TEMPE, Ariz. — The Arizona Cardinals’ starting quarterback Sunday against the Washington Redskins will be Logan Thomas. Or Drew Stanton. Or Carson Palmer.
“All three quarterbacks participated in practice today,” Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said Friday afternoon. “Honest to God, the first time in 20 years I really don’t know who’s starting.
“We’ll see how it goes. They’re all ready. I know whatever quarterback comes out and is in the huddle, he’s going to play a great game. There’s no doubt in my mind about that. And I’m not sure which one it’s going to be yet.”
Does that clear things up for you?
Arians said Palmer, who has not played since Week 1 due to a nerve issue in his throwing shoulder, has been making great progress since visiting a specialist in Denver last week.
“He had some good velocity, lobbed some balls deep today,” he said. “He’ll get another treatment and then get back.”
Arians added that Palmer was about “80 percent” back to his pre-injury velocity, and that he’s “close” to being where he needs to be in order to play. He certainly did more Friday than he had in a long while.
“He looked pretty good,” receiver John Brown said. “He looked like the old Carson.”
Ideally, Palmer would be healthy enough to resume his role as the team’s starter Sunday. Arians said the 34-year-old is mentally ready to go, so it’s really only a matter of him being able to handle the physical part of playing. If he can’t, the hope is Stanton, who started the team’s last three games, would be able to step in once again.
But in order for that to be an option, Stanton would have to pass the league’s concussion protocol, which he was set to take for the second time Friday afternoon.
“But he did participate in practice,” Arians said. “If he passes, then we’ll have him in the mix, also.”
Of course, if neither of the team’s top two quarterbacks are available, the team will turn to Thomas. The rookie got his first taste of game action last week in Denver, completing 1-of-8 passes for 81 yards and a touchdown. He received the first team reps in practice this week while preparing as if he was going to start.
“I was very pleased with his progression this week and I feel very comfortable if he’s starting,” Arians said.
While the situation may seem like it could be a problem, as conventional wisdom would say three different game plans are necessary for three different quarterbacks, Arians said that’s not the case. The second-year coach said each QB is expected to be able to do the same things, so it’s more of a one-plan-fits-all situation.
That’s not a problem for Brown, who will be receiving passes from whomever it is who lines up under center.
“It’s still the same to us,” he said. “No matter who they put out there we know they’ll do good. We’ve just got to go out there and do our best.”
As of Friday, Arians said there is a chance all three of the team’s quarterbacks could all be active for Sunday’s tilt, though it’s possible two of the three — or maybe just one — will ultimately be able to play. Arians is in no rush to make a call.
“We can wait all the way ’til right before kickoff and make the decision on who’s the healthiest and ready the most to go,” he said.