When the Arizona Cardinals signed Blaine Gabbert in the 2017 offseason, the first thing that came to mind was they were looking for a long term answer.
Of course, that long term answer I am talking about is the backup quarterback role. Taking over the job that Drew Stanton has held down for the last five seasons.
Through two starts, nothing has changed.
Gabbert has done a nice job of keeping the Arizona Cardinals in a position to win games. His defense faltered against the Texans. They rose to the occasion against the Jaguars.
That's what the key to being a great backup is. It is offering your team a chance to win.
Through four games the Cardinals have gotten that out of both backups and are 2-2.
Bruce Arians was asked about his level of comfort with Blaine Gabbert as the quarterback heading into 2018… His words seemed to say more than what he actually said:
Arians, on how he’d feel if Gabbert had to be 2018 starter: “The way he’s playing right now I’d be very confident.”— Darren Urban (@Cardschatter) November 27, 2017
Arians expressed his confidence in Gabbert if the situation presented itself.
Arians always does a nice job of saying something without actually saying anything.
In fact, this is the standard line from Arians on the backup quarterback taking over:
From @kentsomers: Cardinals' Bruce Arians was, and is, confident with Drew Stanton http://t.co/gDOexf0Ebf pic.twitter.com/9PtOF6dkNB— azcentral sports (@azcsports) November 12, 2014
Arians said Palmer will be a game-day decision but is confident Palmer will play. Confident in Stanton if it comes to that. #STLvsAZ— Darren Urban (@Cardschatter) December 6, 2013
Stanton hasn't thrown a pass in a regular season game since December, 2010. Arians very confident in him.— Kent Somers (@kentsomers) September 12, 2014
#Cardinals Arians on Drew Stanton "Our entire locker room is confident in Drew."— Rod Beard (@detnewsRodBeard) November 12, 2014
That is to say, Arians likes what he sees in Gabbert, but let's not mistake the play for a quarterback who is or is going to be the future starter in Arizona.
Blaine has looked like a competent, potential high end backup quarterback.
The type of guy you pay three years for $10 million and know you have a capable backup to Carson Palmer in 2018, or a nice bridge piece in 2018 or 2019.
It has been a good start to Gabbert's Cardinals career. One that should continue in 2017 and lead to a long term contract with the team. Just not as the starting quarterback.