TEMPE, Ariz. -- If an out-of-touch spectator watched the Arizona Cardinals’ quarterbacks 11-on-11 practice Thursday, they’d have some idea of the pecking order.
It’d be clear Carson Palmer was the starter but hampered by an injury and Drew Stanton was next in line. But then it would look like Phillip Sims was the third-string quarterback and Chandler Harnish was fourth. Perception, on Thursday, would've been reality. But the question became: Who was the fifth quarterback, in a black jersey standing on the sideline holding his helmet?
Logan Thomas was not part of the quarterback rotation during 11-on-11 drills during the last OTA. Stanton, who takes the first-team drills in place of Palmer while he continues to recover from ACL surgery, was followed by Sims and then Harnish. The trio would gather between the hashmarks in between plays while Thomas stood near the sideline.
On one throw, Sims threw a beautiful 65-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Spadola. The defense wanted offensive pass interference to be called, but coach Bruce Arians ruled the play a touchdown.
Arians said Sims' reps were a matter of the rotation. Thursday was simply Sims’ day.
“He’s done a really good job,” Arians said. “That thing will just keep going back and forth, so you want to keep the reps fairly equal. Logan had a ton of them (Wednesday), so it was (Sims’) turn (Thursday).”
But Arians gave a one-word answer when asked if either Thomas, Sims or Harnish had emerged as the clear-cut third quarterback during OTAs: “No.”
Other position battles included:
Kick returner: During the opening period of practice, John Brown was first in line to receive kicks, followed by J.J. Nelson and Brittan Golden. At one point, Damond Powell tried to go ahead of the group but was told to go to the back of the line.
Wide receiver: By not having Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd on the field Thursday, Arians was able to get a good look at his small, fast receivers. Brown, Golden, Nelson and Jaron Brown were in on the majority of the snaps. Arians felt Nelson had a chance to make a couple plays but only came down with one. “They did OK,” Arians said. “(John) Smokey (Brown) had a great OTAs. Jaron Brown has been real steady.”