Drew Stanton strengthens hold on Cardinals' backup QB job

Stanton completed 11 of 15 passes for 112 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions. That should quiet the voices wanting

Cardinals backup quarterback Drew Stanton stopped far short of saying he needed a performance like the one he turned in Saturday night against the Raiders.

Stanton’s in his 10th NFL season. He’s 33. His coach, Bruce Arians, loves him. Those are a few of the reasons not to worry.

Yet, it’s always nice to play well, as Stanton did in the Cardinals’ 20-10 victory at University of Phoenix Stadium. He completed 11 of 15 passes for 112 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions.

That should quiet the voices wanting Blaine Gabbert to back up Carson Palmer.

Arians’ voice has never been among them.

“It’s what I see in practice every day,” Arians said. “He was dynamite in OTAs (organized team activities) and has been throughout the training camp.”

It’s a dramatic change from this time a year ago. Stanton completed only 11 passes in all of the 2016 preseason (39 percent completion rate) with two interceptions and no touchdowns.

The difference, Arians said, is that Stanton wasn’t healthy a year ago, although what was bothering him is unknown.

“I took this preparation real serious this offseason,” Stanton said after the game. “It’s a testament to this training staff and Buddy Morris (strength and conditioning coach). For somebody like that to put that much thought and effort into somebody like me, a backup, it speaks volumes about the type of guy he is.”

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Cardinals quarterback Drew Stanton scrambles out of trouble in the second quarter of Saturday's preseason game. (Photo: David Kadlubowski/azcentral spor)

The plan Saturday night was for Palmer to start and participate in 15 plays or so, then Stanton would play the rest of the half and Gabbert most of the second half.

That’s almost exactly how it turned out. Palmer was in for the Cardinals’ 14-play touchdown drive to open the game. He completed 4 of 8 for 39 yards, including a 12-yard touchdown to receiver Brittan Golden.

Told he was coming out, Palmer lobbied to remain in the game.

“I thought I was going to get the first quarter,” Palmer said. “That’s what he (Arians) said last night in the team meeting.”

Palmer played reasonably well, even though he overthrew receiver Jaron Brown on a potential long scoring play.

Stanton entered and was sharp throughout most of the evening. He moved around the pocket well to extend plays and drives.

His touchdown pass came after he was flushed from the pocket. He floated to his right all the way to the sideline, before he found tight end Troy Niklas, who had moved from the back of the end zone to the front.

“Really, I was getting ready to throw the ball away, but Troy did a phenomenal job of coming back aggressively downhill towards the ball,” Stanton said, "and he beat everybody else towards the spot.”

Stanton wasn’t perfect. He overthrew receiver Chris Hubert, who was open in the end zone after a stutter-and-go move. He nearly had a pass intercepted in the end zone.

“You always need this kind of performance,” Stanton said. “It’s much better than not playing well. There’s stuff to go back and look at. Sometimes you get greedy, especially in this offense because those kinds of plays present themselves. You have to be smart about that and find the check down.”

After the game, Stanton seem surprised when he was approached by reporters. He joked that he figured they were there to talk to Palmer, who has the locker next to Stanton’s.

Stanton didn’t want to keep Palmer waiting because “he’s my ride home.”

Stanton has been Palmer’s backup since 2013, and is 6-3 as a starter for the Cardinals. Arians trusts Stanton implicitly, as does Palmer.

That, along with Stanton’s performance on Saturday, make it unlikely Gabbert replaces Stanton.

“I thought he (Stanton) was outstanding,” Arians said. “He was spot-on.”

 

 

 

drew-stanton-strengthens-hold-on-cardinals-backup-qb-job photo 2 Arizona Cardinals quarterback Drew Stanton fires a pass to Andre Ellington during preseason game with the Oakland Raiders at University of Phoenix Stadium, Saturday, August 12, 2017.  Tom Tingle/azcentral sportsdrew-stanton-strengthens-hold-on-cardinals-backup-qb-job photo 3 Arizona Cardinals linebacker Kareem Martin tries to get around Oakland Raiders tackle Vadal Alexander during the second quarter of a preseason game with the Raiders at University of Phoenix Stadium, Saturday, August 12, 2017.  Tom Tingle/azcentral sportsdrew-stanton-strengthens-hold-on-cardinals-backup-qb-job photo 4 Arizona Cardinals fans celebrate in the 2nd quarter of their NFL game Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz.   David Kadlubowski/azcentral sportsdrew-stanton-strengthens-hold-on-cardinals-backup-qb-job photo 5 Arizona Cardinals quarterback Drew Stanton (5)scrambles out of trouble in the 2nd quarter of their NFL game Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz.   David Kadlubowski/azcentral spordrew-stanton-strengthens-hold-on-cardinals-backup-qb-job photo 6 Oakland Raiders safety Shalom Luani (26) nearly picks off a pass in the 2nd quarter of their NFL game Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz.   David Kadlubowski/azcentral sportsdrew-stanton-strengthens-hold-on-cardinals-backup-qb-job photo 7 Arizona Cardinals defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche (90) and Josh Bynes (45) stop Oakland Raiders running back DeAndre Washington (33) in the backfield in the 2nd quarter of their NFL game Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz.  David Kadlubowski/azcentral sportsdrew-stanton-strengthens-hold-on-cardinals-backup-qb-job photo 8 Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer barks commands during preseason game with the Oakland Raiders at University of Phoenix Stadium, Saturday, August 12, 2017.  Tom Tingle/azcentral sportsdrew-stanton-strengthens-hold-on-cardinals-backup-qb-job photo 9 Oakland Raiders middle linebacker Cory James (57) hits Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) as he throws during the first quarter of their NFL game Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz.   David Kadlubowski/azcentral sportsdrew-stanton-strengthens-hold-on-cardinals-backup-qb-job photo 10 Oakland Raiders middle linebacker Cory James (57) hits Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) as he throws during the first quarter of their NFL game Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz.   David Kadlubowski/azcentral sportsdrew-stanton-strengthens-hold-on-cardinals-backup-qb-job photo 11 Arizona Cardinals defensive end Josh Mauro (97) and outside linebacker Chandler Jones (55) celebrate a missed field goal during the first quarter of their NFL game against the Oakland Raiders Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz.   David Kadlubowski/azcentral sportsdrew-stanton-strengthens-hold-on-cardinals-backup-qb-job photo 12 The Arizona Cardinals defense celebrate a missed field goal during the first quarter of their NFL game against the Oakland Raiders Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz.   David Kadlubowski/azcentral sportsdrew-stanton-strengthens-hold-on-cardinals-backup-qb-job photo 13 Oakland Raiders middle linebacker Cory James (57) hits Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) as he throws during the first quarter of their NFL game Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz.   David Kadlubowski/azcentral sportsdrew-stanton-strengthens-hold-on-cardinals-backup-qb-job photo 14 Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) during the first quarter of their NFL game Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz.   David Kadlubowski/azcentral sportsdrew-stanton-strengthens-hold-on-cardinals-backup-qb-job photo 15 Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) throws under pressure from Oakland Raiders defensive end Denico Autry (96) during the first quarter of their NFL game Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz.   David Kadlubowski/azcentral sportsdrew-stanton-strengthens-hold-on-cardinals-backup-qb-job photo 16 Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Brittan Golden (10) catches a touchdown between Oakland Raiders free safety Reggie Nelson (27) and cornerback David Amerson (29) during the first quarter of their NFL game Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz.   David Kadlubowski/azcentral sportsdrew-stanton-strengthens-hold-on-cardinals-backup-qb-job photo 17 Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Brittan Golden (10) celebrates his touchdown between Oakland Raiders free safety Reggie Nelson (27) and cornerback David Amerson (29) during the first quarter of their NFL game Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz.   David Kadlubowski/azcentral sportsdrew-stanton-strengthens-hold-on-cardinals-backup-qb-job photo 18 Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Brittan Golden (10) celebrates his touchdown between Oakland Raiders free safety Reggie Nelson (27) and cornerback David Amerson (29) during the first quarter of their NFL game Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz.   David Kadlubowski/azcentral sportsdrew-stanton-strengthens-hold-on-cardinals-backup-qb-job photo 19 Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer and head coach Bruce Arians mull the situation during preseason game with the Oakland Raiders at University of Phoenix Stadium, Saturday, August 12, 2017.  Tom Tingle/azcentral sportsdrew-stanton-strengthens-hold-on-cardinals-backup-qb-job photo 20 Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer fires a pass during preseason game with the Oakland Raiders at University of Phoenix Stadium, Saturday, August 12, 2017.  Tom Tingle/azcentral sportsdrew-stanton-strengthens-hold-on-cardinals-backup-qb-job photo 21 Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer fires a pass during preseason game with the Oakland Raiders at University of Phoenix Stadium, Saturday, August 12, 2017.  Tom Tingle/azcentral sportsdrew-stanton-strengthens-hold-on-cardinals-backup-qb-job photo 22 Arizona Cardinals running back Andre Ellington runs for tough yardage during the first quarter in a preseason game with the Oakland Raiders at University of Phoenix Stadium, Saturday, August 12, 2017.  Tom Tingle/azcentral sportsdrew-stanton-strengthens-hold-on-cardinals-backup-qb-job photo 23 Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson is grabbed on the facemask by Oakland Raiders linebacker Cory James as cornerback David Amerson, right, pursues, during first quarter action at University of Phoenix Stadium, Saturday, August 12, 2017.  Tom Tingle/azcentral sportsdrew-stanton-strengthens-hold-on-cardinals-backup-qb-job photo 24 Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians and Oakland Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio greet prior to their NFL game Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz.   David Kadlubowski/azcentral sportsdrew-stanton-strengthens-hold-on-cardinals-backup-qb-job photo 25 Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians and Oakland Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio greet prior to their NFL game Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz.   David Kadlubowski/azcentral sportsdrew-stanton-strengthens-hold-on-cardinals-backup-qb-job photo 26 Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) prior to their NFL game Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz.   David Kadlubowski/azcentral sportsdrew-stanton-strengthens-hold-on-cardinals-backup-qb-job photo 27 Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) prior to their NFL game Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz.   David Kadlubowski/azcentral sportsdrew-stanton-strengthens-hold-on-cardinals-backup-qb-job photo 28 Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) prior to their NFL game Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz.   David Kadlubowski/azcentral sportsdrew-stanton-strengthens-hold-on-cardinals-backup-qb-job photo 29 Arizona Cardinals center A.Q. Shipley (53) and quarterback Carson Palmer (3) prior to their NFL game Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz.  David Kadlubowski/azcentral sports

 

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