The Arizona Cardinals will start Blaine Gabbert at quarterback for Sunday’s game against the Houston Texans, head coach Bruce Arians announced on Friday.
Drew Stanton, who is dealing with a sprained knee, will be Gabbert’s backup if he is physically able to do so, Arians said. If Stanton can’t go, Matt Barkley will back up Gabbert.
Barkley signed with the team earlier this week after Stanton suffered his knee injury against the Seahawks last Thursday.
Since Carson Palmer went down with a broken arm in Week 7, Gabbert has been taking first-team snaps as Arizona’s backup to Stanton. But those have increased this week, Arians said.
This will be Gabbert’s first start since Week 5 of 2016 for the San Francisco 49ers. He finished the season on the bench after he was replaced by Colin Kaepernick. In six games played last year, Gabbert completed 56.9 percent of his passes for 925 yards, five touchdowns and six picks with a 68.4 passer rating.
Gabbert has not played a regular season game this season. The former first-round selection of the Jacksonville Jaguars has a career record of 9-31.
“Playing is great,” Gabbert said this week. “I got a chance to play a lot in the preseason. That’s what we practice for, that’s what we work so hard for, to go out and perform on Sunday. There is really no other feeling, I can’t think of personally, than going out with your boys on the field in front of a big crowd and playing a great sport.”
This week’s game could also be an audition for Gabbert, who will be a free agent at the end of the season and is trying to resurrect his chances to start somewhere.