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Steve Keim: Cardinals not ready to say Blaine Gabbert will start vs. Houston

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Blaine Gabbert (7) warms up prior to an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
LISTEN: Steve Keim, Cardinals General Manager

Who will be the starting quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals when they face the Houston Texans Sunday at NRG Stadium?

It’s a question that doesn’t have an answer five days before the game.

Drew Stanton, who started last week in place of the injured Carson Palmer, suffered a sprained knee last Thursday in a loss to Seattle. The injury, which occurred in the second quarter, didn’t knock the veteran out of the game. Stanton played the rest of the way and completed 24-of-47 passes for 273 yards and a touchdown and word of the injury didn’t even trickle out until two days later when ESPN’s Chris Mortensen broke the news.

Mortensen’s report also indicated the Cardinals were bringing back reserve quarterback Matt Barkley, who spent a season and a half in Arizona as an insurance policy at the position.

All signs point to Blaine Gabbert making the start against the Texans, but that’s not the case, according to general manager Steve Keim.

“We haven’t practiced yet (this week), and I know one thing — Drew is extremely tough,” Keim told Doug & Wolf Tuesday on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station. “He injured his knee, I believe, in the second quarter and finished the game and he’s the type of guy that I would not bet against.

“So, it’s hard for me to say at this point. I don’t think there’s any secret that if Drew can’t play, that Blaine Gabbert would be our starter, but I don’t think it’s something that on Tuesday, when we haven’t even been on the practice field, we can forecast yet.”

The Cardinals are certainly well-positioned at quarterback with Stanton, Gabbert and Barkley all on the active roster and Mike Bercovici filling a practice squad spot.

So why make the move to bring Barkley back if Stanton can go and he’s not needed?

“I think it’s pretty simple and I don’t want anybody to really overthink the process but when you have a starting quarterback that’s a little bit banged up you can easily sign somebody — not only somebody who’s off the street, but somebody who has played with you before, knows your system and had a little bit of success last year in Chicago when he went there,” Keim said.

“He’s played some football at this level and certainly gives you an opportunity to do some good things if he was forced into play, so it’s one of those things where he gives you a great comfort level — having the ability to come in in a short period of time, know your system and be able to operate under the circumstances where he would have to play.”

The Cardinals (4-5) face the Texans, a 3-6 team with quarterback issues of their own, Sunday. Kickoff is at 11 a.m. with pregame coverage starting at 6:30 on 98.7 Arizona’s Sports Station.

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