Cardinals forced to start Blaine Gabbert at QB for Week 11 game vs. Texans

When the Arizona Cardinals signed Blaine Gabbert to be their third-string quarterback this offseason, they probably didn't think he'd ever actually have to start a game, but that's exactly what's going to happen on Sunday. 

Cardinals coach Bruce Arians announced on Friday that Gabbert will be getting the start this week against the Texans because Drew Stanton is dealing with a sprained knee. The injury to Stanton comes four weeks after the Cardinals lost Carson Palmer for the season after he broke his arm back in Week 7

If Stanton does end up suiting up against Houston, then he'll serve as the backup quarterback. If Stanton can't go, then Matt Barkley will serve as Gabbert's backup for the game. 

Either way, it's go-go Gabbert time and the Cardinals are so excited about it that they put a highlight reel together, and yes, there were enough highlights to make an entire reel. 

The game on Sunday will mark the first time since Week 5 of last season that Gabbert will have started in a game and he seems pretty excited about it. 

"Playing is great," Gabbert said this week, via the Cardinals official website. "I got a chance to play a lot in the preseason. That's what we practice for, that's what we work so hard for, to go out and perform on Sunday. There is really no other feeling, I can't think of personally, than going out with your boys on the field in front of a big crowd and playing a great sport."

During the offseason, the Cardinals could have added Colin Kaepernick, but instead, they decided to go with Gabbert, who signed with the team in late August

Despite the fact that Gabbert has struggled for pretty much his entire career, Arians still seems to have confidence that his third-string quarterback can keep the 4-5 Cardinals in the thick of the NFC playoff race. 

"I can honestly say this is the best feeling I've ever had about playing a third quarterback," Arians said this week. 

Although Gabbert has a 9-31 career record and has thrown 37 interceptions compared to just 38 touchdowns, Arians has decided that he's not going to hold any of that against his new starting quarterback. As a matter of fact, Arians says it's not Gabbert's fault that he struggled through the first six seasons of his career. 

"He was on really shi--y teams," Arians said this week, via ESPN.com. 

The start from Gabbbert means that Larry Fitzgerald will get to celebrate his new contract by catching passes from his third quarterback of the season. After Week 11, the Cardinals will have been the first team to start three quarterbacks this season. 

Fitzgerald seems confident that the Cards can succeed with Gabbert running the show. 

"Same routes, same concepts," Fitzgerald said. "He had a whole offseason, training camp and had practice throughout the course of the year. I think he's comfortable and I think we're comfortable with him."

The good news for Gabbert is that he'll be going up against a Texans defense that hasn't been able to stop anyone, lately. In the three games since their bye back in 7, the Texans are giving up an average of 354.7 passing yards per game and 31.3 points per game. 

CBS Sports Writer

John Breech has been at CBS Sports since July 2011 and currently spends most of his time writing about the NFL. He's believed to be one of only three people in the world who thinks that Andy Dalton will... Full Bio

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