Blaine Gabbert and Drew Stanton warm up for practice Wednesday.
Drew Stanton is trying to get healthy by the end of the week, while Blaine Gabbert is taking the majority of the first-team reps, with the Cardinals knowing he very well could have to start Sunday in Houston.
Coach Bruce Arians has to look big picture when it comes to choosing his quarterback – he said he will likely make it Friday, following practice – and both his options understand that. It doesn't mean there isn't something personally meaningful, however.
Stanton has only started 15 games in his 10-year NFL career. Gabbert's chances to be an NFL starter have dissipated seven years into his career. There's a reason Stanton is fighting through a knee injury to try and return this week.
"You relish those opportunities because for me, they've only come a certain number of times," Stanton
Said Gabbert, "Anytime you can go out on the football field and play in the regular season, it's something we hold dear as an athlete. The opportunities don't come very often."
Gabbert hasn't played since the preseason, and he has started just 16 times the past five seasons. Arians said much of Gabbert's struggles as a pro – he has 38 career TD passes and 37 career interceptions -- were because "he was on really (expletive) teams."
Gabbert, like Stanton, will be a free agent after the season. It's another big reason to be hoping for playing time, and the Cards might benefit from getting a look-see from Gabbert in a regular-season setting.
"I don't really think about that," Gabbert said of his future. "You're so close-minded in the season, it's such a one-week-at-a-time mentality."
Arians said Gabbert makes "wow" throws every day, and has avoided of late making blatant mistakes
within the Cardinals' offense.
It puts the Cardinals in a much different place than, for example, 2014, when Stanton's injury forced Ryan Lindley and rookie Logan Thomas on the field for important games late in the season. Lindley struggled mightily.
"I can honestly say this is the best feeling I've ever had about playing a third quarterback," Arians said.
In the meantime, the will-he/won't he with Stanton continued on Wednesday with Stanton limited but making progress. He talked about having a bone bruise in his right knee, and the effort to get it healthy by the weekend. He declined to put a percentage on his health.
"I'd be way off and I think inaccurate, so, probably somewhere around my completion percentage," Stanton deadpanned.
Stanton left no doubt about whether he thought he would be available come Sunday, however.
"Of course," Stanton said. "I want to play, yes. But I also need to remove myself from the situation and say, 'Is this what's best for the team?' "
Images from the Kingpin Challenge