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Blaine Gabbert and Drew Stanton compared through two starts

A statistical look at the two quarterbacks and who has been better for the Arizona Cardinals.

NFL: Arizona Cardinals Practice Tom Tingle-USA TODAY Sports

The debate started in July when training camp began. Is Drew Stanton’s job in trouble? Could he be cut because of the younger Blaine Gabbert?

We all know that Gabbert is better than Stanton, that’s the line that gets bandied about on these boards, on Twitter, local radio shows, etc.

The raw numbers show that Stanton and Gabbert are basically in lockstep, except Gabbert is more accurate while Stanton is the bigger thrower down the field.

Both have completed 44 passes, Stanton has 540 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions, while Gabbert has 498 yards, five touchdowns and three interceptions.

Stanton’s completion percentage (48.4%) and touchdown percentage (3.3) is less than Gabbert’s (61.1% and 6.9%), but Stanton’s interception percentage is lower (2.2% to 4.2).

That’s when I wanted to dig into the numbers even more and reached out to Pro Football Focus. Their Arizona Cardinals correspondent, David Holden, was kind enough to help me out.

Deep Throws (20+ yards):

Drew Stanton – 2/13 75 yards 51.1 QBRating
Blaine Gabbert – 1/3 52 yards 1TD 121.5 QBRating

Intermediate Throws (10-19 yards)

Drew Stanton – 16/33 262 yards 1TD 2INT 60.4 QBRating
Blaine Gabbert – 16/31 278 yards 4TD 2INT 93 QBRating

Short Throws (0-9 yards)

Drew Stanton – 19/31 170 yards 1TD 81.5 QBRating
Blaine Gabbert – 22/30 0TD 157 yards 1INT 71.1 QBRating

Behind the LOS

Drew Stanton – 7/7 33 yards 1TD 124.1 QBRating
Blaine Gabbert – 6/6 26 yards 84.7 QBRating

Gabbert looks like the better player here. More accurate deep, accuracy is the same but the throws he hits have gone for touchdowns in the intermediate, Stanton is better at protecting the ball I guess.

Yet, when you put all those numbers on paper it doesn’t add up to the final result that Pro Football Focus has found… Which is quite frankly baffling.

Blaine Gabbert PFF Grade – 52.6
Drew Stanton PFF Grade – 57.7

That’s right, Gabbert has been marginally worse than Stanton through two starts.

What’s more, and someone please correct me if I am wrong, only two quarterbacks in the entire NFL who have started two or more games for their teams in 2017 have a worse score than Gabbert: Trevor Siemian and Brock Osweiler.

Now, I have never been a big subscriber to the PFF grading system because… Well, I don’t like anything where I can’t see the work. However, they are useful in a number of other ways and they are diligent and hard working.

Now, how is Gabbert’s numbers so low when his raw numbers are superior to Stanton’s? Well, for one, he throws too many interceptions. Out of all the quarterbacks who have thrown a pass this year, only seven have a higher interception percentage than Gabbert: Nathan Peterman, Scott Tolzien, Paxton Lynch, Kevin Hogan, Matt Cassel, DeShone Kizer, Cody Kessler.

That’s not a great group to be among.

Yet, the real reason Gabbert finds himself below Stanton is the large number of turnover worthy plays that Gabbert has.

He lost a fumble in Sunday’s contest, which doesn’t go to his interception rate, but is the same, and according to Pro Football Focus, had four throws in addition to his one interception, that should have been interceptions.

While I don’t agree with it, the reality is, the scores don’t surprise me.

Are you surprised?