It’ll be tough for the Arizona Cardinals to give up on their 2014 draft pick and put their trust in a quarterback who began his tenure with an invite to rookie mini-camp.
Let’s look beyond that while examining the final tryout for the team’s third-string quarterback job.
For a fairly even performance between second-year pro Logan Thomas and undrafted rookie Phillip Sims, the difference could be in turnovers and big-play potential. Thomas had fewer of the latter and more of the former as each quarterback got a half of preseason football under their belts in a 22-20 win against the Denver Broncos on Thursday.
Thomas completed 9-of-10 passes for 116 yards and a touchdown. He didn’t turn the ball over — although he took two sacks — and hit rookie receiver J.J. Nelson for a pretty, 59-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter. That gave Arizona the go-ahead score to win.
Earlier in the second half, Thomas led the Cardinals on a seven-play, 51-yard scoring drive on their first possession of the third quarter, giving Arizona its first lead of the game, 16-13, after the extra point was missed.
Sims completed 14-of-22 passes for 101 yards with a touchdown, no interceptions and a fumble.
The fumble could have been blamed on Bradley Sowell, who at left tackle lost his leverage on a pass-rusher. At the same time, Sims sat in the pocket for a good few seconds and didn’t react to it collapsing once he couldn’t find an open receiver.
The quarterback also took three sacks — not all were on the offensive line.
After his turnover, Sims settled in.
He completed a pass on 3rd-and-4 to Jaxon Shipley and helped the Cardinals make up a 13-0 first-half deficit to trail 13-10 at halftime. Sims later found Shipley on another third-down situation.
It helped Sims that, at the same time, Arizona began showing promise on the ground with veteran running back Chris Johnson getting warmed up in his debut.
Sims’ touchdown pass, which cut Denver’s lead to 13-7, went to rookie running back Paul Lasike in the corner of the end zone, where Lasike avoided teammate Ifeanyi Momah — the intended target — and two Bronco defenders to hold on for the score.