TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — For the first time, Blaine Gabbert will be facing the Jacksonville franchise that gave up on him.
It’s a little bit of a special matchup, he said, but not that much. He said he’s long moved on from that situation.
“Yeah, that was the team that drafted me,” Gabbert said. “Things didn’t work out there, but looking back on it, hindsight is always 20-20. That was a long time ago.”
The Jaguars so coveted the young quarterback out of Missouri in 2011 that they traded up six spots to make him the draft’s 10th selection overall.
Gabbert was 5-22 as a starter in Jacksonville, throwing 22 touchdown passes and 24 interceptions in 28 career games. He had more than one touchdown in a game just four times.
He also couldn’t stay healthy. He missed games because of injuries to his shoulder, forearm, thumb, hamstring and a cut on his hand. He failed to finish six of his last 10 starts, including the preseason, because of injuries.
So in March of 2014, Jacksonville traded the quarterback to San Francisco for a sixth-round draft choice.
Is he bitter about the way things ended in Florida?
“No, not all,” Gabbert said. “Everything happens for a reason. I’m a firm believer in that, and it didn’t work out there. There were things in my control, some things out of my control, but for whatever reason, it just didn’t work. I wouldn’t change it at all. I learned a lot, met a lot of great people there.
“It was a great town to live in, but the past is the past. I’ve moved on. I’m happy to be a Cardinal. Phoenix is a tough area to beat to live in, too, especially this time of year.”
When he was released by the 49ers after last season, the Cardinals — intrigued by Gabbert’s strong arm and athleticism — signed him to a one-year deal as the team’s No. 3 quarterback.
Gabbert, who has had seven offensive coordinators in his seven NFL seasons, has started 42 games and won only nine. The latest loss came in his first Arizona start Sunday at Houston. He completed 22 of 34 passes for 257 yards and a career-best three touchdowns but two late interceptions marred his otherwise solid day.
Gabbert started because the regular backup, Drew Stanton, was out with a knee injury. Coach Bruce Arians said this week he would stick with Gabbert until Stanton is fully recovered and then decide where to go from there.
Stanton took over when Carson Palmer broke his left arm last month against the Los Angeles Rams in London.
Only four players remain from the days Gabbert was in Jacksonville — quarterback Chad Henne, defensive tackle Abry Jones, tight end Marcedes Lewis and linebacker Paul Posluszny.
“I don’t have a background with him, like maybe some other people do in this league or this building,” Jaguars coach Doug Marrone said. “I went out there and looked at the tape and saw someone that, obviously, can make all the throws, has a very good arm, has excellent mobility, a good decision-maker, and thought that if he has a clean pocket, and if he is able to stay in rhythm, he is very, very dangerous.”
Gabbert is just glad to be playing again.
“It was a lot of fun to get back out there,” he said. “It was fun playing in the preseason, going through training camp and whatnot, but being able to run the system, be out in the huddle with the guys in a regular-season game, that’s why we practice out here day-in and day-out.”
Gabbert leads an injury-riddled Arizona team that stumbles in at 4-6 after a 31-21 loss at Houston against a 7-3 Jaguars team.
There will be no reinforcements for the Cardinals. Arians said after Wednesday’s practice that there are no plans to bring anyone, including running back David Johnson, off injured reserve.
Johnson, who led the NFL in yards from scrimmage last year, broke his left wrist in the season opener.
Notes: Arizona promoted wide receiver Carlton Agudosi from the practice squad. Agudosi, an undrafted free agent out of Rutgers, has been on the Cardinals practice squad all season. … He takes the roster spot of running back Andre Ellington, who was released Monday. The team also signed Alonzo Russell to the practice squad.