With the play of quarterback Ryan Lindley, one burning question that Arizona Cardinals fans were left with was 'why not play Logan Thomas to see what you have?' What did they have to lose?
Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians has previously stated how quarterbacks don't learn anything on the bench, but he handled Thomas differently. Of course, he did refer to his rookie quarterback as "a pretty nice project at three" when he addressed the media for the last time before the offseason.
In the case of Thomas, it was avoiding his growing pains for now. "This team didn't need growing pains at this point in time," he told the media. "Ryan was a lot further along in that phase, but I think talent-wise, he's everything we thought he was and he's got a really good future."
One could argue there was no way Thomas could have been worse than Lindley, and that might be the case, but there is a protection issue. Arians previously has praised Lindley with his ability to protect himself and for knowing protections and such. The head coach has not given such an indication about Thomas. That puts him at risk of getting hurt, which would set him back in his development.
Lindley also managed the offense better. He would throw to the right guy, although it didn't always get completed. Thomas, in his one practice on the first team, wasn't even throwing the ball to the right guy.
What does the future hold for Thomas?
With Carson Palmer guaranteed a boatload of money in 2015 and Drew Stanton still under contract one more year, Thomas is looking at another season of waiting and an offseason of development. 2016 is probably the target for him. Of course, the team could bring in another QB in the draft this year and Thomas would have to fight for his roster spot.
I agree with his handling of Thomas. Arians has not been shy about playing young players, but with a quarterback, you want to give him the starting job right at the very beginning so he gets those growing pains out of the way early -- in the offseason, in the preseason and early in the season. You don't give a rookie the ball with no reps all season and in the middle of a playoff race or in the playoffs. That would be disastrous.
If you want to go with Thomas as a starter, you make that decision before the season and you roll with him.
It looks like that won't be the case until at least 2016, and it might never happen, either.