Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians says he plans to stick with Blaine Gabbert as the team’s starting quarterback for the foreseeable future.
Gabbert, who is 1-1 in his back-to-back starts this season, led the Cardinals to a 27-24 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday. Arians said although Drew Stanton is “getting healthier and healthier,” he will remain the back up to Gabbert.
Arians was asked about his comfort level in starting Gabbert next season should Carson Palmer retire.
“The way he’s playing right now, I’d be very, very comfortable,” Arians said. “Oh, yeah, I think it’s a possibility.”
The Cardinals signed Gabbert in May, but only as their third-string quarterback. But after injuries to starter Carson Palmer and Stanton, Gabbert was thrust into the starting role.
“I’m really proud of him. These things, you hope they don’t happen very often when the top two (quarterbacks) go down,” Arians said of Gabbert. “But we’re very blessed to have him, and he’s taken the bull by the horns and showing us that, ‘I’m a player, I can play at this level and play very high.’
Arians was particularly impressed with Gabbert’s 52-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Jaron Brown that gave the Cardinals a late lead against the Jaguars. Former Cardinals defensive lineman Calais Campbell almost got a hand on Gabbert before the throw.
“I thought Blaine’s play on the 50-yarder to Jaron was one of only a few guys can make, because Calais came fairly unblocked, and he had enough instinct not to draw back with the ball and still had enough strength to put it out there and not get it tipped,” Arians said. “I thought it was a fantastic play by him.”
Should the Cardinals decide to re-sign Gabbert, who is playing on a one-year contract worth $855,000, it’ll be the first time in his career that he’ll have played in the same offensive scheme two years in a row.
Arians has noted Gabbert has had no coaching stability during his time in the NFL — and he believes the 28-year-old can grow as a QB if he remains the same offensive system for more than one season.
“Oh my gosh, a ton, just as he continues to grow,” Arians said when asked about how much upside Gabbert has. “He’s never been in the same offense two years in a row, so he can blossom.”