And just when it felt like this week was going to be one of the least newsy in a long time, the Cardinals cap it off by signing quarterback Carson Palmer to a three-year extension – a move that isn’t unexpected, but one that is crucial for the team going forward.
Let’s face it, Palmer has provided the stability this team has needed at the position for a long time. He’s playing some of the best football of his career. Intelligent football. He has also become a rock-solid leader inside that locker room. That cannot be dismissed. As good as Palmer has been on the field, his leadership has been very, very important.
He’ll turn 35 next month. Reportedly, the deal guarantees $20.5 million up front between bonus and 2015 salary and nothing guaranteed after that. It gives the Cards flexibility going forward, yet makes sure they have a QB.
Another good move in a season of them for GM Steve Keim.
— Calais Campbell (@Campbell93) November 7, 2014
— The big deal Sunday will be keeping Palmer upright against the Rams. Last season when the Rams visited, Palmer hadn’t practiced all week but completed 27 of 34 passes and the Cards got a comfortable win. And that was without the currently upgraded offensive line.
— Everyone is going to want to knock off the Cardinals now. That’s part of the gig when you’ve fashioned the best record in the league.
“Every single week we’ll walk out there with a bulls-eye on our back,” wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald said. “There is a big difference between being a hunter and being hunted. You have to have a much higher sense of urgency and focus to be able to deal with the pressure that comes with it.”
— The Cardinals used four-down linemen last week. Defensive coordinator Todd Bowles hasn’t been shy about mixing and matching his lineups either. But Bowles said that isn’t him getting creative as much as making moves out of necessity.
“Last year we had three-down linebackers at both spots and we had (Darnell) Dockett who was on the field all the time,” Bowles said. “We didn’t have to change as much. We had (John) Abraham as a pass rusher. They were interchangeable because you let them do what they do best. This year with all the injuries, we have a bunch of moving part with different guys who do different things.”
— Bowles said safety Tyrann Mathieu (the one and only(?) Honey Badger) isn’t quite all the way back. Mathieu thinks he is. In fact, Mathieu really, really wants the decision-makers to let him take off his knee brace. I don’t think it’s going to happen — everyone wants to be smart here — but it let’s you know how Mathieu is feeling.
— Center Lyle Sendlein has had a good week. For one, he was not fined for the chop block he was flagged for in Dallas. Usually, that’s interpreted as a penalty that shouldn’t have been called (the Cardinals lost a 12-yard Andre Ellington run because of the flag, killing off a promising drive.) Regardless, the Cards won and no one dipped into his wallet.
— But the better part was the arrival of Sendlein’s first kid, a son that was born early in the week so Sendlein didn’t even have to miss practice.
“My wife is awesome, a great wife and mother,” Sendlein said. “She might let me sleep in the guest room until the season is over.”
She has to be better than that, though, after letting Sendein go with the name Crew Jack Sendlein for his newborn. Crew? Sendlein was asked where that came from.
“Well, I like the movie ‘Rad,’ ” Sendlein said, referring to a BMX racing bike movie from 1986. The main character was named Cru Jones. “It’s spelled a little different.”
— Bruce Arians was asked this week if he had ever this year drawn up any plays for cornerback Patrick Peterson on offense. The answer was no.
“(Expletive),” Arians said, “I can’t even get Jaron Brown in the game.”
True enough. After a big preseason, Brown has been a pick-and-choose guy, although he got his first touchdown catch against the Cowboys. “I wasn’t dropping that one,” Brown said, not after he was wide open for touchdown bombs twice this season, only to have the QB miss him.
Brown, however, only got so many opportunities in college at Clemson with a loaded roster. This isn’t new.
“I’ve been patient before, dealt with the same thing,” Brown said. “We were winning too, which always helps. I know my role. Hopefully it sets me up for down the road.”
At least he knows who is quarterback is going to be.
Tags: Bruce Arians, Carson Palmer, Jaron Brown, Lyle Sendlein, Rams, Steve Keim, Todd Bowles, Tyrann Mathieu
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