All-Access with Bruce Arians: QB change not an indictment on Gabbert

Dec 18, 2017, 2:15 PM | Updated: 4:10 pm
(AP Photo)...
(AP Photo)
(AP Photo)

TEMPE, Ariz. – Head coach Bruce Arians, now in his fifth year with the Arizona Cardinals, meets the media several times leading up to gameday.

Here, in this space, 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.

Opening statement:

“After reviewing the film, it’s obviously a game we should have won. We had four or five opportunities in the red zone to score touchdowns, and we’ve just got to make plays – whether catches, throws, protections, a little bit of all of the above. One block, when a guy catches a ball, instead of standing and watching, you turn and make a block, and it’s a touchdown. Little things like that which hampered the offensive performance. Other than the first turnover, it was a pretty solid day offensively. When you get down there, it’s a 28-point game, easily, with the plays, just throw it and catch it or protect. Defensively, other than two plays, I don’t know if we could have played better.

Totally shut down the run, great third down defense. We gave up the screen play on a blitz that we just have to redirect and realize, as a young player, you just don’t get unblocked. It’s a screen. So, there were some learning curves there. Special teams, I thought, were outstanding, gave us two balls inside the fifty-(yard line) and started the second half with a great kick and recovery. Brit’s (Brittan Golden) punt return at the end of the game should have set us up for a win, and we just didn’t get the balls caught at the end of the game.”

On if there is a theme with the player miscues or if it’s different players making the same mistakes:

“It’s different people. We’re playing with so many different guys. Had it been the group that started the year, you’d be looking to make changes, but those changes have all been made. So, you can’t make any more changes. So, it’s just a matter of learning, learning and making a play. Seeing it happen in practice and then seeing it happen in full speed in a game are two different things. That’s experience.”

On the incomplete pass to RB D.J. Foster:

“Yeah, that’s a walk-in touchdown. You’ve just got to dump it over the lineman’s head.”

On if he looks at the game through a different prism because of the inexperience:

“Yeah. If it was Carson (Palmer) and David (Johnson) and John Brown and all those guys, yeah, I’d look at it totally different. That wouldn’t be coaching. It’d be like, ‘What the hell are we doing?’ But when you have guys wide open, or a guy turns somebody loose on a blitz and it’s a really good play, you know it’s execution, and you have to accept some of it as a coach when it’s youth and guys out there are doing it for the first time.”

On how he evaluates QB Blaine Gabbert with changes on the offensive line:

“It’s hard. I think Blaine is a player. I really do. I think he has a great future. Some of those things, he’s experiencing for the first time, and it’s not a lack of talent. It’s just a lack of experience in this offense at that time. In practice, it’s easy just to flip it; nobody’s batting the ball down. We had that same blitz in practice, and they ran it perfectly. But, you’ve just got to get it two feet higher, or dump it. Don’t throw a fast ball in there. So yeah, I think he made some poor decisions at times – taking that sack on second down. Just throw the ball away and don’t lose five more yards.

“I am going to change to Drew (Stanton) this week, and like I said, it is no fault of Blaine. I think Blaine is going to be a hell of a player, but Drew already knows all those scenarios. He’s healthy enough now, and it’s just a matter of us getting those touchdowns that are there from experience and trying to win this game. But, it is no way an indictment on Blaine. I think he played his ass off for three weeks.”

On if it has been hard for QB Drew Stanton to watch from the sidelines:

“Drew’s a pro. Drew’s in my ear the whole game, ‘I think he likes this. I see this,’ and he’s always right. He gives me the best information. Carson’s the same way. ‘Hey, this isn’t in the game plan, but I talked to him about it, and he understands it. It’s there.’ ‘I understand it. I know what you’re talking about. Now, can those two rookie receivers figure it out now that you three quarterbacks have it figured out?’ So, it’s a lot of dynamics going on there, but yeah, he’s healthy enough now to run around and be Drew. If he weren’t, I wouldn’t make the switch. Like I said, it has nothing to do with Blaine.”

On when he decided to start Stanton:

“After watching the film today.”

On if this decision goes back to Stanton’s knowledge of the offense:

“Yeah, inside and out, and certain things that come up during the game in critical situations, he’s been in it and knows it.”

On the status of players injured in yesterday’s game:

“I just know Brit is going to IR. We’ve got some guys that are still in MRI tubes right now as we speak. So, we don’t know the severity of a couple ankles. I think Karlos (Dansby), knock on wood, should be OK. He’s getting his MRI, but we feel like he should be OK. Troy Niklas was not as severe as it looked. We’ll see if he can make it to practice at any time this week. Jermaine Gresham is back, but now we have two other guys with influenza. So, they could miss the entire week of practice.”

On which two players have influenza:

“Olsen Pierre and one of our practice squad guys.”

On the quarterback play in the rest of the NFC West:

“Having not seen those guys other than when we … Jared Goff played us really well both times. Russell (Wilson) makes Russell plays. I haven’t seen Jimmy Garoppolo play for them, but it appears he brought them back to win. So, I really can’t judge it.”

On if it’s beneficial to the evaluation process to have Gabbert start the final two games of the season:

“I just think Drew’s going to give us a better chance to win this game this week, and that’s all it’s about. We’re not going to throw our hands up and say, ‘Hey, let’s lose the games, get a better draft pick.’ That’s all bulls*** to me. We’re going to take the guys we think can win this game and go win this game.”

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