Blaine Gabbert may be in a starting lineup once again with Carson Palmer lost to a broken arm and Drew Stanton nursing a knee sprain. One report has already said Gabbert will start Sunday against the Houston Texans, but the Cardinals don’t plan to name who will be under center until Friday.
But with the Arizona Cardinals days away from possibly turning to a third-string quarterback, Bruce Arians is already insisting that it isn’t a disaster scenario.
“If [Gabbert’s] our guy, then I’m extremely comfortable,” Arians said Wednesday.
Really? What about Gabbert’s 9-31 record as a starter? Or his career passer rating of 71.5? Only rookies C.J. Beathard and DeShone Kizer are below that mark among starting quarterbacks in 2017.
Arians has an explanation for that:
Bruce Arians on why Blaine Gabbert has had a bad rap throughout his career: "He was on really shitty teams.”— Josh Weinfuss (@joshweinfuss) November 15, 2017
Well here’s the thing:
1. Arians is right
Gabbert played three years in Jacksonville and three in San Francisco. None of those six years ended with a winning record, and all six ended 25th or lower in points scored. They were, indeed, shitty teams.
His best receiver in Jacksonville was Cecil Shorts and his best in San Francisco was a mid-30s version of Anquan Boldin.
2. That doesn’t mean Gabbert wasn’t shitty
Much of the optimism surrounding Gabbert is tied to his impressive showing for the Cardinals in preseason. It shouldn’t be trusted. He had similar great preseason showings during his time with the 49ers but was eventually benched in 2016 with five touchdowns and six interceptions.
In six years, Gabbert has 38 touchdowns, 37 interceptions, and a long reel of terrible plays.
During his final year with the Jaguars, one former team assistant referred to him as “Blame Gabbert” in an interview with Yahoo’s Michael Silver and said “nothing's ever his fault.”
Now in the seventh year of his career, Gabbert’s apparently still getting those excuses.
3. Wait, but the Cardinals are shitty too
If Gabbert’s problem is that his teams were really bad, why is this going to be different?
The Cardinals are 4-5, thanks to a pair of wins over the 49ers and victories over the Colts and Buccaneers. Arizona is No. 27 in points scored and No. 24 in points allowed. It is not a good football team.
Larry Fitzgerald is a better receiver than anybody Gabbert had at his previous two stops, but the offensive line for the Cardinals isn’t great, especially after losing Mike Iupati and D.J. Humphries for the season.
There’s a strong chance Gabbert starts Sunday and if he does, this Cardinals team doesn’t look like it’ll be any less shitty than his former teams.