NFL: AZ Cardinals Carson Palmer
Back in the 2013 off-season the Arizona Cardinals hired a new coach, in Bruce Arians, who then went out with GM Steve Keim and acquired Carson Palmer for a 2013 NFL sixth-round draft pick and a conditional pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Many questioned the move at the beginning of this season when Palmer appeared to be an over-the-hill quarterback, at age 33. Many believed Palmer would lead the Cardinals to only a few wins and that the team would finally be getting their franchise quarterback in the 2014 NFL Draft, which is considered by many as an excellent draft for, quarterbacks.
The Cardinals felt their defense would keep them in games, but it would come down to the offensive line play and Carson Palmer to get the victories for this team under new Coach Bruce Arians.
Palmer had thrown 15 interceptions in the first nine games of the season and looked shaky in the pocket, over and under throwing receivers. Many were calling for Drew Stanton to come in and take over, putting Palmer in the back-up role.
Instead, the front office and Coach Arians began to make some changes to the offense. On October 2nd Levi Brown was traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers and Bradley Sowell was inserted into the starting lineup; and although Sowell has struggled at times, he has turned into a serviceable tackle and will only get better. Arians also began to use the dual tight end option to gain more blocking to help protect Palmer.
It did take the Offensive Line time to start working together as a group, but over the last 8 games they have shown much improvement.
The Cardinals are 6-1 in its last seven games, and in those seven games Palmer has completed 69 percent of his passes, 160 out of 232, with 13 touchdowns for 1,948 yards and has thrown only four interceptions.
His 2013 statistics through Sunday’s game against the Titans are 21 touchdown passes; only Kurt Warner has thrown more in a season as a Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals’ quarterback. He has passed for 3689 yards, which places him eighth overall in yardage in the NFL and has completed 64.5% of his passes this season, which places him in ninth overall.
If Palmer can lead the Cardinals to the playoffs, although getting past the Seahawks and 49ers will be difficult, they might be a team to look out for. The winning attitude is something the Cardinals haven’t experienced the last couple seasons and Palmer is one of the main reasons for that attitude.
Usually around this time of the football season the Cardinals are out of the playoff picture and everyone is talking about who they need to draft and what free agent might be available to come to Arizona and play for the Cardinals.
Palmer’s performance will give the Cardinals front office a lot of flexibility in drafting his replacement. If Palmer continues on this positive run the Cardinals may not need to get his successor in the 2014 draft early rounds, and instead focus on other areas of need such as a first round tackle, an outside linebacker, or another defensive end.
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