Bruce Arians rules Cardinals starters out Thursday

TEMPE, Ariz. – Bruce Arians didn’t waste anyone’s time.

The coach declared that the Arizona Cardinals' starters won’t play Thursday night in the preseason finale at Denver during his Monday afternoon press conference. They won’t even practice this week.

Arians said the Monday and Tuesday practices will be dedicated to the Cardinals’ young players, a majority of which are fighting for a roster spot. The veterans will keep their legs fresh by playing 7-on-7 outside while practice goes on inside the bubble.

“You’re lucky because the young guys didn’t play that much,” Arians said. “Some played 10, 12 plays so they’re going to play the majority of this game.”

Undrafted free agent Phillip Sims will start at quarterback and third-stringer Logan Thomas will replace him, likely to start the second half.

After impressing Arians on Sunday night in Oakland, Earl Watford will play right tackle this week while Bradley Sowell moves to left tackle.

“Earl played extremely well in the second half,” Arians said. “That competition is heating up real nice.”

Arians said the centers -- starter A.Q. Shipley, Lyle Sendlein and Anthony Steen -- will continue with their rotation. Sendlein drew praise from Arians for playing well Sunday night.

Thursday night might also be the Cardinals debut of running back Chris Johnson, who’s missed the last two games with a hamstring injury. It’s unlikely that tight end Jermaine Gresham will make his debut.

“I would like them to play but it’s going to be very iffy for Jermaine to be ready with the hamstring,” Arians said. “Chris, he wanted to play the other night, just couldn’t cut. He feels very confident he’ll be able to play and he wants to play in the game.”