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Stanton back under center for Cardinals

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Quarterback Drew Stanton was healthy enough to return to the starting lineup for the last few weeks.

Stanton knows why the Arizona Cardinals kept Blaine Gabbert in to run the offense, though, and he wasn't about to be selfish and complain.

"I've been in this business for a long period of time and I've been fortunate to survive for 11 years and see the whole picture," Stanton said. "I understand the reason to stick with Blaine."

The Cardinals (6-8) had to find out for sure what they had or didn't have in Gabbert, the seven-year pro who in on his seventh different offense in seven seasons.

After five weeks leaning on Gabbert, the Cardinals decided they had seen enough and turned back to Stanton, who will start the team's final two games, including Sunday against the visiting Giants.

Both Gabbert and Stanton are set to become unrestricted free agents. Carson Palmer, who started the first seven weeks of the season, is signed through next season, but he may decide to retire.

Whatever happens with Palmer, the Cardinals are certain to be exploring their options at quarterback for 2018 and beyond.

They will either draft one, trade for one, or sign one as a free agent. They desperately need some stability at the position, something the Giants have had with Eli Manning since 2004.

"That's the greatest feeling in the world for a coach, when your quarterback is there every week," Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians said. "No matter who else goes down, they can lead the ship."

Stanton, who started two games when Palmer suffered a broken arm before spraining his right knee himself, said he is happy to be called upon once again.

"The competitor in me loves the fact I get to go out and do it again," he said. "At the same time, the humanistic side of things, you feel bad for someone you have been around for this period in time in Blaine and he's just handled it unbelievably well. That's no surprise to me."

Stanton is 1-1 in his two starts this season.

"I've been called upon to play this week and I'll do whatever I can to help this team," he said.

SERIES HISTORY: 126th regular-season meeting. Giants lead series, 80-43-2. The series, which dates back to 1926, is the third-oldest rivalry for the Cardinals behind only the Bears and Packers, but the Cardinals have faced the Giants more times than any other opponent. This week's game will be the eighth meeting since the Cardinals joined the NFC West in 2002, with Arizona holding a 4-3 edge. The Cardinals have won the past two meetings on the road against the Giants, but have dropped the past two against them at home.

--The Cardinals had four players selected to the Pro Bowl - wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, cornerback Patrick Peterson, linebacker Chandler Jones and rookie safety Budda Baker as a special-teams player.

It will be the 11th Pro Bowl appearance for Fitzgerald, the most by any Cardinals player in franchise history. Jerry Rice is the only receiver in NFL history with more appearances. With 92 receptions for 982 receiving yards, Fitzgerald is easily on pace to top 100 catches for a third year in a row.

This is Jones' second Pro Bowl selection. He first was in 2015 with the Patriots. He leads the league in sacks (15).

For Peterson, this marks his seventh consecutive Pro Bowl selection and his sixth straight as a cornerback.

Baker becomes the 13th Cardinals rookie to be selected.

Safety Tyrann Mathieu and running back Adrian Peterson were selected as Pro Bowl alternates.

--"You'll need your tape recorders for this one. You can't write that fast." -- Head coach Bruce Arians to reporters on Wednesday before rattling off the names of players who did not practice, which numbered an even dozen.

They were safety Antoine Bethea (knee), linebackers Josh Bynes (ankle), Karlos Dansby (knee) and Gabe Watson (hamstring), tight end Troy Niklas (ankle), defensive linemen Robert Nkemdiche (wrist), Olsen Pierre (illness) and Frostee Rucker (not injury-related), guard Earl Watford (ankle), wide receivers Larry Fitzgerald (not injury-related) and Chad Williams (illness) and running back Kerwynn Williams (quadriceps/ribs).

--The Cardinals signed linebacker Vontarrius Dora and wide receiver Rashad Ross to the practice squad and released linebacker Kevin Snyder. Dora spent Week 5 with the Cardinals on their active roster. Ross was released by the Bills in early September. The former Arizona State product has also spent time with the Titans, Bears and Redskins.

NOTES: WR Brittan Golden underwent surgery in Washington, D.C., on Monday to repair a shattered right ulna and a broken radius bone. He suffered the injury while returning a punt with two minutes remaining in Arizona's 20-15 loss to the Redskins. "I've got staples on this side, staples on the bottom side. I've got two metal plates," Golden said Wednesday. Golden said doctors told him the rehabilitation time is three to four months, which coincides with the start of free agency. He is set to become an unrestricted free agent. "I'll get the staples out in two weeks and go from there," Golden said. ... WR John Brown has had consecutive down seasons since becoming a breakout player in 2015. It's been a combination of poor production and a series of injuries, including his most recent one, turf toe. But Brown said he plans to play this Sunday against the Giants after missing the past five games.

"I'm just hoping I can get out there and put some good stuff on tape," he said. Brown has just 19 receptions for 271 yards and two touchdowns in eight games this year. "To be able to get out there and hopefully catch a touchdown or do something, I think it would do wonders for him," head coach Bruce Arians said. ... P Andy Lee averaged 50.2 yards per punt against Washington last week, marking the second time in three games he has averaged at least 50 yards per punt. Lee is averaging 46.8 yards per punt this season, just 0.2 yards off the franchise single-season record of 47.0, set by Ben Graham in 2009.