Blaine Gabbert set to QB first half for Cardinals on Thursday
GLENDALE, Ariz. — A look at the Cardinals’ QB depth chart shows Carson Palmer at the top with Drew Stanton just below.
Neither will play Thursday when the Cardinals open up their preseason slate in Canton, Ohio.
Palmer, the unquestioned starter, has long been ruled out of the game, with head coach Bruce Arians looking to ease the veteran’s workload while also not unnecessarily put his health in danger.
On Tuesday, following their final practice before hitting the road for the Hall of Fame Game, Arians said Stanton would not play, either.
“He doesn’t need to play,” Arians said, with a chuckle. “He’s got plenty of preseason games coming, he doesn’t need to get hit.”
So, with both Palmer and Stanton sidelined, the QB spot will be manned by Blaine Gabbert and rookie Trevor Knight. Arians said Gabbert, who is entering his seventh season in the NFL and first with the Cardinals, will get the first half, while Knight, who went undrafted out of Texas A&M, will play the second.
“You want to see (him) in live bullets,” Arians said of Gabbert. “I see the talent in practice; games are different.
“A different secondary, a different front. All those things, how you react to it. Can you put all those pieces together in one day? Because that’s all we practice for these guys, is one day.”
Arians added the outing will be great for Gabbert’s future, noting he will either play really, really good or really, really bad.
“You’ve got one or the other,” he said.
The 10th overall pick in the 2011 draft, Gabbert has played for both the Jacksonville Jaguars and San Francisco 49ers. He started six games for the 49ers last season, throwing for 925 yards with five touchdowns and six interceptions.
For his career, he has completed 56 percent of his passes for 7,351 yards and 38 touchdowns with 37 interceptions. The chance to play an extended amount Thursday is one he is looking forward to because he said it is a “great opportunity” for not only him, but any of the team’s younger players.
“When you can play a first half, the second half, the entire game, you can really get into a rhythm rather than just playing maybe a series here, a quarter here,” he said. “You can really get into the flow the game and start executing at a high level.”
Gabbert said he is hoping to show a mastery of the offense, though he understands the game is not going to be filled with only high points. Still, the chance to not only play a half, but go into the game as the starter is a nice bonus.
“Any time you’re in the preseason like this you have to prepare like you’re going to start,” he said. “Because when you’re going on first quarter, second quarter, third quarter, fourth quarter — you’ve got to be in the game. You can’t just turn it on, turn it off, turn it on, turn it off. You’ve got to be ready to go.
“Having the chance to start this game, it’s a great opportunity to go through the pregame routine, get warm and just approach it like any other football game.”