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Stanton Speaks: Surprised to be named starting quarterback again

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Drew Stanton (5) warms up prior to an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

TEMPE, Ariz. – After Blaine Gabbert got five games to show what he’s got, Drew Stanton is back as the starting quarterback of the Arizona Cardinals.

With help from the Cardinals’ media relations staff, we’ll highlight many of the key topics and personnel conversations he has with reporters following practice.

On how he has been the last five weeks:

“Good, getting better and feeling better. I’m just trying to help this team win football games behind the scenes.”

On if he will still experience knee pain:

“I think there’s a little bit of an unknown there, without a doubt. So, we’ll see. I’m going to continue to do everything I can to try and get as healthy as I can leading up to the game and feel good about it and get out there and not give it a second thought when I step across those lines.”

On if he was surprised to be named the starting quarterback again:

“Yes, I think so. I’ve been in this business for a long period of time, and I’ve been fortunate to survive for 11 years and see the whole picture. I’ve tried to see everything from different angles throughout the course of my career. So, I understand the reason to stick with Blaine (Gabbert).”

On what surprised him most about being named starting quarterback:

“I think there are a lot of different things. I think the biggest thing is we’re so close to winning that football game (against Washington), and maybe we’re not having this discussion at that point. But, that’s not for me to say. I’ve been called upon to play this week, and so I’m going to go out there and do whatever I can to try and help this team win now.”

On what it means to him to be called upon to play:

“It means I’ve got to go out there and play. That’s the biggest thing. The competitor in me loves the fact that I get a chance to go out and do it again, but at the same time, the humanistic side of things is you feel bad for somebody that you’ve been around for this period of time with Blaine and stuff.

“He’s handled it unbelievably well, which is no surprise to me, as a true professional. I think that’s the beauty of the room and the culture we’ve created with Carson (Palmer) and everybody and Byron (Leftwich) and even Freddie (Kitchens) over the past couple of years, of really trying to be a unit and pulling everybody in the same direction.”

On Giants QB Eli Manning sitting a game, under different circumstances, and if a more experienced quarterback can return to the lineup with a better mindset than a younger player:

“Yeah, after two-hundred and however many starts. Yeah, I can’t compare myself to Eli. That wouldn’t be fair to Eli. So, I think that he went through an extremely difficult situation, but again, handled it with the utmost class, which isn’t a surprise to me by any stretch of the imagination. Just knowing him, being around him and being around that family, how he was raised, that was no shock on my end.”

On how much these final two games can help him as he approaches free agency this offseason:

“I don’t care about that.”

On how difficult it was to watch the last few weeks:

“I think that it’s easy for us to all sit back and be like, ‘Oh my gosh, he missed a wide-open throw there. What an unbelievable throw,’ and those are the split-second decisions you relish as a quarterback.

“Being in those situations, you learn so much from them, even these past two games that I got a chance to play. I feel like I was continuing to progress and see the field, and things were slowing down, and that only comes through time. And so, from that standpoint, I think that I’ll never sit back there. Especially as a backup,

“I’ve learned my vantage point is completely different. So, I’m just trying to encourage Blaine, and I feel like I’m trying to help him out in any way possible. Sometimes, that’s evolving. I’m trying to figure out the best way to get through to him and how he can be the most effective on the field.”

On if he did that when he entered the NFL or if he had to learn how to help the starter be effective on the field:

“No. When I got up here, it looked like “Star Wars” at first. I was like, ‘What?’ It was with Mike Martz’s offense; it was going so fast. I’ve never been one to sit in judgment because you’re not taking a five-step drop and trying to negotiate a rush or realize what’s going on, see coverage, make a decision.

“Sometimes, it turns out great. Other times, you sit there and you scratch your head, especially even when you’re the guy pulling the trigger. ‘What was I thinking there?’ But, there’s something throughout the course of the week that made you make that decision, and you can’t have any hesitation at this position.

“That’s what I’ve learned is the biggest thing, of sometimes why mistakes occur. Looking back at that interception I had against San Francisco. I had a little bit of hesitation because that ‘backer was deeper than I thought, and I was thinking about going somewhere else.

“There’s so much that goes through your mind in that split second that you can’t second guess yourself, and that’s throughout the course of the week, through preparation and communication.”

On the Giants defense which has given up a lot of yards:

“I think they’ve still got playmakers back there. You look at those guys in Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon and (Damon) Harrison. Everybody up front is solid. They continue to plug guys in at ‘backer.

“They’ve still got really good, athletic ‘backers that are doing it, some veteran guys even in the backend. Those guys are really, really good. Sometimes, your guess is as good as mine of why Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie isn’t starting. He comes in in nickel packages, but he does, and you’ve got to be aware he is on the field.

“You have to know where Landon Collins is, and they complement each other really well, everybody in that defense. And going up against that style that Steve Spagnuolo has, you’re going to get everything and the kitchen sink thrown at you. So, you have to be ready for all aspects of it.”

On if he sees any similarities between Giants Interim Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo’s defenses with the Giants and the Rams:

“Yeah, there’s carryover. I think he’s trying to impose his thoughts, that kind of Jim Johnson fire zone, confusion and a lot of different things. And, they’ve got the personnel to cause some serious problems for you. So, we’ve got to be really dialed in to what we’re trying to do and not trying to do too much.

“As long as we’re on the same page and can communicate and try to be effective in that manner, we just need to continue to do that and try to put the ball in the end zone.”

On if he determined why the team hasn’t been able to score a touchdown from the sidelines:

“No. I think you sit there and you look at it, and it’s a play here or something missed there, a miscommunication. There are so many things, and I think that you’re so focused on what you’re trying to do that drive that you don’t even realize that, maybe on the outside, it’s more glaring of what’s going on as far as touchdowns.

“But, from our standpoint, we always come in and talk about certain goals that we try and reach. Each week, we try and be productive in certain areas. Sometimes it works out, and sometimes it doesn’t.”

On how much the huddle has changed due to injury and if it surprised him:

“There were a couple times, but I think that nobody’s feeling sorry for us. I know the Giants aren’t. They’ve been doing this since Week 5, have a revolving door of guys coming in, and Eli’s been throwing to some of these guys. So, that’s the way that it goes. That’s life in the NFL, and as the new guys come in, we’ll introduce ourselves and try to get them on board.”

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