Former Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas will start and play the entirety of the Arizona Cardinals preseason finale against the San Diego Chargers Thursday. The Cardinals made the announcement Monday, via Twitter. Thomas was selected by Arizona in the fourth round(120th overall) during the NFL draft in May following his senior season for the Hokies. Earlier this week he survived the first round of preseason roster cuts when the team opted to send fellow quarterback Ryan Lindley packing.
Thomas has seen time in the Cardinals quarterback rotation during two of the team's first three preseason games. In his NFL debut August 9 against the Houston Texans Thomas was an accurate 11 of 12, throwing for 113 yards and one touchdown in the teams lopsided 32-0 win. After sitting out the team's second game against Minnesota, Thomas performance regressed, as he completed only two of seven, throwing for a mere 21 yards with one interception in last weekend's loss against Cincinnati.
A large segment of Hokie nation still remembers Thomas as the man who guided sub-par offensive units in two of his three seasons as Virginia Tech quarterback. At 6'6", 250 pounds Thomas has always had the physical tools to be an elite quarterback, but struggled to find the accuracy and decision making to match. As a senior he guided the Hokies to an 8-5 record in 2013, his college career ending due to injury in a Sun Bowl loss to UCLA.
Cardinals head coach, and fellow Hokie Bruce Arians has been vocal at times this summer about the need for improved decision making from Thomas. "He still needs to learn when to throw the ball extremely hard and when to throw it accurately" Arians said at an earlier press conference.
After his debut against Houston Arians remarked, "We kept with things he likes and knows. He threw some balls in there that made me hold my breath, but the guys caught them." He went on to praise Thomas' "nice, calm demeanor", rating his performance as "very, very good."
When Lindley was released Monday, and Thomas was given the starting spot against San Diego some wondered if the rookie could ascend higher up the team's depth chart. This is an unlikely scenario as backup Drew Stanton had an impressive camp, going 27 for 38 for 341 yards and three touchdowns in three games.
While Thomas may spend 2014 as a third option for the Cardinals, Arians could have eyes towards 2015 when starter Carson Palmer will be 35 years old and commanding a $10 million salary. Thursday could give Arians a glimpse if there is enough in Thomas to coach up into a future starter. Forgive Hokie fans if they collectively cringe at that thought.