OTAs and minicamp, there are reps to share. Thomas is getting work, as is Sims — which normally does not happen much for a fifth QB. It’s so early, and right now, Thomas still seems to be the probable guy who ends up as the No. 3 QB on the depth chart once the Cardinals host the Saints Sept. 13. But Thomas still has work to do on all the things that were giving him issues as a rookie, and Sept. 13 is a long way away. While in theory the third QB spot isn’t one to focus upon in the grand scheme, the Cardinals unfortunately found out last season just how valuable that spot can become — and why this is a deep depth chart battle that still bears watching.


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40 Responses to “The battle for third QB”

  1. By Anthony on May 20, 2015 | Reply

    Hi Darren,

    Quick question regarding our current C situation- I don’t think Sendlein has been signed yet, is there any chance we bring him back? Do you believe Shipley/Larsen is an upgrade over Lyle?

    Thanks for all you do, GO CARDS!

  2. By Darren Urban on May 21, 2015 | Reply

    Anthony —

    RE: Sendlein

    At this point, I do not expect Sendlein to return. I would guess Lyle will wait for a team to suffer an injury and need a vet.

  3. By sbrown on May 20, 2015 | Reply

    something else to add, Stanton contract is only thru the end of this season. Could the Cards be looking ahead for next year to have a different #2 QB, out of this group in camp now ???

  4. By hummer53 on May 20, 2015 | Reply

    Accounting for not getting many reps as a 3rd QB, still we didn’t get a whole lot of buzz concerning Thomas throughout last season . It was a tell tell sign when the staff felt they had to start Lindley in a playoff game. That spoke volumes.

  5. By Patrick Hoog aka Don't Take Losses on May 20, 2015 | Reply

    Painful but apparently lesson learned…our true achilles heel.

  6. By John The Draft Guy on May 20, 2015 | Reply

    As I posted a couple blogs back, Bruce’s comments about Sims were;

    “He was able to get it. His reads were correct,” Arians gushed after rookie minicamp. “He actually changed a protection once and I was like, ‘Whoa, you’re up to level five already. These guys can’t do that.’ And he was very accurate. He got my attention. He’s in the mix.”

    Thomas was so far behind, the cards brought in Lindley last year instead of using Thomas. Now a kid comes in and gets it right away. Says a lot about either Thomas or Sims, or both.

  7. By John The Draft Guy on May 20, 2015 | Reply

    His old coach Nick Saben wrote;

    “I believe Phillip Sims has the mental acumen and physical tools to be an asset for a team in the National Football League,” Saban wrote. “He is hard-working, driven, tough and a coachable player.”

    “I found him to be a quick study who was always ready and eager to learn,” Saban wrote. “He is a special young man who always followed direction and did things the right way. He was a natural leader both in the classroom and on the field. Phillip also served as a member of our leadership team and won the Ozzie Newsome Award.

    To Note, Sims did get beat out by AJ Macarrens and transferred. But Saben wrote this endorcement recently.

  8. By Crow on May 20, 2015 | Reply

    I just watched some of the highlights from sims, he showed nice accuracy decent arm strength and was light on his feet. If anyone can bring out the best in this kid It’s Arians.

  9. By Austen on May 20, 2015 | Reply


    So what is about Sims that Arians likes? What have you seen from him that would make you wonder if this guy has a shot at the number 3 position?

  10. By Darren Urban on May 21, 2015 | Reply

    Austen —

    RE: Sims

    Arians, and JTDG has noted, likes how Sims has done a couple of things mentally. We are a long way from him making a roster bid. It’s really too early to have seen much on the field.

  11. By georgiebird on May 20, 2015 | Reply

    The handwriting is on the wall. BA is not impressed with Logan Thomas.
    Thomas is a #4 draft and is in his 2nd year. If BA liked Thomas, he would be saying things like ‘Drew Stanton better be on his toes, the backup QB job is up for grabs.’

  12. By beltramiscott on May 20, 2015 | Reply

    My friends tell me Phillip Sims has a very accurate and strong arm. I have not seen film on him. However, they also tell me he is a smart QB. If not on the 53 how about the practice squad ?

  13. By Arthur Martinez on May 20, 2015 | Reply

    Did they already release or cut Ryan Lindley? I have not heard any news that he has left the team. Although I am expecting him not to be on the team anyways for 2015, I can’t seem to find anywhere that says he is no longer a cardinal. From your article it would seem that he is not one of the 5 QBs, so what’s the deal?

  14. By Darren Urban on May 21, 2015 | Reply

    Arthur —

    RE: Lindley

    Lindley’s contract expired and he was not re-signed.

  15. By Coach K on May 20, 2015 | Reply

    I have said before, Logan has missed valuable years of eye-target-touch development by not playing QB in high school. You just don’t teach those skills later. They are developed by playing the position for many years. Logan should request to play a slash type position, HBack, or pass catching tight end in the mold of Jimmy Graham.

    I believe Logan would be an outstanding pass catching tight end with his size and speed. As for his future as a QB. Not buying it.

  16. By BIGAL on May 21, 2015 | Reply

    Well there we go…BA is a Beauty is he not? I guarantee you, we wouldn’t have…
    we didn’t have, this kind of psychological motivational warfare under Whiz/Graves.
    He’s taking the whole 2014 injury riddled season & using it so we never see that
    same drop-off @ 3rd string QB again! I sure hope for Logan Thomas’ sake he’s been studying & working his tail off!
    Honestly folks…20 years ago I would have never been soo interested in the progression of our #3 QB position! And yes, I know…were all concerned about it because of CP, & what he means healthy & where he’s at career wise & the level
    this team has risen too in this millennium…& then there’s “some guy” named Fitz!

  17. By Eazy E on May 21, 2015 | Reply

    Logan has quite a bit too prove, but that’s with most 2nd year players and especially QBs!

  18. By Will on May 21, 2015 | Reply

    to me this is one of the burning questios going into traninig camp, has Logan Thomas progressed enough this off season to, first make the team and secondly show that he has what it takes to be a good NFL QB. I will very interested to see how this plays out.

  19. By Eric G on May 21, 2015 | Reply

    Nothing to see here, just Arians ensuring he has enough QBs to call in case of another catastrophe. I expect Thomas to be the #3 guy.

  20. By Marlin on May 21, 2015 | Reply

    Sims will give him “a run for his money”. Glad we have the competition.

  21. By Drew L. on May 21, 2015 | Reply

    Here’s the thing that doesn’t make sense to me. If Thomas was a throw away QB, why wouldn’t Bruce have started, or at least replaced Lindley with him when the wheels were falling off? I think Bruce has faith in him. I think he was protecting Logan just like he said he was. Otherwise it doesn’t make sense. I also think he’s trying to get Thomas and Sims to improve through competition. Just my two cents.

  22. By Dynosoar on May 21, 2015 | Reply


    do you know or can you learn what Logan Thomas has done this offseason to improve? The two extremes for offseason work I recall are from the NBA and were both on the Utah Jazz together.

    Ostertag stated he spent an offseason on the couch watching TV and eating Twinkies (yeah, he actually said this and it infuriated his team-mates and coach and his physical conditioning, or lack of it was a manifestation he was being truthful).

    Malone on the other hand, made video of his offseason workouts. The one that stood out was his doing wind sprints with a parachute strapped to his back. Reminds me of a photo I have of Fitzgerald doing sprints with a weight sled strapped to his back. These two are cut from the same mold, they just won’t slow down.

    (As a side, Malone went ballistic when he heard Ostertag’s interview. Man, we thought he’d go Mike Tyson on him. Very different offseason approach.)

    So, any idea what Thomas has done? We know Kapp was going to train with Warner (I assume he did.)


  23. By Darren Urban on May 21, 2015 | Reply

    Dyno —

    RE: Thomas

    I haven’t had a chance to talk to him about that.

  24. By Patrick Hoog aka Don't Take Losses on May 21, 2015 | Reply

    A lot of interesting and pretty accurate comments above…the intrigue continues. Love it.

  25. By Steve on May 21, 2015 | Reply


    If Thomas is not going to make the roster as 3rd QB, would the team consider keeping him as a TE prospect? Obviously Thomas would have to agree to the position change as well but it could be his bet shot at a prolonged professional career.

  26. By Darren Urban on May 21, 2015 | Reply

    Steve —

    RE: Thomas as TE

    I think we’re getting ahead of ourselves at this point.

  27. By Dynosoar on May 21, 2015 | Reply

    My thoughts on who the QBs will throw to this season, whoever those QBs will be (may be subject to change).

    Jaron Brown
    Smokey Brown (just go long)
    Nelson (go long also)

    with Golden on the practice squad, if he’s eligible.

  28. By Mr. Touchdown on May 21, 2015 | Reply

    For those of you curious about Sims’ skills, the kid can launch the rock. Strongest arm I’ve ever seen in person. For whatever reason he was just unable to break out between the transfers and qb competition at bama. He could easily have been a stud college qb if things had broken right. I’m not surprised at all that he’s pushing for a roster spot. If not in AZ he’ll land somewhere based simply on his physical tools. hearing that his mental game is impressing BA – I’m pretty optimistic about his chances.

  29. By azdesertrat1953 on May 21, 2015 | Reply

    I wonder if Sims is getting it so fast because he can understand the playbook and read the defense fast, like Palmer can.
    You know, that feeling you get when everything slows down and you can focus on it All.

    GO CARDS!!!

  30. By SteveG on May 21, 2015 | Reply

    As an aside..REALLY enjoyed the video of Carson admitting (wrong word? Realizing?) that he was not as focused as he thought he was a few years back..How the end being in sight (and on a team with the most talent that he has ever been on I think) has made him sharper, (anxious?) hungry etc…

    A way to comment on videos in situ would be nice…

    Great job to the staff of this site…Have become accustomed to top notch content.

  31. By Richard L on May 21, 2015 | Reply

    Just so I’m clear on this an undrafted QB Sims is better than a 4th round pick Thomas. Ryan Lindley was a better choice at the end of last year then Logan Thomas. Sounds like Logan Thomas should be packing his bags.

  32. By Darren Urban on May 21, 2015 | Reply

    Richard L —

    RE: “Better”

    Just so I’m clear, I’m not saying Sims is necessarily going to be better than Thomas. We’ll see how it plays out.

  33. By Richard S on May 21, 2015 | Reply

    My 2 cents worth which are worth about 2 cents. What I’ve seen of Logan was the Sr. Bowl last year and he didn’t look very good and his few games in the NFL last year, got sacked nearly every play in the Sr. Bowl, not able to move, although he’s supposed to be fleet footed. Arians said he liked him because he had a really strong arm. People need to guard against homerism which led to Steve Psarkawitz being the Cards QB one year, UMo. grad. Logan and Arians both went to Va. Tech. I played saxophone in my dad’s dance band was wasn’t any good and I know it. Mr. Touchdown above says Sims can really launch the rocket, in other words strong arm, which is what Arians liked about Logan. I honestly think Logan is fighting to make the roster this year.

  34. By Scott H on May 21, 2015 | Reply

    I am glad to see that there is competition and that the coach has made the statement that the #3 QB spot is wide open. I mean… could it NOT be wide open??? Logan Thomas showed NOTHING last season. And the reluctance to let him play when it was a virtual certainty that we had NO chance with Lindley at QB spoke volumes. How could THAT have assured him of anything looking ahead to 2015??? Answer – it wouldn’t have. It couldn’t have. It didn’t!

    Not that I can really base this on anything other than gut feeling – especially since the current competition is equally un-proven – but it would not surprise me to see Thomas not even make the roster this year.

    After last year? This team can’t have nothing to go to war with if we lose Palmer and Stanton again. Honestly, if we DO lose Palmer and Stanton again, we’re pretty much done. But….geez, that doesn’t mean we have to be as pathetic as we were LAST year!

  35. By Chris12 on May 21, 2015 | Reply

    Cardinals Fans You Guys are in for a treat!!!! I’ve been knowing this kid since he was a freshman in HS and he loves a challenge… He’s a very hard worker.. As far as what happened at Alabama I don’t think he really got beat out.. I mean if you throw 2 TD and 1pic and the other guy throws 1TD and 2pics in the spring game I really don’t call that being beat out.. Hell it wouldn’t have mattered what QB you had at Alabama.. The UVA thing? … He didn’t have any deep ball threats which is hard for a guy who likes to stretch the field.. I’ve seen this kid got through a lot but he never quits at adversity he just continues to comeback harder to prove people wrong! He has a Major Chip on his Shoulder and just speaking football he could very well challenge you guy’s No. 2 QB…. Sn: Logan Thomas IS A TIGHT END WITH A CANNON OF AN ARM!! Va. Tech does this stuff all the time they recruit them at one position and basically make the player switch to a position that they want them to play and if the player doesn’t switch they sit them until the player decides “Hey I need Tape for the NFL!” SORRY SO LONG(THATS WHAT SHE SAID!) but honestly I Think Little Sims Will be you guy’s No. 2 #RAIDERNATION

  36. By Big Ken on May 22, 2015 | Reply

    Bumper crop of quarterbacks next year. It will be interesting to see which ones rise to the top. I think SK/BA will draft one high next May.

  37. By jasonc on May 22, 2015 | Reply

    Hey people let’s keep this in perspective. Arians comments were made after the rookie minicamp about an UDFA player. How high were his expectations? I’m sure Sims was impressive because he was signed to the 90 man roster so I’m not trying to disparage him, but his signing surely led to the “wide open” comment and leads me to my second point. Every coach will tell you that competition breeds excellence so why wouldn’t you want competition? Do you know the last completion Sims was in he lost to AJ McCarron…in college, how is this a ringing endorsement that he is already the front runner? If Sims does beat out Thomas for that spot then I’m super excited because he is going to have earned it because if we’re being honest its Sims who has the uphill battle not Thomas. Thomas is a player they invested a 4th round pick on who they are on record as saying will get a lot of work this offseason.

  38. By Darren Urban on May 22, 2015 | Reply

    jasonc —

    RE: In perspective


  39. By Big Ken on May 22, 2015 | Reply

    They knew Logan Thomas is and will be a project. I don’t think they’ll dump a guy they have under a reasonable contract for the next couple of years. Kudos to any guy they bring into camp, but its just camp.

  40. By don hill on Jun 2, 2015 | Reply

    it’s way too early to know what’s going on here . of course BA wants everyone pushing each other to get better . but more than any other position . the QB is about what’s above the shoulders . how much LT has picked up will be pretty obvious to all of us pretty soon . if Sims is easily picking up the mental aspect faster . then BA knows that too . he may already know who # 3’s going to be 🙂
    GO CARDS ! ! ! !

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