Bruce Arians: Blaine Gabbert could be starter in 2018

By David Kenyon

Blaine Gabbert has never lived up to the expectation of a top-10 pick, but Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians still believes in the veteran quarterback.

According to Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic, Arians acknowledged it’s a possibility that Gabbert is the team’s starter in 2018 if Carson Palmer does not return.

“The way [Gabbert is] playing right now, I’d be very, very comfortable.”

Since taking over for an injured Drew Stanton, Gabbert has completed 61.1 percent of his passes for 498 yards with five touchdowns and three interceptions. The Cardinals lost to the Houston Texans 31-21 but edged the Jacksonville Jaguars 27-24.

That’s a relatively small sample, and Arians isn’t fully committing to Gabbert as the starter for the future anyway.

However, the Cardinals must be prepared for the possibility Palmer is done. Prior to an arm injury, he tossed nine touchdowns compared to seven touchdowns. Palmer put up plenty of yards yet typically wasn’t efficient in his 38.1 passes per game.

Whether in the upcoming draft or the following spring, Arizona must select a quarterback. The Cardinals need to have an established plan for the future of the position in case Gabbert struggles in the latest opportunity to resurrect his career.

But if Arians can bring out the best of Gabbert and Arizona re-signs him in March, the team won’t be as concerned about the prospect of Palmer retiring.