Blaine Gabbert relishing a fresh start in Hall of Fame game

"I see the talent in practice," Bruce Arians said of Blaine Gabbert. "Games are different. A different secondary, a different front and all those things, how you react to it, how you put all those pieces together in one day." AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians knows Blaine Gabbert has talent.

He has seen it in practice for nearly three months. But Arians has yet to see how Gabbert reacts when he's facing a live pass rush in a real game. That'll change Thursday when Gabbert leads the Cardinals' offense for the first half of the Hall of Fame Game against the Dallas Cowboys in Canton, Ohio.

"You want to see him with live bullets," Arians said. "I see the talent in practice. Games are different. A different secondary, a different front and all those things -- how you react to it, how you put all those pieces together in one day. That's all we practice for these guys, one day."

Gabbert will approach Thursday's exhibition like he would any other start. He'll go through his pregame routine to get warmed up and then take the field.

While he has played in the preseason before, getting two full quarters in will allow Gabbert to weather the ebb and flow of a game, giving him an opportunity to get into a rhythm or get back into one, if necessary.

"It's a great opportunity for any of the young guys, myself included, when you can play a first half, the second half, the entire game," Gabbert said. "You can really get into the rhythm rather than just playing maybe a series here, a quarter here.

"You can really get into the flow of the game and really start executing at a high level."

For Gabbert, a player who's fighting for a roster spot, that elongated opportunity can be beneficial. Or, in Arians' eyes, it could go the other way. "It's great for his future," Arians said. "You play really, really good or you play really, really bad. You got one or the other."

Gabbert said Thursday's game is also a chance for him to show the Cardinals that he understands the offense, which Arians says Gabbert has picked up quickly.

Gabbert is embracing the idea of facing another team for the first time since Week 13 of last season, when he took the field as a member of the San Francisco 49ers.

"[It'll] really show how we stack up against another football team," he said.

Despite being a former starter, Gabbert isn't lamenting the idea of starting the first preseason game, a role typically reserved for a backup or third-string quarterback. Gabbert has started 40 of the 43 games he has played since being drafted 10th overall by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2011.

He has accepted his role during training camp. And with starter Carson Palmer and backup Drew Stanton scheduled to sit out on Thursday, Gabbert's up next.

"You always play in the preseason," Gabbert said. "I've always played in the preseason, starter or not starter.

"The best thing about the preseason is it's refreshing to go against a new team. You're getting the game juices flowing. You're getting the adrenaline going."