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Impressive Debut For Drew Stanton

Notes: QB backs up Arians' praise; Leftwich calling plays; Injury report


Cardinals quarterback Drew Stanton scrambles before hitting tight end Troy Niklas for a 7-yard touchdown pass during Saturday night's 20-10 win over the Raiders.

Drew Stanton didn't play in the Hall of Fame game, watching teammate Blaine Gabbert play well and speculation about the Cardinals' backup quarterback job gain steam.

The talk wasn't fueled internally – both coach Bruce Arians and GM Steve Keim emphasized Stanton was in control of the No. 2 job – but it didn't hurt that Stanton shined in his initial preseason appearance Saturday night in a 20-10 win over the Raiders at University of Phoenix Stadium.

"You always need this kind of performance," Stanton said, after completing 11-of-15 passes for 112 yards and a touchdown. "It's always better than not playing well."

Stanton's completion total equaled his completion total for his entire 2016 preseason (11-for-28, no TDs, 2 interceptions.)

"I thought he was outstanding," said Arians, who again praised Stanton for his work throughout the offseason and thus far in training camp.

Since arriving in Arizona, Stanton has never looked more comfortable and as accurate throwing the ball. Two plays in particular stood out on his touchdown drive. Both times Stanton calmly moved around the pocket despite pressure – the first allowing him to find wide receiver Brittan Golden coming across the field for a 26-yard gain, the second as he rolled left, buying time for tight end Troy Niklas to work back in the end zone for a 7-yard score.

"He knows exactly why he is doing what he is doing out there," Arians said.

Stanton nearly threw an interception prior to his touchdown when he threw into coverage in the end zone, and he allowed he had gotten "greedy" on the play.

Otherwise, he said, "I felt good what I was trying to accomplish and we got points."


Arians said quarterbacks coach Byron Leftwich "did a really nice job" calling plays for the first time, and the way the

Cardinals' offense did reflected that, especially early. If Carson Palmer hadn't just missed a wide-open Jaron Brown early, the Cards even would have had one of their patented Arians deep shot TDs.

But Arians said the Cardinals had to call a couple of timeouts early because of a volume issue with Leftwich calling plays upstairs. When Arians or offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin calls plays, they do it from the field.

"That's something we have to address," Arians said of the problem.

The plan is for Leftwich to call next week's game against the Bears. Arians would call the game in Atlanta, and Goodwin – who called the Hall of Fame game – would close out the preseason calling the game in Denver.

"Very natural at it," Palmer said. "I kind of knew what to expect, because we had talked quite a bit about that first drive, but just really smooth and no problems. ... There was no miscommunication or anything like that."


Wide receiver Brittan Golden (groin) and tight end Ricky Seals-Jones (ankle) were the only injuries, Arians said, and he added neither should cost serious time.

"Knock on wood, the injury bug hasn't hit us too hard, other than T.J. (Logan)," Arians said. 

Images from the Cardinals' preseason home opener against the Raiders

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