Bruce Arians made another quarterback change.
“I am going to change to Drew this week. It is no fault of Blaine [Gabbert],” Arians told reporters. “He’s healthy enough to run around and be Drew. If he weren’t I wouldn’t make the switch.”
With the Cards eliminated from playoff contention, the move all but ends the Blaine Gabbert experiment for 2017, barring injury.
The switch came after Arians said Sunday that Gabbert would remain the starter. On Monday, the coach said he decided to make a switch after watching the film of the 20-15 loss to the Washington Redskins. Arians added he thinks Gabbert can still be an NFL quarterback, but Stanton gives the Cardinals the best chance to win this week.
Stanton started two games this season after Carson Palmer suffered a broken arm. The 33-year-old career backup, however, injured his knee in Week 10, paving the way for Gabbert’s stint. Stanton owns a career 52.5 completion percentage with 17 touchdowns to 21 interceptions.
The Cardinals went 2-3 with Gabbert at the helm, including a last-second win over the playoff-bound Jacksonville Jaguars. However, the seven-year pro has played progressively worse in his five starts, including Sunday’s brutal clunker in Washington. In the loss, Gabbert completed 16 of 41 passes, for a 39.0 percent rate, 189 yards, a 4.6 yard per attempt average, and an interception.
Arians coaxed the best performances out of Gabbert in the quarterback’s waylaid career. The coach even showed somewhat irrational confidence in the former first-round pick, including insisting Gabbert could be his starter next year if Palmer retired. Monday’s move should put those thoughts to bed.
Heading into 2018, the future under center in Arizona remains a depressing unknown. Even if Palmer returns, the long-term franchise signal-caller isn’t currently on the roster. In a division that now boasts Russell Wilson, Jimmy Garoppolo, and Jared Goff, the looming black hole at the NFL’s most important position is a potential harbinger of doom for the Cardinals future.