Cardinals quarterback Drew Stanton drops back for a pass against the Chargers.
In an NFL career that has spanned 10 years, Drew Stanton has only made 12 regular season starts. Such is life as a backup quarterback.
The preseason often serves as his playing time apex, and one might think the Cardinals signal-caller puts a lot of stock in how he performs. Instead, Stanton treats it with the same amount of importance as most other veterans do, which is to say, not much at all.
Stanton has struggled thus far in a pair of preseason games, completing 4-of-13 passes for 74 yards with two interceptions and no touchdowns.
"The big thing is just getting out there," Stanton said. "You want to get hit a little bit and do some stuff. Obviously the interception (against the Chargers) wasn't ideal, but I had a reason for why I did it. It's a learning experience for me. It's always nice any time you get a chance to work with the ones. It speeds it up. You're playing in your head as if you're the starter."
On Stanton's interception in the opener against the Raiders, he said he made a poor judgment call by trying to squeeze a ball into the hands of wide receiver Jaron Brown – a player he has a great rapport with from practicing together regularly.
On the pick against San Diego, Stanton had a clean pocket and an open receiver, but said his mechanics got messed up after he looked to the right for tight end Jermaine Gresham and then scanned all the way back to his left.
"I got my body in a bad position to make a throw and unfortunately it sailed on me," Stanton said.
Stanton played well enough to win five of his eight starts for the Cardinals in 2014 when Carson Palmer got hurt, and coach Bruce Arians has trust in him if he's needed in a pinch again this year.
"I don't really have any concern (with the preseason interceptions)," Arians said. "It's not like it happens every day. It happened a couple of times in ballgames. It's happened a couple of times in practice. It's a pattern of sliding up (in the pocket), dropping your shoulder and the ball is going too high. You've got to throw the ball to second base, not center field. It's just a matter of repetitive drill work."
NO COACHING FUTURE FOR FITZGERALD
Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald has been sidelined the past few days with a knee sprain, but he's been very involved teaching the Cardinals' younger receivers the intricacies of the position.
It raised questions as to whether Fitzgerald would want to coach once his playing days were over.
"I don't think coaching is in my future," Fitzgerald said. "Not at this level. It would definitely be at a youth level where it wouldn't have to be as much of a commitment."
Arians has an idea why.
"He makes way too much money to coach," Arians said. "Way too much money."
Fitzgerald missed practice again Wednesday but called the injury minor.
"I could probably go out there, be effective and do my job," Fitzgerald said, "but a setback with less than two weeks to go would be less than ideal. I want to make sure I'm doing what I can do to help my team right now, but obviously Sept. 11 is when it really hits the fan. That's the goal, to have all hands on deck when we play against the Patriots."
SPORTS ILLUSTRATED'S SUPER BOWL PREDICTION "IRRELEVANT"
It's no secret the Cardinals are among the NFL elite heading into 2016, and the most notable preseason prediction may have come from Sports Illustrated on Tuesday when it chose them to win the Super Bowl in its NFL season preview issue.
Unsurprisingly, the team took the praise with a grain of salt.
"It's flattering, but I don't think anybody thinks much of it around here," Palmer said. "We know that's irrelevant."
Fitzgerald, who graced the cover, asked rhetorically how accurate the magazine's picks are historically. Sports Illustrated picked the Cardinals to go 5-11 last season and they finished 13-3.
MATHIEU NABS TWO INTERCEPTIONS
Safety Tyrann Mathieu picked off two passes during practice, one of five defensive players to register an interception. Game plans are being installed this week, so it was a bumpy ride for the scout team offense as it tried to mimic the Texans' offensive sets.
Mathieu has three interceptions in practice since returning to the field on Sunday from a torn ACL.
"I'm not really where I want to be, but it feels good to make some plays," Mathieu said.
JOHN BROWN SITS OUT WITH HEADACHE
Wideout John Brown (concussion) practiced in a limited capacity on Sunday and Monday but had a headache before practice on Wednesday and didn't participate.
Linebacker Alex Okafor missed practice as he continues to recover from a torn biceps tendon but is "getting real close" to a return, Arians said. Linebacker Shaq Riddick, cornerback Elie Bouka, defensive tackle Ed Stinson and defensive tackle Olsen Pierre also sat out.
Pictures from the 16th practice at training camp