Arizona Cardinals Head Coach Bruce Arians Benches Logan Thomas on Christmas Day

By Shaun Church

Arizona Cardinals rookie quarterback Logan Thomas was set to start his first career game this week against the San Francisco 49ers. And now, head coach Bruce Arians has changed his mind and will start maligned veteran Ryan Lindley, according to Kent Somers of The Arizona Republic:

Arians named Thomas the starter early this week with a caveat: He would have a “quick hook” for the rookie should he struggle, but that the hook would start with his performance in practice. Should he not look the part in the days leading up to Arizona’s Week 17 matchup with the NFC West-rival 49ers, Arians would not hesitate to pull him in favor of Lindley—a quarterback with a career 46.9 passer rating.

And thus, on Christmas Day, Arians turned into the Grinch who stole Thomas’ dream of starting his first NFL game. This quote from Arians in March of 2013 is interesting given the fact he has benched a rookie based on practice performance:

“I’ve had many, many guys that just lit it up on the practice field, then you turn the lights on and they slowed to half speed; and other guys were just the opposite,” he told Craig Grialou of ArizonaSports.com.

What’s interesting about that quote is the back end of it—that some struggle in practice but then play great on game day. How will Arians know if Thomas can turn it on when the lights come on if he yanks him before the rookie has that chance?

Another thing that’s worrisome is telling everyone of the quick hook in the first place. Why put that kind of pressure on a rookie quarterback who already has enough pressure on him to begin with? After all, the Cardinals have a lot riding on this game. Win and they still have a chance to earn a first-round bye and potentially the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs.

Lindley has gone an NFL-record 225 pass attempts without a touchdown pass to start his career. Thomas threw an 81-yard touchdown to running back Andre Ellington on his third-ever NFL pass.

Photo: Courtesy of USA Today