Stanton once again thrust into Cardinals’ starting role
TEMPE — Drew Stanton has been here before. Carson Palmer goes down with a serious injury and Stanton steps in as his backup.
Stanton’s career statistics are unspectacular. His win-loss record, not so bad.
In his four seasons with the Cardinals, Stanton is 6-3 as a starter.
“That’s the only one that matters to me,” Stanton said. “I know my career stats are probably horrible ... but I think that (the win-loss record) is the ultimate measure of a quarterback, especially as a backup. That’s something I take pride in is to come in and try to win football games.”
That certainly didn’t happen last Sunday in Arizona’s 33-0 blowout loss to the Los Angeles Rams in London.
When Palmer went down with a broken left arm, Stanton came in and completed just four of 15 passes for 62 yards with an interception.
“I was disappointed from a personal standpoint of what happened last week because I wasn’t able to go out there and get in a rhythm,” he said after the team went through a light workout Tuesday.
Coach Bruce Arians expects Stanton to improve with more time with the starters.
“I know Drew (Stanton) will bounce back and play a whole lot better when he gets all the practice time,” Arians said. “It’s nice to have an extra day’s work. He got literally no reps last week in our offense, so we’ll get that straightened out.”
Stanton’s most recent start was on Oct. 6, 2016, in San Francisco when Palmer was sidelined with a concussion. Stanton completed only 11 of 28 passes but two went for touchdowns and he had no interceptions in a 33-21 victory.
Coincidentally, Stanton’s first start this year will be a week from Sunday at San Francisco. And, as was the case last year, Arizona will be coming off a bye week.
Arians did not hesitate naming Stanton the starter over Blaine Gabbert, who has been inactive every game as the team’s third quarterback but now will suit up as the backup.
Stanton is no youngster. He is 33 years old and in his 11th NFL season, the last five with Arizona. Stanton is a favorite of Arians, serving as backup in Indianapolis in 2012 when Arians was there as offensive coordinator and, later, as interim head coach.
Stanton followed Arians to the Cardinals and, before the deal that brought Palmer to Arizona, the coach was insisting he’d be comfortable with Stanton as his starter.
Stanton spent his first five seasons with Detroit, missing his rookie year due to injury. He was mostly a backup with the Lions but started five games.
For his career, Stanton has completed 53 percent of his passes for 3,165 yards and 14 touchdowns with 19 interceptions. Dating to 2015, he has thrown for two touchdowns and been intercepted six times.
Stanton went 3-2 as a starter in 2014 after Palmer went down with a season-ending knee injury only to have his own season-ending knee issue, missing the final two regular-season games and a playoff loss to Carolina.
Gabbert, who has 40 career NFL starts, said he has no problem with Stanton moving into the starting role.
“Drew’s going to do a great job,” Gabbert said. “I’m going to be there to support him just like I was there to support him and Carson. We have a great quarterback room. We’re very fortunate to have a very veteran quarterback room. We’ve played a lot of games with the NFL. Nothing’s going to change.”
Just how long Palmer will be out remains a major question. Initially, Arians said eight weeks but Palmer has seen specialists in hopes of a diagnosis that might reduce his absence to four to six weeks.
To add another throwing arm to their workouts, the Cardinals signed former Arizona State quarterback Mike Bercovici to the practice squad.