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QB Blaine Gabbert: Cardinals’ offense fits him, ‘makes things fun’

Arizona Cardinals Blaine Gabbert (7) runs drills during an NFL football organized team activity, Tuesday, May 30, 2017, at the Cardinals' training facility in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)

TEMPE, Ariz. — Blaine Gabbert appeared to be getting ready to head out of the Cardinals’ locker room when he was approached by a reporter who had a few questions.

The one-on-one interview did not last long, however, as a couple questions in a gaggle of cameras and other reporters descended upon him.

Such is the life of a quarterback, even one who is currently third on the depth chart.

Firmly situated behind starter Carson Palmer and backup Drew Stanton, Gabbert, who is competing with undrafted rookie free agent Trevor Knight to be the team’s third QB, said that with OTAs and now mini-camp in the rearview mirror he feels good about his progress.

“It’s just a day-by-day process,” he said. “Just taking it each day at a time, trying to learn a little more each and every meeting, each and every practice.

“Gradually you start to master the whole thing, but the reps we had on the field this summer were invaluable and I felt myself really start to hit the ground running here at the end.”

The Cardinals brought Gabbert in on a one-year contract and some hope in the right situation, the 6-foot-4 QB with a big arm and a 9-31 record as an NFL starter could begin to make good on the potential he entered the league with.

In 43 career games in six NFL seasons with two different teams, Gabbert has thrown for 7,351 yards and 38 touchdowns with 37 interceptions.

How much of that was on him and how much his surroundings is subjective, but if nothing else, the former 10th overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft feels good about the system he is playing in now.

“It’s really great,” he said. “Coach Arians puts it on the quarterback — it’s a quarterback-driven offense — and that’s what you want playing that position. You want the responsibility on your shoulders and it really, it makes things fun.

“But you’ve got to be prepared day in and day out and the responsibility falls on you.”

Gabbert credited Palmer and Stanton, along with QB coach Byron Leftwich, for helping him to learn the offense. He said they have been “tremendous,” noting they have all been there for him to bounce questions off of.

That will come to an end, at least for a little bit, as Gabbert heads back home to St. Louis for the last of his offseason. He will spend that time training, he said, ensuring he stays sharp.

“Just go through the plays, go through all the little things that aren’t necessarily in the playbook,” he said. “But all the notes that you’ve taken down just so that when you come back to training camp it’s not fresh, it’s not new; it’s you’ve seen it multiple times now, you’ve gone through all the plays, gone through all the protections, the run game.

“And you really can just go out there and play.”

For the 27-year-old, this stint with the Cardinals might represent his best chance to find a home in the NFL. The offense fits his style, and there is more talent around him than there was at either of his previous two stops.

But nothing about his place on the roster is guaranteed, which means this would appear to be a big training camp for Gabbert.

“Every training camp is big,” he said. “We’re all competitive guys. It’s not my first training camp and it won’t be my last. So we’re going to come in prepared, have fun, compete and get ready to roll come Week 1.”

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