Bruce Arians would be 'very comfortable' with Blaine Gabbert as Cardinals' 2018 QB

On Sunday, Blaine Gabbert helped the Cardinals upset the Jaguars 27-24. On Sunday, there's a chance the Gabbert era in Arizona officially began. 

For the first time since he entered the league as the Jaguars' first-round pick in 2011, Gabbert has found someone who believes in his long-term viability as a starting quarterback. On Monday, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians revealed that he would feel "very, very comfortable" with Gabbert as his starting quarterback next season.

Arians-Gabbert 2018? It could happen -- if the current injured starter, Carson Palmer, decides to retire. 

From the team's official website:

The question is beginning to morph not about Gabbert's spot the rest of this season but next, for a team that has long-term quarterback issues. Arians answered one the best he could Monday, when asked how confident he would be with Gabbert as the 2018 starter should Carson Palmer decide to retire.

"The way he's playing right now I'd be very, very comfortable," Arians said.

Could Arians see it happening? "Oh yeah, I think it's a possibility," Arians added.

That should sound familiar. This isn't the first time Arians has talked up Gabbert. He also did so before the season.

"I've been very pleased," Arians said in August, per the team's website. "Short-term, I'd be very comfortable if he had to play for us. Long-term, if he continues at this rate, he could be a starter."

So no, that doesn't mean Drew Stanton will regain his starting job over Gabbert this season. And with good reason. Gabbert is by no means a top quarterback, but he's been lightyears better than Stanton. In two starts -- one win and one loss -- Gabbert's completed 61.1 percent of his passes for 498 yards, five touchdowns, three picks, and an 87.6 passer rating. That's actually serviceable for a quarterback who wasn't even the backup to begin the season.

On Sunday, Gabbert helped the Cardinals shock the Jaguars in what will go down as the Official Blaine Gabbert Revenge Game. Sure, he threw an awful interception in the final minutes of a tie game, which should've doomed the Cardinals ...

NFL Game Pass

... but maybe he just knew all along that he'd be giving the ball back to Blake Bortles and as a result, the Cardinals' chances to win would skyrocket because Bortles still loves throwing the ball to the other team. He was right, by the way:

NFL Game Pass

Laugh at the idea of the Gabbert revenge game all you want, but it's clear Gabbert took it seriously.

If you can't already tell based on the tone of this blog, I do not think it's a good idea for the Cardinals to move forward with Gabbert as their starter in 2018 (a bold take, I know). He's been serviceable for two games, but he's also a quarterback with a career 56.2 completion percentage, 6.0 yards per attempt, 43 touchdowns, 40 interceptions, a 72.3 passer rating. At best, he's a backup quarterback. 

I don't mean for that to sound overly critical of Gabbert, who was immediately thrust into a horrible situation in Jacksonville before a just as bad one in San Francisco. Heck, if Gabbert were the Jaguars' quarterback this season, they'd probably be just as good. But Gabbert cannot be the Cardinals' plan if Palmer retires even if Arians has had a soft spot for him. If they really do intend to roll into 2018 with Gabbert as their starter, they'll be sabotaging their season.

Palmer, 37, hasn't made up his mind yet, but has contemplated retirement in the past. Since his MVP-caliber season in 2015, Palmer's level of play has declined. In the past two seasons, his passer rating sits at 86.3. He's under contract through next season.

"I'll have a chance to think about what is next as far as 2018 and all that once we get through this year," Palmer said, per the team's website.

Gabbert, meanwhile, is scheduled to become a free agent after the year.

CBS Sports Writer

Sean Wagner-McGough joined CBS Sports in 2015 after graduating from UC Berkeley. A native of Seattle, Sean now resides in the Bay Area. He spends his spare time defending Jay Cutler on Twitter. Full Bio

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