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Carson Palmer Trust In Drew Stanton Matters

Posted Aug 10, 2017

As Cardinals sort quarterback depth chart, multiple factors should be in play

Cardinals quarterbacks Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton chat during a practice earlier in training camp.

Since Blaine Gabbert arrived in Arizona, the question was raised of whether he could unseat Drew Stanton as Carson Palmer's backup.

That conversation only heated up after Gabbert went 11-for-14 for 185 yards in the preseason opener (while Stanton sat out). Both Bruce Arians and Steve Keim have tried to pump the brakes on such talk, saying there is a long way to go, and Arians has praised Stanton's play this offseason/beginning of training camp.

There could be another factor in play, too. As was mentioned to me long before training camp began, don't discount Palmer's trust and comfort with Stanton as his backup.

Palmer was asked about how Stanton helps him. The way the quarterback responded underscored the strength of the relationship.

"How doesn’t he help me?" Palmer asked rhetorically. "Almost like a psychologist in a way, when you’re going through a certain play, certain protections or whatever it may be, he’s a sounding board. He’s extremely bright aside from football, but he sees the game just brilliantly. He could be a great coach. I doubt he would ever do it, but he would be a phenomenal coach."

Palmer said he often takes a few pages of notes during film study, but Stanton is able to be concise in his note-taking, helping Palmer make sense of that week's game plan and defensive tendencies. Stanton "doesn't waste my time" with advice.

“When you’re in the fire of what’s going on and he’s out there, I am very picky on what I say to him because everybody’s telling him everything," Stanton said. "Sometimes you have to tune that out, and that’s just as hard as giving advice is deciphering what advice to listen to.

"I’ve done the same with Blaine, trying to help those guys and everybody I’ve come across. It happens over time. Once you get to know, 'OK, I can push his buttons a little bit here,' or pull back and say, 'Hey, give him space.' That just comes from dealing with people and knowing how invested you are in him. And just really wanting to see people succeed.”

If Stanton does talk to Palmer, say during a timeout in a game, there is always a reason behind it. The fact the two have been teammates going on a fifth season matters.

"That’s developed over time," Palmer said. "I don’t trust easily. And he’s earned it."

Does this mean Palmer doesn't like Gabbert, or couldn't deal with Gabbert as backup? No. But given the responsibility of Palmer to get this team where it needs to go, it's a factor that likely wouldn't be ignored.

"In my 30 years or so coaching, the (starting) quarterback relies on that guy more than the coach," Arians said.

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