Cardinals’ Gabbert to be active vs. 49ers, could play certain packages
PHOENIX — Arizona Cardinals backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert will be active Sunday for the first time this season, and considering his mobility, it wouldn’t be a surprise if we see him in certain packages.
Head coach Bruce Arians announced right after the Rams game in London that Drew Stanton is the starting quarterback, based on him being the No. 2 signal-caller behind Carson Palmer.
Meanwhile, Gabbert, a former first-round pick, is 9-31 as a starter after spending three years in Jacksonville and the last two years with the 49ers — the Cardinals’ opponent on Sunday.
But the Cardinals have been “intrigued” with Gabbert since signing him in the offseason for a league minimum contract, a low-risk, high-reward proposition. It’s also possible he could in the mix next year for one of the quarterback spots, depending on what the Cardinals do to address the position in the offseason.
He stood out in the preseason, completing 36 of 57 passes for 496 yards with a touchdown and an interception over four games.
The Cardinals decided to keep three quarterbacks on the active roster this year, but do they see him as a long-term option?
“I’ve been very pleased,” Arians has said of Gabbert. “Short-term, I’d be very comfortable if he had to play for us. Long-term, if he continues at this rate, he could be a starter.”
Are we ready for two quarterbacks against the 49ers?
The latest on Carson Palmer
Starting QB Carson Palmer was placed on injured reserve with a broken left arm, expected to be out at least eight weeks. It will interesting to see if Palmer returns at the end of the season. His first game would be Week 16 on December 24 against the Giants at home. Assume that part of the decision will be the team’s record, and Palmer probably doesn’t want his season to end with an injury in London.
Robert Nkemdiche could play greater role on Sunday
As defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche was holding court at his locker, speaking to reporters, cornerback Patrick Peterson walked by and shouted, “It’s a great opportunity for Robert to be dominant.”
“Oh, he’s getting better and better,” Arians said. “He had a great week of practice. He was disruptive in the game — he’s been pretty solid for a month.”
The Cardinals need Nkemdiche to be more than solid. They need him to be disruptive, whether that’s pressuring the quarterback or stopping the run and helping to create more turnovers. The Cardinals have only forced seven turnovers, all interceptions, in seven games.
“It can help a lot, honestly, because when you have guys penetrating and getting vertical as D-linemen, it just helps,” Nkemdiche said. “That’s what I’m going to try to bring and that’s what we predicate on as a D-line anyway. It’s part of our technique and our assignment, is to get vertical. I’m going to do that. I’m feeling good and healthy, so.”