The Arizona Cardinals have a problem.
The problem has been and continues to be, no matter who is at quarterback, that they give up a lot of sacks.
In 290 dropbacks in 2017, Carson Palmer was pressured 146 times and sacked 24 times, according to Pro Football Focus.
Drew Stanton in 2017 was pressure 51 times and sacked six on 96 dropbacks from PFF.
Blaine Gabbert 158 dropbacks, 50 pressures and 16 sacks.
Those numbers are interesting, because they say that Palmer (50.3%) and Stanton (53.1%) are pressured more often than Gabbert (31.6%). That makes sense, we have noted that Gabbert is asked to do less on deep and intermediate passes than the veterans of Bruce Arians offense.
The more interesting nugget, again thanks to David Holden of Pro Football Focus, is that Gabbert, despite being pressured less, is sacked more: Palmer 8.3% results in sacks, Stanton 6.3% and Gabbert 10.1% of the dropbacks.
That means that even though he is pressured less, he is sacked more often.
Holden brought up something even more important. How often are the quarterbacks responsible for sacks?
Of the 24 Palmer sacks, he was responsible for only two.
Of Stanton’s six sacks, he was responsible for none.
On the other hand, of the 16 sacks they have down for Blaine Gabbert, he is responsible for five. In 2016, despite being sacked 40 times on 644 drop backs, Palmer was only responsible for five sacks in Pro Football Focus’ eyes.
Those numbers are pretty staggering. Basically, one out of every three sacks is on Gabbert as opposed to the “terrible offensive line”. Moreover, despite being pressured the least amount of the three Cardinals quarterbacks this year, he is sacked on the highest percentage of dropbacks.
That begs the question… Why?
Is it still an unfamiliarity with the offense?
Is it just being cautious?
There has to be a reason, maybe we will find out more as the season goes along.