Arians could see Blaine Gabbert as starting QB in 2018

The Arizona Cardinals are sticking with Blaine Gabbert under center, and the maligned quarterback could be auditioning for a future role.

Cards coach Bruce Arians was asked on Monday whether he'd be confident with Gabbert as his starter next season if Carson Palmer retired.

"The way he's playing right now I'd be very, very comfortable," Arians said, via the team's official website.

While there are many, many layers to the hypothetical question, the coach likes what he's seen from Gabbert in two starts.

"Oh yeah, I think that's a possibility," Arians said.

Gabbert has performed well in two games as a starter in Arizona, including Sunday's last-second win over a stout Jacksonville Jaguars defense. In a small sample size, Gabbert's stats in Arians' offense are similar to what Palmer was putting up this season:

Palmer 2017: 61.4 completion percentage, 282.6 pass YPT, 9-7 TD-INT ratio, 84.4 passer rating.
Gabbert 2017: 61.1 completion percentage, 249.0 pass YPT, 5-3 TD-INT ratio, 87.6 passer rating.

"I'm really proud of him," Arians said of Gabbert. "These things don't happen. I mean, you hope they don't happen very often when your top two guys go down. But we're very blessed to have him and he has taken the bull by the horns and showing us, 'I'm a player. I can play at this level and play very high.'"

Seeing Gabbert in Arians' system gives hope the career of the once washed-out No. 10 overall pick could be salvaged. With Palmer's future in question, the Cards will test-drive Gabbert to see whether he can sustain his play or if it will nosedive down the stretch.

After signing a cheap one-year contract to be the No. 3 QB in Arizona, Gabbert is getting a chance to write a new chapter in his career. Positive play over the final month of the season could earn him another opportunity next year, and a few more dollars in the process.

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