Breaking Down Arizona Cardinals Week 17 Starter Logan Thomas (Video)


The Arizona Cardinals have announced that rookie quarterback Logan Thomas will start against the San Francisco 49ers, and head coach Bruce Arians made it clear that the team won’t rush Drew Stanton‘s return.

“If Drew were truly healthy,” Arians said via “We would start him (this Sunday). But I don’t see that happening by Sunday.”

I’ve broken down film of Logan Thomas and can tell you all the good things he has done while at Virginia Tech. Arians can really utilize Thomas’s arm and mobility in a bunch of different ways.

Play #1: Nothing special, great protection, nice blitz pick-up by the O-line, nice fade in the back of the end zone.

Play #2: A good play for the Cardinals’ offense when the running game is taking control. Play-action streaks with Thomas’s lazer arm, a fantastic throw in heavy traffic. That was a super highly contested back-shoulder fade. Helps that the defender’s head wasn’t turned. That requires tremendous accuracy to make one heck of a throw like that…….and recognition of the defensive back’s head not turned towards the quarterback.

Play #3: A little read-option with Thomas’s mobility wouldn’t hurt. Thomas has the potential to show flashes of Cam Newton and Colin Kaepernick. Thomas at 6-foot-6, 250 pounds, is so hard to bring down after seeing him run through that defender.

Play #4: A four-man rush with a soft zone. With that arm strength, Thomas can zip that ball right through the linebackers at the middle of the field into the soft spot of the zone. The safety was late on reacting to the throw.

Play #5: He recognizes the blitz quickly and gets it out to his secondary option on third down. The defensive back had tight coverage on the receiver underneath and Thomas does a good job of throwing the ball to the top, where only his receiver can catch it.

Play #6: A delayed keeper. In the red zone, teams try harder to stop the run, and if the D bites too much on the run, Thomas can keep it to himself and use his athleticism.

Play #7: Nice play design. A designed option shotgun draw, setting up a 1-on-1 match up down the field, and making the defense commit initially to what they thought was a run play. The safety over the top was completely fooled, bit too much inside, and as a result, Thomas had an easy touchdown.

Play #8: This is what Arians did with Ben Roethlisberger while he was the Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator from 2007-2011. Call an all-out vertical play, and if there is no one there, Roethlisberger can escape the pressure and pick up some easy yardage since all of this receivers were down field. Like Thomas, Roethlisberger is a big, tall, strong, mobile quarterback. Thomas can do the same. And look at Thomas lowering his shoulder over that defender; using his size to his advantage.

Play #9: Once nothing was open down field and facing pressure, Thomas extends the play by leaving the pocket. He kept his eyes downfield and he made a great throw to the other side of the field using his arm strength. Nice awareness on his part, and good job of hanging in there and taking a hit by the pass rusher.

Play #10: Designed scramble to his left, which shifted the defense to his left, leaving Thomas’s arm for a wide open TD to the receiver on the right. The safety moved to Thomas’s left, which allowed the receiver on the right side to have 1-on-1 coverage.

Play #11: A nice, clutch play on Thomas. 4th & 1, the defense was thinking run, but Thomas keeps it to himself for the score.

Play #12: Another read-option play, this time to the outside, instead of the middle of the field.

Play #13: A nice play-action, all-out verticals play that Arians really likes to use in his offense. Thomas has the arm strength to drive that ball past the safety.

Play #14: A rollout to the right. The safety was at the middle of the field, and Thomas got it to his receiver on the right with a perfect back-shoulder fade. He can really utilize those back-shoulder fades, which you need in today’s NFL. Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd are two big, physical targets that can get those type of balls for Arizona.

Play #15: The receiver runs right through the coverage and Thomas has the arm strength to throw one to the back of the end zone.

Play #16: Cardinals tight end Rob Housler is the perfect tight end for this play-action pass. Get a fast receiver down the seam for an easy catch.

Play #17: Thomas delivered that ball in 2 seconds. Before he took the snap, Thomas knew he had one-on-one coverage. Facing a five-man rush, he gets the ball out quickly. In the NFL, he’ll see that super tight coverage that is considered wide open in the pro game. He made a super accurate throw with that tight coverage on the receiver.

Play #18: A perfect play where Arizona can utilize the speed of rookie receiver John Brown when he cuts into the center of the field.

Play #19: The same play concept as play #6.

Play #20: A rather well-executed play all-around by the 11-men on offense. Perfect pass protection, wide open receiver and nice throw and catch.

Play #21: Once he realizes no one is open, he used his instincts by using his legs to pick up the yardage for the first down, using his athleticism to make guys miss.

Play #22: Not many guys have the arm strength to make a throw down the field to the sideline like that.

Play #23: Same as play #22.

Play #24: Thomas shows the toughness of taking that hit right at his face and gives his receiver a chance to adjust to that jump ball.

Play #25: Nice play concept. A fake reverse to the receiver, and the running back is the lead blocker. Running back Stepfan Taylor, utilized for his blocking skills, is the perfect player to run this play.

Play #26: When Thomas has time to throw, and has speedy playmakers on the outside like that receiver, Thomas has the arm strength to drive the ball past the safety. Those safeties really have to play deeper, allowing some open space for intermediate routes.

Play #27: Arians likes to line up in big formations with multiple tight ends. Forcing the defense to stack the box, Thomas can utilize the back-shoulder fade in the end zone to either Floyd or Fitzgerald.

Play #28: Right here was a bootleg designed to go to the right, but when nothing was there, Thomas uses his mobility to flush to the left and his receivers do a good job of heading towards his direction to make the touchdown pass possible. Nice job of Thomas extending the play and his receivers for adjusting.

Play #29: Same concept as play #10, where Thomas flushing to his left give his receiver a 1-on-1 matchup by forcing the safety to move to his direction. Thomas took a gigantic hit, but still delivered a strong ball to his receiver along the sideline.

Play # 30: Nicely done all the way by all 11 men on offense. Nice protection, good route, well executed throw & catch.

Play #31: A max protect, 3-man rush, the linebackers fail to keep up with the tight end, and Thomas does a good job of delivering the ball over both middle linebackers.

Play #32: Another well-drawn play that fits Thomas’s strengths. It let him move to his right towards the center of the field, the receiver ran a route which allowed him to cut back to the center of the field, and the defense was late to adjust to the route.

Play #33: Nice blitz pick up, plus Thomas has the mobility to maneuver away from the blitz. Might have been overthrown, but Thomas put in a place where the receiver could jump up and make a play.

Play #34: A clutch play on 3rd & 11 where Thomas delivers a strike to the receiver who found the weak spot of the zone coverage.

Play #35: A perfect play to use on 3rd/4th & short. Use that size of Thomas to execute a quarterback sneak. Arians ran quarterback sneaks with the 6-foot-5, 241 pound Roethlisberger during his tenure in Pittsburgh. As you saw, Thomas is hard to bring down, and it will be interesting to see how tough he is to bring down against bigger athletes in the NFL. Thomas went absolute Beast Mode on Georgia Tech on that play.

Play #36: Thomas did a good job of delivering a jump ball to his tall tight end. Troy Niklas, the rookie 6-foot-7, 270 pound tight end who was placed on Injured Reserve, is a perfect end zone target in the future for Thomas.

Play #37: Another QB sneak.

Play #38: This play reminds me exactly of Kaepernick. Right as the pocket collapses, Thomas, like Kaepernick, uses his lightning quick instincts and his speed to take off and run, and uses his body like Newton to get extra yards after contact. Another beastly run by Thomas.

Play #39: Thomas knew right before the snap who he was going to deliver the ball to, and his arm strength makes it tough for defenders to get a hand on it, when he throws it accurately.

Play #40: Another read option up the middle.

Play #41: A nicely thrown ball by Thomas. He has the arm strength. Quarterbacks with strong arms like Kaepernick sometimes develop a bad habit of throwing rockets every time they pass the ball. But Thomas, on this play, didn’t have to throw the ball hard, and put nice touch on the throw. It was a nice, smooth delivery that he could utilize when he’s dealing with a clean pocket.

Play #42: A well executed fade to the receiver in the end zone. It was a perfect throw towards the edge of the end zone, where only the receiver can make a play on the ball.

Play #43: That is not an easy throw to make. The receiver had both, a defender underneath, and a safety over the top. Thomas put a good ball where his receiver could make the play.

Play #44. Same play concept as play #8.

Play #45: This play is why you want to always have a quarterback spy on defense, when everybody is downfield and when the defense only sends 4 pass rushers.

Play #46: An absolute lazer Thomas delivers. There is a time when that is okay. You throw a dart to get the ball to your receiver quickly before someone lays him out.

Play #47: This was a controversial call that was ruled a touchdown, but right there, Thomas couldn’t have delivered a better ball.

Play #48: An option play where Thomas keeps it to himself instead of pitching it to the running back.

Play #49: Right there, Thomas might have had #19 open, but threw it to a receiver where the defensive back was late to adjust to the throw.

Play #50: With that arm strength, he can even beat the safeties.

As you see, with Thomas’s arm and mobility, Arians must use the different play concepts that Virginia Tech used to utilize Thomas’ strengths.

The comparisons are there to quarterbacks such as Newton and Kaepernick and Roethlisberger, who is the type of big, strong quarterback who thrived under the offense of Arians for six seasons. Thomas can make all the throws, has the mobility to extend the plays, and has the size and toughness to take hits. Quarterbacks such as Newton and Kaepernick did not fully develop because those quarterbacks ran offenses that heavily relied on the read option.

Oct 5, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Logan Thomas (6) during the second half against the Arizona Cardinals at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Broncos won 41-20. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Thomas, on the other hand, ran a pro offense at Virginia Tech, where he had to drop back and throw, but still used the read option from time-to-time. Running a pro offense will benefit Thomas more than other college quarterbacks. Thomas, though, must be consistent with his accuracy and reads in the NFL, although a drop of talent and multiple offensive coordinators was a reason for a decline of his stats while at Virginia Tech.

Against San Francisco, we really won’t know what we can expect from Thomas, but as you see from those highlights, his ceiling is high and with little film of Thomas available for the 49ers, Thomas has a chance to roll heads this next Sunday at Santa Clara.