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TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Now it's rookie Logan Thomas' turn to run the Arizona Cardinals' offense.
When he takes the field Sunday in San Francisco, the fourth-round draft pick from Virginia Tech will be Arizona's fourth starting quarterback this season.
Not exactly the recipe for success.
But after the offense sputtered with Ryan Lindley at the controls in last week's debacle against Seattle, coach Bruce Arians decided to give Thomas a chance, for a little while at least.
"Definitely some excitement," Thomas said. "First chance to play out one of my dreams and it's a huge honor."
Potentially this is not a meaningless game. If St. Louis upsets the Rams in Seattle, the Cardinals would win the NFC West with a victory over the 49ers.
Arians says he'll be watching that Rams-Seahawks score and make personnel decisions accordingly.
"We'll just see how the games go," Arians said after Wednesday's practice. "We want to win the game, though. I want to look at some guys, see how they're feeling and be smart about it."
So there could be a quarterback change in the second half?
"Yeah," Arians said. "I mean everything is based on winning the game and then being smart."
Arians said Drew Stanton's sprained right knee is "getting better and better," but if he suited up Sunday it would be as a backup. Otherwise, Lindley is the only other option.
Thomas has appeared in a game once this season, when Stanton went down with a concussion at Denver on Oct. 5 and Carson Palmer already was out with a shoulder injury. He threw eight passes. One was an 81-yard touchdown to Andre Ellington. The other seven fell incomplete. He was sacked twice.
The rest of the season he's been running the scout team, pretending to be whoever the quarterback of the next opponent is. He played the role of the 49ers' Colin Kaepernick back in Week 3.
"Yeah, not look like him, just try and play like him," Thomas said. "I didn't have any tattoos on or anything like that. I didn't have to paint them on."
The Cardinals had no intention of playing Thomas at all in his rookie season. He was a big, strong-armed project, with a need to work on his footwork, accuracy and passing touch.
But circumstances required otherwise.
When Palmer went down with a season-ending knee injury, the job went to Stanton. Then two games ago, Stanton sprained his knee. Arians decided to go with Lindley — signed off the San Diego practice squad when Palmer was hurt — last week against the tough Seattle defense rather than throw Thomas into the fray.
The results weren't pretty. The Seahawks rolled on the road 35-6. That left Arizona and Seattle both 11-4, with the Seahawks holding the tiebreaker by virtue of two wins over the Cardinals.
Barring any upsets, Arizona will be the No. 5 seed in the NFC and travel to either Carolina or Atlanta.
The ever-blunt Arians said Thomas had a "shaky start" to practice Wednesday, "but finished up strong."
He wants to see the quarterback "control the offense."
"Knowing why he's throwing the ball, where it's going and doing it accurately," Arians said, "but the big thing is getting to the right guy through his progression. That was part of the beginning of this practice, then he got better and better."
Thomas talked about the difficulties of Arians' offense, "the hots and sights and then with the reads."
"But the guys around me have done a great job of making me comfortable," Thomas said. "They just say, 'Hey, go out there and be confident, put it out there and we'll make plays for you.' We have a great corps of receivers, a great offensive line, and the tailbacks are playing well right now.
"Those guys have picked me up and carried me when I'm down. Hopefully, I'll do the same for them."
Things can't get a whole lot worse for the offense: Arizona failed to score a touchdown in its last two games.
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