Blaine Gabbert

Injury Notes: Titans, Mariota, Falcons, McKinley, Colts, Doyle, Eagles, Ajayi

Marcus Mariota‘s injury remains a mystery. It hasn’t been disclosed exactly what he’s dealing with although it has reportedly caused him to lose some feeling in his hand. Blaine Gabbert started, and won, for the Titans last week, and it’s possible he’s asked to do so again this week against the Jaguars.

Titans coach Mike Vrabel told reporters that he would make the decision between Gabbert and Mariota within the next “24 hours” and that he would let them know then according to Jim Wyatt of the Titans’ official website (Twitter link). If Mariota can’t go it would be a huge blow for Tennessee against the league’s top defense. One thing that could make their matchup a bit easier is that Jalen Ramsey was added to the injury report Friday with an ankle injury, although it’s unclear if he’s in any danger of missing the game.

Here’s more injury updates from around the league:

  • The Falcons just can’t seem to catch a break. It was already known they’d be without Devonta Freeman and several other starters, but it was announced today that they’d also be without talented pass-rusher Takkarist McKinley. McKinley is currently dealing with a groin injury.
  • The Colts will be quite shorthanded for their trip to Philadelphia as the team ruled out tight end Jack Doyle, running back Marlon Mack, defensive tackle Denico Autry, and right tackle Anthony Castonzo. Doyle’s injury is a big blow, as he formed an effective tight end duo with Eric Ebron through the first two games.
  • The Eagles will also be significantly shorthanded on offense, with their backfield being particularly banged up. Running backs Jay Ajayi and Darren Sproles have been ruled out, while Corey Clement is questionable. If Clement isn’t able to go, the running back situation would be dire. Alshon Jeffery is questionable, but reporters have written that he’s very unlikely to play.

AFC Injury Notes: Titans, Ben, Berry, Bolts

Marcus Mariota experienced difficulty gripping the ball after suffering a Week 1 elbow injury, but he could well return for the Titans this week. However, he doesn’t appear to be at full strength. Blaine Gabbert stands to see time as well as an apparent result. Mike Vrabel said he expects to use both of his quarterbacks against the Texans, via Jim Wyatt of TitansOnline.com (on Twitter). Mariota hasn’t made much progress since his injury in Tennessee’s opener and was still experiencing tingling in his throwing arm as of Wednesday, per Terry McCormick of TitanInsider.com, making this an interesting situation for a Titans team with playoff aspirations. If Mariota fails to progress by Sunday, it wouldn’t be hard to envision the Titans sitting him. Gabbert filled in for an injury-ransacked Cardinals team last season, making five starts (including a 12-7 win over the Titans). He completed 11 of 22 passes in a loss to the Dolphins last week.

Here’s the latest on the AFC injury front heading into Week 2:

  • A higher-profile AFC passer does look to be in better shape going into Week 2. Ben Roethlisberger practiced fully on Friday, Mike Tomlin said (via ESPN’s Adam Schefter, on Twitter), pointing him toward being available in Sunday’s Steelers-Chiefs tilt. An elbow malady caused Big Ben to miss practice on Wednesday and Thursday. Joshua Dobbs would start against Kansas City if Pittsburgh’s franchise passer can’t go.
  • When Mariota and/or Gabbert take snaps Sunday, they’ll do so with second-string tackles. Jack Conklin won’t be ready to debut, and Taylor Lewan is out as well after suffering a concussion, McCormick notes.
  • Eric Berry‘s ninth NFL season remains on hold while he battles a heel ailment. The All-Pro Chiefs safety did not practice on Friday and is doubtful to suit up in western Pennsylvania on Sunday, per Andy Reid (via Brooke Pryor of the Kansas City Star, on Twitter). Berry’s battled this heel trouble, on the opposite foot of the torn Achilles he suffered in September 2017, for over a month.
  • As expected, Joey Bosa is out for the Chargers-Bills game Sunday. Right tackle Joe Barksdale won’t suit up, either, ESPN’s Eric Williams tweets. A knee injury’s affecting Barksdale. Sam Tevi is likely to start for the Bolts at right tackle. Second-year defensive end Isaac Rochell replaced Bosa as a starting defensive end last week.

South Notes: Tepper, Mariota, Bucs

David Tepper may have been a minority owner of the Steelers before purchasing the Panthers for a league-record $2.275 billion, but he does not exactly fit the mold of your prototypical NFL owner. In a fascinating piece on the self-made billionaire, Kent Babb of the Washington Post describes how the enigmatic, unpolished Tepper could clash with the majority of the league’s straightlaced owners, and he wonders whether the league will ultimately change Tepper, or if Tepper might change the league. One way or another, Babb’s piece is worth a read.

Now for more from the league’s south divisions:

  • Despite some concerns that Titans QB Marcus Mariota could require a clean-up procedure on his knee this offseason, Jim Wyatt of TitansOnline.com says Mariota never had such a procedure and that he has looked like his usual self in spring practices thus far. Wyatt adds that, while Blaine Gabbert appears to be entrenched as Mariota’s backup going into the 2018 season, the team is more likely to keep Luke Falk as the No. 3 QB rather than risk sneaking him onto the practice squad.
  • The top four spots on the Buccaneers‘ WR depth chart are already spoken for, but Bobo Wilson, a 2017 UDFA who spent much of his rookie campaign on Tampa Bay’s practice squad, is making his case to stick around. As Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times writes, head coach Dirk Koetter has spoken highly of Wilson, who will compete for reps with 2018 fifth-rounder Justin Hunter. Wilson also has the ability to return kicks, which will certainly help his cause.
  • The Buccaneers traded a fourth- and sixth-round pick in this year’s draft to move up to the No. 94 overall selection, which they used to select Humboldt State OL Alex Cappa. Auman believes that Cappa may not be a starter right away, but that he will quickly push for a job as a regular on the offensive line (Twitter link).
  • Larry Holder of the Times-Picayune believes the Saints were wise to put a “ceiling price” on big-name free agents like Jimmy Graham and Ndamukong Suh this offseason, and he says the approach to Graham and Suh was emblematic of the team’s overall effort to rely more on young, cheap talent rather than high-priced veterans. That shift has been difficult because of New Orleans’ poor draft record in recent years, but while the Saints have a long way to go, Holder says they are moving in the right direction. Indeed, although the offense is heavy on expensive contracts, the defense is largely built on youth and thrift.
  • Texans head coach Bill O’Brien and GM Brian Gaine have specific physical characteristics in mind for every player they draft or sign, and they do not like to make exceptions to those parameters, as Sarah Barshop of ESPN.com writes. O’Brien’s and Gaine’s goal is to create a roster full of “big, strong, physical” players, and while their offseason acquisitions clearly reflect that philosophy, it is now incumbent upon O’Brien and his staff to mold his roster into a playoff contender.

Titans Sign QB Blaine Gabbert

The Titans have agreed to sign quarterback Blaine Gabbert, the team announced. Terms of the deal are not yet known. 

Gabbert spent the last season with the Cardinals and wound up starting five games after injuries took Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton out of action. All in all, he completed just 55.6% of his passes for 1,006 yards with six touchdowns against six interceptions. He’ll now serve as Marcus Mariota‘s backstop in Tennessee.

The Titans released Matt Cassel earlier this month, putting them in the market for a reserve QB. Mariota has dealt with a broken leg and a hamstring issue in the last two seasons, so the Titans wanted an experienced insurance policy in the event that he goes down.

The Titans now roster three QBs in Mariota, Gabbert, and 2017 undrafted free agent Tyler Ferguson. In theory, they seem set at the position, but they could bring in some competition for the third spot on the QB depth chart between now and training camp.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Blaine Gabbert Meets With Titans

Free agent quarterback Blaine Gabbert has taken a visit with the Titans, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

Tennessee is in the market for a backup quarterback after releasing Matt Cassel earlier this month. While starter Marcus Mariota has been healthy for 15 regular season games in each of the past two seasons, he’s a mobile quarterback who may be more susceptible to injuries, so rostering a quality No. 2 signal-caller is critical for the Titans.

Mariota fractured his fibula during the 2016 campaign, and dealt with hamstring issues in 2017, but each ailment only cost Mariota one contest (the former due to the timing of the injury). Aside from Mariota, the only other quarterback on the Titans’ roster is 2017 undrafted free agent Tyler Ferguson, who has never attempted an NFL pass.

Gabbert, of course, was a top-10 selection in the 2010 draft, and while he’s never lived up to that billing, he’s carved out an NFL career that is now entering its seventh year. In 2017, Gabbert suited up for the Cardinals and ultimately started five games when injuries struck Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton. During that time, the 28-year-old Gabbert completed 55.6% of his passes for 1,006 yards, six touchdowns, and six interceptions.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cardinals, Blaine Gabbert Talking Extension

The Cardinals have initiated extension discussions with quarterback Blaine Gabbert, according to Mike Jurecki of 98.7 FM (Twitter link).Blaine Gabbert (Vertical)

Arizona inked Gabbert, the 10th overall selection in the 2010 draft, to a one-year, minimum salary benefit this offseason, and given that he began the season as the club’s third quarterback behind Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton, the Cardinals likely didn’t envision Gabbert becoming their starter this year. But injuries to both Palmer and Stanton have forced Arizona to insert Gabbert into the starting lineup, and head coach Bruce Arians hasn’t dismissed the idea of using Gabbert as a starter in 2018.

Whether or not the Cardinals need Gabbert next season will likely hinge on Palmer’s retirement decision: the veteran signal-caller will turn 38 years old later this month, and has flirted with retirement in the past. If he returns in 2018, Palmer will almost certainly be Arizona’s starter, but if he hangs up his cleats, the Cards could use Gabbert as a low-cost insurance policy.

While Gabbert has clearly never lived up to his draft billing, he’s improved during his seven-year career. Among the 38 quarterbacks with at least 130 pass attempts in 2017, Gabbert ranks 22nd in yards per attempt, 26th in completion percentage, 28th in quarterback rating, and 31st in adjusted net yards per attempt.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Blaine Gabbert To Remain Cardinals QB

The Cardinals are clearly out of the playoff picture in the NFC after suffering another loss at the hands of the Rams. However, the team will stick with quarterback Blaine Gabbert, according to Darren Urban of ArizonaCardinals.com (Twitter link). Head coach Bruce Arians confirmed the news in his postgame presser, which makes it seem likely the 28-year-old will finish out the season in the leading position on the Cardinals QB depth chart.

Blaine Gabbert (Vertical)

Gabbert has started each of the team’s last three games with Carson Palmer likely out for the year with an arm injury. The former Jags and 49ers QB represents a younger option to fellow Arizona backup Drew Stanton, although both signal callers will be hitting free agency this coming offseason.

Palmer is still under contract for 2018, but it remains to be seen if he wants to continue playing after his most recent setback. The Cardinals could also choose to go in another direction this offseason with the bevy of starting caliber quarterbacks that may potentially become available.

Nevertheless, with Arizona’s QB position in-flux, Gabbert will get another chance to make his case for the team to bring him back for a quarterback competition next year. He’s shown glimpses this season, but has also made it easy to see at times why he’s already been on three teams since being drafted 10th overall in 2011.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC West Notes: Seahawks, Kelly, Cardinals

Cliff Avril underwent disc surgery this week, and Pete Carroll confirmed (via Stefanie Loh of the Seattle Times) the procedure went well. Avril will be out for the season, and previous reports indicated the longtime Seahawks defensive end’s career is in jeopardy. Avril, who said in October he wasn’t thinking retirement, sent out a tweet about his upcoming recovery process. Next season will be Avril’s age-32 slate. Michael Bennett said, via Loh, he talks to Avril daily and called his friend’s future “uncertain” as he prepares for a long recovery.

I think you want to be able to walk away from the game the way you want to walk away from the game. To suffer an injury of any magnitude, especially one where you could easily have been paralyzed, is something you have to be able to try to move forward past, and it’s a hard thing to do,” Bennett said. “It’s always devastating to lose a guy and not know his future.”

Here’s the latest from the NFC West.

  • Chip Kelly agreeing to become UCLA’s head coach helped save the 49ers money. The five-year, $23.3MM contract Kelly signed with UCLA will help offset what the 49ers owe him, Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com reports. The 49ers will save $7.5MM because of Kelly’s Bruins agreement, per Maiocco, adding the team would have owed its one-season coach approximately $14MM between 2018 and ’19. Now, UCLA will pay $7.5MM of that amount. “Chip did us a solid,” a 49ers source said, via Maiocco. Kelly signed a four-year, $24MM contract to become San Francisco’s head coach last year but was fired after a 2-14 campaign.
  • The Seahawks have yet to place Kam Chancellor on IR alongside Avril, and Brady Henderson of ESPN.com notes this might be because of the franchise’s cap situation. Seattle’s up against the salary ceiling presently at $84K, per OverTheCap, and by placing Chancellor on IR and replacing him with another player could create a tricky situation. Chancellor’s salary is guaranteed whether he’s on IR or the active roster. Henderson writes the Seahawks might not make this move until they need a roster spot. Given that five games remain in the regular season, that date appears likely to arrive soon.
  • Bruce Arians said earlier this week he could envision Blaine Gabbert being the Cardinals2018 starting quarterback if he keeps playing the way he’s fared since taking over. Arians doubled down on that claim later this week by saying (via Sirius XM radio, on Twitter) Gabbert is not a game manager and fits the Cardinals’ system “really well.” Arians added the veteran passer can “spin it” as well as anyone he’s coached. For reference, Arians has coached Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger and Carson Palmer. However, the straight-shooting coach is not known for doling out unwarranted praise. Palmer is under contract through 2018 but hasn’t made a decision about a return. Gabbert is a 2018 UFA.
  • Chandler Jones is having an All-Pro-caliber season, and the recently extended outside linebacker credits some of his improved production to being around 15 pounds lighter than last season, Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com notes. Urban notes Jones reported to Cardinals camp overweight last year and played between 270 and 275 pounds. He’s just under 260 now. The recently extended pass rusher has 12 sacks — one more than he recorded all of last season. That’s tied with 2016 teammate Calais Campbell for best in the league and 4.5 sacks off Simeon Rice‘s 18-year-old team record.

Blaine Gabbert To Remain Cardinals’ QB

Blaine Gabbert‘s two-game performance has earned him a promotion. Bruce Arians confirmed Monday the previous third-string quarterback has leapfrogged Drew Stanton on the depth chart.

Arians said (via Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com, on Twitter) Gabbert will be the starter and Stanton the backup going forward. Carson Palmer is not expected to return this season.

Stanton suffered a knee sprain that sidelined him and let Gabbert into the lineup the past two weeks, and the former first-round pick led the Cardinals to an upset win over the AFC South-leading Jaguars on Sunday. Gabbert’s thrown for 498 yards and five touchdown passes, while completing 61 percent of his passes, in the two games he’s started.

With Palmer having not committed to a 2018 return, Arians said considering how Gabbert’s playing right now he would feel “very confident” in starting him next season if that came to pass, per Urban (via Twitter).

Stanton counts $4.15MM against Arizona’s cap this season. Gabbert is making less than $1MM. Both players’ contracts expire after this season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Bears, Floyd, Redskins, Pryor

Bears coach John Fox says linebacker Leonard Floyd is going to miss some time, but he would not commit to putting Floyd on injured reserve when speaking to reporters on Monday (Twitter link via Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune). That’s because the team believes that he does not have a torn ACL, so a return later in the year is still possible. All in all, it’s good news for Floyd after he was carted off the field in Sunday’s loss to the Lions.

Here’s more from the NFC:

  • Redskins wide receiver Terrelle Pryor is getting arthroscopic surgery on his ankle, a source tells Mike Jones of the Washington Post (on Twitter). Doctors should have a better idea of his recovery timetable after he goes under the knife. Pryor, a big free agent signing, has yet to really shine in Washington. To date, he has 20 catches for 240 yards with one touchdown in nine games.
  • Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston‘s shoulder was re-evaluated today and he is not ready to return, head coach Dirk Koetter tells reporters (Twitter link via Jenna Laine of ESPN.com). Winston will be out this week against the Falcons, but doctors will check him out next week.
  • Cardinals coach Bruce Arians says Blaine Gabbert will start again this week (Twitter link via Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com). The plan, he says, is to stick with him until Drew Stanton is totally healthy. Gabbert completed 22-of-34 of his passes for 257 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions, both occurring late in the game. He did a solid job overall, but the Cardinals wound up falling short and falling to 4-6 on the year.
  • Packers defensive lineman Kenny Clark suffered a high-ankle sprain on Sunday, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). The injury does not appear to be a season-ender, but he may miss multiple games.