Gabbert to remain Cardinals starter at QB this week
TEMPE — Blaine Gabbert will get a second week as the starting quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals, coach Bruce Arians said Monday.
Gabbert started Sunday’s 31-21 loss to the Houston Texans and completed 22 of 34 passes for 257 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. He’d been the the Cardinals’ No. 3 signal caller until injuries to starter Carson Palmer and backup Drew Stanton elevated Gabbert.
Stanton was active for Sunday’s game but didn’t play. The Cardinals are 4-6 without more than a glimmer of hope for the postseason, so there’s a chance Gabbert could remain the starter beyond this week against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
“Drew is going to be healthier. He is still not as healthy as he was before,” Arians said. “We’ll stick with Blaine and watch Drew get healthy, and then make a decision going forward.”
Arians changed his stance Monday with regard to his postgame comment that he cost the Cardinals Sunday’s game. Arians called for a running play to Adrian Peterson on fourth-and-1 from the Arizona 35-yard line with 6:33 to go in the fourth quarter, and Peterson was stuffed for a loss.
Houston took over possession with the turnover on downs, and the Texans scored on the very next play to take a 10-point lead.
“The fourth-down call, I take all that back I said yesterday,” Arians said. “That was a damn good call and we busted an assignment at the point of attack. That was an easy pickup.”
Arians clarified that a lineman didn’t block the correct defender on the play. He considered a quarterback sneak call, but admitted he’d never seen Gabbert run one.
“Same blocking on the quarterback sneak as the play where we handed off,” Arians said.
Arians was pleased with what he saw from Gabbert, who made his first NFL start since October 2016 with San Francisco.
“He saw the field extremely well. The ball was where it was supposed to be,” Arians said. “Every throw wasn’t perfect, there was some pressure, but he stood in the face of it and delivered it.”
Arians feels Gabbert will develop more timing and improve with every snap he gets to play with the Cardinals’ main pass catchers. But dropped passes at critical times Sunday cost the team points and led Arians to wonder about the young but experienced group of receivers that committed errors.
“It’s hard to describe because there’s so much talent in that (receivers) room, and the way they went through OTAs and all of camp, I really thought it was the strength of our team,” Arians said, “and it’s starting to become our weakness.”
Gabbert had a rhythm going with rookie tight end Ricky Seals-Jones, who caught two touchdown passes. The two had been working together while on the scout team in practices, and the rapport showed.
“We tried to simulate some of our offense, going against our No. 1 defense,” Seals-Jones said. “It was great just having that chemistry, and then we got out there and it was just like being out here (in practice).”
Palmer is no longer wearing a cast over the arm he broke in a game last month. ... RB David Johnson, Arians said, is in great condition, but there is still uncertainty about his injured wrist. Both Palmer and Johnson are on injured reserve. ... The Cardinals released RB Andre Ellington, whose role was reduced with the signing of Peterson. Ellington, drafted in the sixth round in 2013, had 350 yards from scrimmage this season. ... WR John Brown is dealing with a toe injury and DT Josh Mauro has a high ankle sprain, Arians said. Both could miss time beyond this week. ... DL Corey Peters could be back this week after missing the Houston game with an ankle injury.