Joshua Dobbs had a storybook start to the season, has struggled the last month, and has Kyler Murray's return from a knee injury looming in the background.
But the quarterback's rough game Sunday in the Cardinals' 31-24 loss to the Ravens at State Farm Stadium won't change his status for now.
Coach Jonathan Gannon said after the game Dobbs will start next week in Cleveland, even with Murray back to physical good health, and that Murray's chance to start against Atlanta is unknown and his status is "day-to-day." Gannon also said he never considered putting rookie Clayton Tune in against the Ravens, even with the troubles of the Cardinals' offense.
"I have complete confidence in (Dobbs) and I thought he'd give us the best chance to get us back in the game," Gannon said. "We got back in the game."
Dobbs completed 25-of-37 passes for 208 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions, but had only 10 completions and 60 yards (for both turnovers and no scores) in the first three quarters against the Ravens.
"I've got to get ready to play," Dobbs said of his impending game against the Browns. "I've got to be ready to play like I finished out the game, keep that momentum going, rally the guys. I'm looking forward to it, and whatever headlines will be about returning to Cleveland and everything. It's another game. I love being here, I love the fight of this team, this locker room."
"It feels great to have that confidence from JG."
The Cardinals (1-7) finished furiously, scoring 17 fourth-quarter points after scoring just seven total in the first seven games of the season as Dobbs and the offense came to life.
"I told them in there the fight of this team is unwavering," Gannon said. "And I feel a little pissed off because I haven't done enough on my end to get the wins going. These guys fight, they keep a good attitude, they stay connected and that's what you are looking for.
"It's the coaches' jobs to put them in better positions to start winning games."
After the Cards opened the game with a 75-yard touchdown drive -- the first time the AFC North first-place Ravens (6-2) had given up an opening drive touchdown in 16 games -- the next nine Cardinals' drives generated only 81 yards. The two Dobbs' interceptions in that time, both of which Baltimore turned into touchdowns, put the Cardinals in a hole out of which they couldn't climb out.
"Those (turnovers) are frustrating for me personally because I can't put my defense in those situations," Dobbs said.
The offensive issues weren't helped by long fields. The Cardinals started only one of 13 possessions further out than their own 25 and had five possessions – when the game was still in the balance – begin inside their own 20.
"The passing game is going to come down to all 11," Gannon said.
Dobbs did throw a touchdown pass to tight end Trey McBride in the fourth quarter, a 17-yard strike in which McBride improbably kept moving despite multiple Baltimore defenders at the 2 before teammates helped push him over the goal-line. He threw a late TD to former Raven Hollywood Brown as well, bolstering his stats and the final score.
"We've just got to be better," Brown said.
With Zach Ertz hurt, McBride had a career-best game with 10 catches for 95 yards.
Ravens QB Lamar Jackson only ran for 18 yards on four attempts and threw for a season-low 157 yards. But he had a TD pass and didn't turn the ball over. Running back Gus Edwards had three rushing touchdowns for Baltimore.
"The defense took a big step today," safety Jalen Thompson said. "As a team, I feel like we have to take an even bigger step, just to make all the plays we need to."
In the short term, that'll start with Dobbs at quarterback.
"Guys not only sticking with me but sticking with each other, having that confidence in each other that 'Hey, keep fighting, one play at a time, we'll bounce back and make this a game,'" Dobbs said. "That's important. I love having that for JG.
"It's my job to keep playing good football, clean up those two plays that put our defense in bad situations and give us an opportunity to win."