On Thursday, Michigan State plays Washington State in the Holiday Bowl. It will be the Spartans 10th bowl game under Mark Dantonio, who was hired to be the head coach there in 2007, taking over a team that went 4-8 the year before. The quarterback of the last Michigan State team to truly be bad up until their 3-9 season a year ago?
In 2006, Stanton threw 12 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, sharing some of that time with Brian Hoyer, who had about half as many pass attempts as Stanton. It was a significant drop in production for Stanton from where he was a year earlier (22 TD/12 INT) but the Detroit Lions still chose him 43rd overall in the 2007 draft. He wasn’t the worst quarterback of that draft, but it was a pretty “special” class of quarterbacks:
Jamarcus Russell went first, and the leading passer from the 2007 draft is still Trent Edwards. Stanton is the only active quarterback left from that draft, and he’s never going to come close to matching Edwards’ 6,033 career yards.
On Sunday, Stanton will be making his fourth start of the year in place of Carson Palmer and Blaine Gabbert. He’ll be trying to lead the Arizona Cardinals, his third team, to a spoiler win over the Seattle Seahawks to keep their division rivals from making the postseason for the sixth year in a row. However, as notable/hated as Stanton is in Seattle for moves like this one —
the reality is that, as he puts it, Stanton is a “career backup.”
Over an 11-year career, Stanton has made just 16 starts. So in a way, Sunday will be the start of his “second 16-game season.” The results of his first 16 starts:
10-6, 52.8% completions, 19 touchdowns, 23 interceptions, 6.3 Y/A, and a rating of 67.
Stanton made four starts for the Lions, had a quick stop with the Colts, then signed with the Cardinals after Bruce Arians was hired in 2013. He made eight starts in 2014, including the only time Arians’ has lost in Seattle.
“You look at Carson’s history up there, he’s played phenomenally well,” Stanton said Wednesday. “I think the only time we lost up there is when I played, huh?”
The Seahawks won that game 19-3.
He made one start from 2015-2016, but was called upon in Week 9 after Carson Palmer was again injured. In Week 10, Stanton faced the Seahawks on Thursday Night Football and completed 51% of his 47 attempts, gaining 5.81 Y/A as Seattle won 22-16.
(The Seahawks led 22-10 up until the final seconds.)
In that game, Dion Jordan also debuted and dominated his first game in over 1,000 days. The Seahawks were also starting Bradley McDougald in place of Earl Thomas and lost Richard Sherman to a torn Achilles midway through the game. Jarran Reed played in just two snaps. Seattle should be in better shape defensively this weekend, even without Kam Chancellor and Sherman. They’ll also be at home. Meanwhile, Arizona’s offensive line has been decimated over the full course of the season, losing Mike Iupati, Earl Watford, D.J. Humphries, and Jared Veldheer.
While question marks surround the future of Arians, Stanton is also potentially facing the end of his time with the Cardinals. Which really means that Stanton, 33 and not as cheap as a rookie, is facing a future that may not reward him with another NFL season after Sunday. Maybe that’ll be good for Arizona this weekend, if Stanton sees a spoiler bid as his final hurrah. Or if he doesn’t see it as a “final” anything so that he can win another opportunity.
Or maybe he’s still Drew Stanton, 67 career passer rating.