Dealing Cards: IR returns look unlikely, Gabbert reviews his NFL journey
Nov 22, 2017, 5:10 PM | Updated: Nov 23, 2017, 12:00 am
(AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith, File)
The briefest moments of Bruce Arians’ Wednesday media availability said the most about the state of the Arizona Cardinals.
Arizona’s head coach was asked whether any of the 11 players on the injured reserve list are ready to begin practicing. His response felt like a resignation that the roster as it stands heading into a Sunday game against the Jacksonville Jaguars would not have any significant additions moving forward.
“That’s very disappointing because they’re not making the progress we’d hoped,” Arians said of the players on the IR. “Wait and see, but from today that looks like no (player on IR will return).”
Among those on the injured reserve who have not officially been ruled out for the season are running back David Johnson, quarterback Carson Palmer and rookie return man and running back T.J. Logan.
All three were considered the most likely candidates to eventually be lifted from the injured reserve list.
Each NFL team is allowed to re-activate two players from the IR list.
GABBERT TAKING NFL PATH IN STRIDE
Arizona’s third-string quarterback to begin 2017, Blaine Gabbert faces the team that he spent his first three NFL seasons with after being drafted seventh overall in 2011.
Many coaches, systems and a few teams later, the 28-year-old hoping to revive his stock as a viable NFL quarterback feels quite removed from the hectic situation he faced at the beginning of his pro career.
“I mean, yeah. That was the team that drafted me so things didn’t work out there but looking back on it, hindsight’s 20-20, that was a long time ago,” he said. “It’s been four years.”
Gabbert was the primary starter for Jacksonville his first two seasons in which the Jaguars floundered to a 7-25 combined record.
He’s faced learning a new system each year of his career. Gabbert left Jacksonville after three games played in 2013 and quarterbacked for the San Francisco 49ers from 2014-16.
It’s been a long road that for better or worse has helped him grown along the way.
“I think just the maturation process I’ve gone through as a player, being in different systems now, playing in a bunch of games, going through multiple offseasons learning new systems — I think that’s the biggest thing,” Gabbert said. “When you come into the league as a young quarterback, I think I was 20 or 21, learning system after system after system — new coach, new owner, new GM — it’s like, alright, I’m trying to figure this thing out, how to approach this learning process year in and year out.
“Fortunately or unfortunately, however you want to look at it, I’ve had to learn a new system each and every year. I think by this point in time I’ve learned how to do that.”
Arians didn’t mince words when asked Wednesday why the Cardinals released running back Andre Ellington, the third-down back who was picked up by the Houston Texans.
“Poor play,” Arians said, adding that D.J. Foster’s opportunity also played a part. “I didn’t feel like him sitting inactive was going to help our roster any.”
HERE COME RICKY AND CHAD
Gabbert, on the expected opportunity for rookie tight end Ricky Seals-Jones and receiver Chad Williams to play: “When I was with the third team, kind of this summer and throughout training camp, it was kind of like, wow, 16 is poppin’ on film, 86 is poppin’ on film. We would try to turn the scout team plays into our system, use our verbiage. Even though you’re not getting practice reps being on scout team, you’re still going through that rep and that process in your mind of calling our play. It translated. (Seals-Jones) played a heck of a game. The beautiful part of it is he can still get better.”
FOURNETTE RUMBLES INTO GLENDALE
An ankle injury might hamper Jaguars rookie back Leonard Fournette.
The LSU product has 740 rushing yards with a 4.2 yards-per-carry average, not to mention 156 receiving yards this season. Despite being limited on the Wednesday injury report, he’s expected to give the Cardinals everything their defense can handle.
“This team is definitely committed to the run,” Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson said. “No. 27, he’s special man. He’s very, very special. He’s very illusive, he has power, he has speed, great vision, can catch it out of the backfield.
“Those guys are playing some old 1985 football, I mean, running it right down your throat. Those guys are coming downhill for sure. Like Walton Payton, Eric Dickerson. He has that type of running game.”