GLENDALE, Ariz. -- When Logan Thomas arrived in Arizona back in May, he was throwing very hard.
Each pass seemed launched out of a cannon, destined to smash through a brick wall or at least break a receiver’s hand. A couple days from his first NFL preseason game, the rookie quarterback has learned how to control his arm a bit more. Now he’s just throwing hard.
But there’s still work to be done. He’s learning when to throw a bullet and when to put a little touch on a pass. Differentiating between the two has been a struggle for Thomas.
“It’s just a feel thing,” Thomas said. “The defense makes it dictate if you need to put air on it or skim it over the top of a linebacker’s head on behind him.
"If you just want to fit it in a window, you have to put something on it. It’s just a feel.”
It didn’t take long for his teammates to feel Thomas’ velocity.
Early in camp, rookie tight end Troy Niklas didn’t get his head around in time and Thomas launched a split second too early. The result was a pass to the side of the helmet.
“You know, [he’s] trying to give people concussions out there,” Niklas said with a laugh. “You just got to know every time he throws the ball that you got to be on your ‘A’ game, really looking it in.”
Getting their heads around quick has become a prerequisite for receivers when Thomas is throwing. So is running fast to track his passes down, rookie receiver Walt Powell said. Thomas is expected to play most of the fourth quarter, if not more, in Arizona’s first preseason game Saturday against the Houston Texans.
Learning the Cardinals’ offensive scheme has been a challenge for Thomas because “it’s a pretty difficult offense to figure out.” Cardinals coach Bruce Arians has set basic goals for Thomas on Saturday: Improve efficiency and accuracy, especially when it comes to going through his progressions and finding the correct receiver.
Then there’s the issue of developing that touch.
“He’s improved in that area,” Arians said. “He’s still missing too many wide open guys when, I think, he has tried to take a little off of it instead of just hitting him. Their job’s to catch it, so be accurate. Just don’t miss the guy in the flat for the first down or a bootleg tight end that’s wide open. You got to hit him. And I think he’s growing.”