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Blaine Gabbert Remains QB, But WR Shuffle

Posted Nov 20, 2017

Notes: Rookie wideout Chad Williams will get a look; Arians changes mind on fourth-down call

Cardinals wide receiver Jaron Brown can't bring in a pass Sunday in Houston.

The Cardinals will stick with Blaine Gabbert at quarterback for at least another week, but there will be some shuffling at wide receiver.

Gabbert played very well in Houston, coach Bruce Arians said Monday, working well in the offense. With Drew Stanton still healing from a knee sprain, Arians said Gabbert will be the Cardinals’ QB against Jacksonville – Gabbert’s former team – Sunday.

When Stanton completely heals, the Cards will revisit the position, Arians said. But now, Gabbert is the guy. Arians said, however, he didn’t need to see anything more out of Gabbert in game situations to show the Cardinals what exactly they have in the veteran quarterback.

“I think I’ve known that all along,” Arians said. “I don’t think I have to find out anything else.”

The same can’t be said for the receiving corps. One move was going to be likely necessary anyway, because John Brown suffered a turf toe injury in the game and could miss some time. But Arians noted drops by Brown, Jaron Brown (someone Arians also said had been steady this season) and J.J. Nelson Sunday as plays the Cards can’t afford.

“It’s hard to describe because there is so much talent in that room,” Arians said. “When they went through OTAs and all of camp, I really thought it was the strength of our team, but it’s now become our weakness.”

Rookie Chad Williams, who has been inactive most of the season, will get a look, while rookie tight end Ricky Seals-Jones – who had two touchdowns Sunday – figures to become a larger part of the passing game. It doesn’t hurt that both got a lot of work with Gabbert when all were working with the third-string in the offseason and training camp.

“(I’m) just ready” Williams said. “I’ve been anxious for a long time. I’ve been in practice going against the best DBs in the league, sharpening up everything. Honestly, I’m just thankful for that. I feel like I’m ready.”

The Cardinals’ wide receiving corps was supposed to be a strength in 2016 as well, but the group – again, outside of Larry Fitzgerald – disappointed. Arians said last year’s problems are different than this year’s issues.

“This group is too old now for that,” Arians said. “They’ve been in too many battles to be dropping easy balls and not making plays.”

FOURTH-AND-1 STUFFED, UPON FURTHER REVIEW

Arians was strong after the game, saying he took the blame for the failed fourth-and-1 call in the fourth quarter, an Adrian Peterson inside run that was stuffed. The Texans scored a touchdown on the next play, making the lead the final 10-point margin.

Arians opened his Monday press conference reversing field.

“I take all that (expletive) back I said (Sunday),” Arians said. “That was a damn good call. We busted an assignment at the point of attack. That was an easy pickup. Goody (OC Harold Goodwin) had a hell of a play design, called it, and we busted an assignment. They did not whoop us up there. We just turned them loose.”

Arians did not specifically say the mistake, other than it came on the interior of the offensive line and “he blocked the wrong damn guy.” Arians also said he had never seen Gabbert run a quarterback sneak before, so he didn’t want to try it in that situation. He added that the blocking would have been the same on a sneak anyway.

DEFENSIVE LINE DEALS WITH INJURIES

In addition to John Brown’s toe, defensive lineman Josh Mauro suffered a high-ankle sprain and could also miss games, Arians said. The hope is that defensive lineman Corey Peters, who missed the Houston game with an ankle injury, can return this week. If not, it’ll mean increased snaps for those linemen still healthy.

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