This is why — tangibly — you need to keep Carson Palmer healthy.
In his last 16 starts, Palmer is 14-2 with the Cardinals. Sure, that number dates back to 2013, since Palmer missed more than half the season last year with injuries. And admittedly, talking about win-loss record with a starting quarterback is a slippery slope, since so many things go into a win (and it’s used as a crutch for too many poor players, like a certain lefty that’s not in the league but his mass of supporters insist he should be because he’s a “winner.” But I digress.)
What’s more important about the win-loss record on its face is its correlation to how the offense has come along. That 16-game stretch began with Week 8 of the 2013 season — not coincidentally about when the offense began to find itself after a bumpy first half of Bruce Arians’ first season. In those 16 starts, Palmer has completed 361 of 562 passes (64.2%) for 4,466 yards, 30 touchdowns, only 12 interceptions and a 97.6 passer rating.
He’s also the first Cardinal since Jim Hart in 1974 to win seven straight starts.
“It’s hard to find winning quarterbacks,” Arians said. “He’s an elite player. … Drew Stanton is a hell of a player, but he’s not Carson.”
The rapport Palmer has with the receivers has clearly improved. He and Fitz seemed to finally be on the same page offensively last season, messed up only by injuries, and you could see their chemistry against the Saints. The Palmer-Smokey Brown connection has been well-documented. And now the tight end is even in play.
Palmer was the first Cardinal since Kurt Warner in 2008 to throw for 300 yards, three TDs and no interceptions in a game, perhaps more impressive given how quietly such a game came about. Sure, it took the late 55-yard TD swing pass to David Johnson to hit those marks, but that’s just another instance of the comfort in the offense, and executing perfectly a gutsy call given the situation.
Tags: Carson Palmer, Jim Hart
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