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  • Sun., Nov. 30, 2014 2:05 PM MST Cardinals at Falcons Week 13 of the regular season at the Falcons
  • Sun., Dec. 07, 2014 2:05 PM MST Cardinals vs. Chiefs Week 14 of the regular season vs. the Chiefs
  • Thu., Dec. 11, 2014 6:25 PM MST Cardinals at Rams Week 15 of the regular season at the Rams
  • Sun., Dec. 21, 2014 6:30 PM MST Cardinals vs. Seahawks Week 16 of the regular season vs. the Seahawks
  • Sun., Dec. 28, 2014 2:25 PM MST Cardinals at 49ers Week 17 of the regular season at the 49ers

Blogs

Watching Wilson and Friday before the Seahawks

Posted by Darren Urban on November 21, 2014 – 3:52 pm

When the Cardinals beat the Seahawks last season, they took a quarterback who at times had looked like an MVP candidate with his efficiency and made him look very, very bad. Russell Wilson’s stats that day: 11-for-27, 108 yards, one touchdown, one interception. More importantly, he had just two rushing attempts (for 32 yards, including one outlier 27-yard scramble).

There aren’t many quarterbacks who throw on the run as well as Wilson. Aaron Rodgers, maybe, but his is a different style. With Wilson there is the constant fear he will take off. And he’s done that a lot this season – already Wilson has rushed for at least 100 yards in three different games – or triple the amount he had in his first two seasons.

The Cardinals would love to make sure Wilson has the same kind of game Sunday as he had against the Cards last year, but “I don’t think there is a blueprint,” defensive coordinator Todd Bowles said. “It’s catch ’em if you can.”

The top priority will be to slow Marshawn Lynch, because it always is. The Seahawks, without any real dynamic receivers, don’t have a scary passing game. If there is a way to slow Lynch and not let Wilson go off on broken plays, the Cardinals will have gone a long way toward winning another one in the Pacific Northwest.

– A player to watch in this regard: Rookie Deone Bucannon, the safety who is playing linebacker in in nickel and who has essentially replaced Wilson antidote Daryl Washington this season.

– This game, even if the Cardinals win, does not clinch the NFC West. But it goes a long way in doing so, as long as there isn’t an epic collapse down the stretch. And teams that win in Seattle and are 9-1 before that don’t collapse. A loss, and things could get interesting, especially with another game left to play with the Seahawks. The tough games do not end yet.

– As I mentioned, my gut here on a Friday is that Larry Fitzgerald doesn’t play, and as I mentioned, I’ve been wrong on Fitz before. It’s hard not to remember the obvious confidence OC Harold Goodwin showed in the rest of the receiving corps though. They want Fitz to play, of course. But if Jaron Brown and John Brown and Michael Floyd are the top three guys, the Cardinals can live with that. They are better suited to survive a short-term injury at receiver perhaps more than anywhere else.

– The Cards have to find a way to run the ball with some success, and it can’t be all Andre Ellington, Rashard Mendenhall had 21 carries in the Seahawks game in Seattle last year, Ellington 15 as the Cards had the most rushing attempts in a game in more than a decade. Yes, it was Jamaal Charles, but the Chiefs were able to run a lot and well against the Seahawks last week. Ellington plus, Step Taylor? Marion Grice? They just need to give Drew Stanton a chance.

– Stanton needs to be smart, but the Cards can’t be too cautious either. So far, the Cardinals, with Stanton, have moved the ball immediately in all his starts. It speaks to the Arians/Goodwin plans, and how much Stanton understands the offense. They just have to have it carry through the game.

– Great note pointed out to me on Twitter by @DylanCarey11. Stanton will be the sixth different starter at quarterback the Cardinals have used in Seattle the last six trips there:

2014 – Stanton
2013 – Palmer
2012 – John Skelton
2011 – Kevin Kolb
2010 – Max Hall
2009 – Kurt Warner

– As an additional note to that, the Cardinals will have used eight QBs in those six games, because Ryan Lindley played in relief of Skelton in 2012 and Derek Anderson came in for Hall in 2010. Neither time it was injury related. Just bad football.

– If you haven’t seen it, Michael Silver did a great piece on Bruce Arians and his path to Cardinals’ head coach. Some of it goes over familiar territory, but there is some good stuff, like the just-fired Ken Whisenhunt telling Arians good things about the franchise and encouraging Arians to interview for the job.

– There is also this great story by David Fleming covering the family of the donor woman who gave Carson Palmer his original ACL replacement – and the feeling after it gave out against the Rams, sidelining Palmer.

– There is also this story on the rise to GM by Steve Keim. It happens to be my work, so if you haven’t read it, just sayin’ …

– Matt Shaughnessy was back on the field this week for practice for the first time since a knee injury forced him to the IR-designated to return list. He can’t play the next two games, but he will be back for the Dec. 7 game against the Chiefs. Arians wasn’t definitive in how Shaughnessy will fit in the lineup; Shaughnessy’s replacement, Alex Okafor, is playing the best of the outside linebackers. Could it be Shaughnessy and Okafor, with Sam Acho as a reserve? Possible. Arians said he wants to see where Shaughnessy is first; there’s going to be rust that must be knocked off.

– Last year at the end of the Seahawks’ upset, a handful of defensive linemen had a snack of Skittles on the sidelines in the waning moments. Skittles, for the uninitiated, are famously the favorite treat of Lynch. There won’t be any this year, alledgedly.

“Naw,” defensive tackle Dan Williams said. “I got to cut back on calories.”

– Last year, the win in Seattle was the Cards’ 10th win of the season. Can they do that two years in a row?

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Deep shots are part of Stanton DNA

Posted by Darren Urban on November 20, 2014 – 4:25 pm

When Carson Palmer was lost for the season, Bruce Arians — who often talked about how well Palmer threw the deep pass — was asked how that part of the offense might change with Drew Stanton at quarterback.

“It really doesn’t,” Arians said. “That’s the beauty of that pass that he threw in that ball game (against the Rams) under duress. We’re not really going to lose that part of it. Carson was, and is, amazing at it, at dropping it in the bucket, but we can still go downtown and we still have that threat in our offense.”

In a lot of ways, Stanton might even fit the bill better as someone who will take deep shots. Stanton has thrown 125 passes this season, and already 28 of them have been launched at least 20 yards downfield (22.4 percent), according to profootballfocus.com. Palmer threw 31 passes at least 20 yards, but it was among 224 attempts (13.8 percent). Palmer completed 11 of those for 371 yards; Stanton has completed 10 of the deep balls for 325 yards.

Stanton’s average depth of target, according to PFF, is 12.9 yards downfield. He found John Brown and Michael Floyd for deep TDs the last two games and often seeks the play downfield.

It’ll be interesting to see how that plays out Sunday in Seattle — where it took a 31-yard TD bomb from Palmer to Floyd to win last year.

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Surgery for Palmer step one in comeback

Posted by Darren Urban on November 18, 2014 – 9:53 am

The journey has a long way to go, but Carson Palmer took the first step toward coming back in 2015 by undergoing surgery Tuesday morning to repair his ACL. Palmer figures to be around the team a lot post-surgery. I wouldn’t think he’d make the trip to Seattle this weekend and Atlanta might be a little quick too, but at some point it makes sense that Palmer — like Darnell Dockett — would accompany the team to games home and away.

UPDATE: The surgery, performed by team doctors Gary Waslewski and Doug Freedberg, went “extremely well” in a statement released by the team.

It was interesting to note last week that while Palmer was waiting to have surgery, he not only was around the team facility every day, but during practice, he was in the weight room, still working out the body parts he could with strength and conditioning coach Buddy Morris. After surgery, he’ll progress the best he can. Dockett has been walking around normally for weeks now after August surgery. Palmer, who understood he faces a long road back, sounded mentally prepared — especially since he dealt with a more grueling rehab back in 2006 when he tore multiple knee ligaments. This time, everyone believes it was just the ACL (although there is always a chance they will find something extra during surgery) so rehab should be a little easier. A little.

“I know one thing and that’s to work hard and grind and get after it, and this won’t be as intense because my knee was locked out for the first six weeks after that surgery,” Palmer said last week. “This surgery, right after surgery you’re supposed to get range of motion back right away and work for that. I’m mentally prepared, I’m mentally strong and I’m going to grind this thing out. I know the mindset you need to take, and that’s the one day at a time thing.

“It’s baby steps and it’s doing calf raises and small, little incremental movements and all these little tedious things that you don’t feel like are doing anything, but you have to do them and you have to do what they tell you to do. You take it one day at a time and I know that and I’m going to grind it out and I’m going to be back, like I said, hopefully by OTAs.”

Even if Palmer comes back at the end of OTAs, that’s early June — or less than seven months. That’s awful quick. But it’s something to shoot for.

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Cardinals bring QB Lindley back

Posted by Darren Urban on November 11, 2014 – 12:28 pm

Carson Palmer was officially put on injured reserve today, ending his season. In his place comes Ryan Lindley, signed back from the Chargers’ practice squad, where he’s been since the Cardinals cut him near the end of the preseason. It makes all the sense in the world. Bruce Arians has talked about the advances Lindley made in his game all last season and into camp, and if it wasn’t for Logan Thomas’ upside, Lindley might’ve stuck around as a third QB.

It makes all the sense in the world. At this point, the Cards want someone that knows the system. Lindley knows it, having played in it for more than a year. He knows the quarterbacks in the room. He’s a smart guy.

Earlier this season, the Cardinals signed Dennis Dixon to the practice squad for a few days before the Washington game, when the statuses of Palmer and Drew Stanton were up in the air. I think the Cards might’ve have grabbed Lindley at the time — except, because he was on the San Diego practice squad, they would’ve had to put him on the active roster and kept him there for at least three weeks. Knowing Palmer and Stanton wouldn’t be down that long, that didn’t make sense. Now that Palmer is out for the season, it does.

What would be interesting will be if something happens to Stanton long-term. I think Thomas is the backup for now. But if the Cards need to go to the bench for a start, would Lindley jump to the head of the line? He’s at least started in this league, and it’s hard to see Thomas being ready for that yet.

– In a related note, Stanton’s pregnant wife gave birth to his daughter, so Stanton has had this week work out nicely — baby on the off day, practice as starter set for Wednesday.

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Palmer done for season after knee injury

Posted by Darren Urban on November 10, 2014 – 1:09 pm

Much more to come on azcardinals.com, but the worst fears of the Cardinals and quarterback Carson Palmer were comfirmed: Palmer indeed tore the ACL in his left knee against the Rams, ending his season. Drew Stanton is now the quarterback going forward, backed up by Logan Thomas and a likely third-stringer. Bruce Arians said the Cards are looking at candidates, but it figures to be someone that knows the system, like a Dennis Dixon or a Ryan Lindley.

It’s a gut-punch to a team having a wonderful season and one to Palmer, who talked about how much fun he is having and how much this hurts him emotionally. He also said, despite just signing a contract extension Friday, he hopes to still be around next year. I’m pretty sure that’s the plan, but Palmer is no dummy. He knows how the NFL works, and how teams do what is best for the franchise. Still, Arians has been talking about Palmer in 2015, so there’s a good reason to think Palmer isn’t going anywhere.

The good news is that the ACL tear is only an ACL tear. It’s not the complete explosion in the left knee that Palmer suffered when he was hurt back in January, 2006. Palmer said doctors have told him the surgery for his current injury has become routine, like setting a bone. Both he and Arians talked about Palmer returning possibly for OTAs next summer. Wouldn’t that be something.

“I’m going to play football again,” Palmer said. “I hope it’s here.”

I’ll have the full story up on the site as soon as possible (and click here for the story). The full Carson Palmer press conference will be posted later this afternoon as well.


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Keim: Waiting on injury, and the offensive line

Posted by Darren Urban on November 10, 2014 – 8:10 am

General Manager Steve Keim didn’t have much of an update on quarterback Carson Palmer this morning during his weekly appearance on the “Doug and Wolf” show on Arizona Sports 98.7. Keim said Palmer will undergo “a number of tests” Monday and the Cardinals should have an update with Palmer’s knee injury later Monday. That Keim didn’t have much to say isn’t surprising, but as I mentioned last night, you hope for the best but plan for the worst.

After a win in which the Cardinals only rushed for 28 yards, though, Keim did have some thoughts on the offensive line. He was blunt: Keim said he thinks one of the “primary reasons” the Cardinals were 8-1 is the play of offensive tackles Jared Veldheer and Bobby Massie. As for the interior — guards Paul Fanaika and Ted Larsen and center Lyle Sendlein — Keim said he has concerns about their consistency.

Bruce Arians was asked after the game, following his talk about how the Cardinals got their “asses whipped” up front leading to a lack of a run game, whether there was a chance guard Jonathan Cooper could get a start against Detroit. Arians answered without hesitation: “None.”

Keim has suggested in recent comments that he thought Cooper could end up playing some, although that belief isn’t held by the coaching staff. And Keim said it’s up to the coaches.

“Anytime you are 8-1 there is a certain chemistry, and a lot of times coaches don’t want to mess with chemistry, which I certainly can’t argue with,” Keim said. “The other thing is, I’m the General Manager. It’s my job to add players to the roster, help pick the players. But I am always going to defer to the coaches when it comes to playing the players. It’s not my job to tell Bruce Arians or Harold Goodwin who to play from a personnel standpoint. That’s a decision those guys have to make, and if those guys think it’s in our best interests to play the two guards we currently have out there right now, that’s what I’m going to go with.”

– As for Drew Stanton, who will step in at QB assuming Palmer is out, Keim talked about the confidence the team has in Stanton. He made the point that, if the Cardinals didn’t think he would be able to step in after seeing him since the beginning of 2013 after Stanton signed, the Cards would have made a move to replace him.


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Rams — and Palmer knee — aftermath

Posted by Darren Urban on November 9, 2014 – 10:53 pm

I remember, when Calais Campbell got hurt in Denver – at the same time Matt Shaughnessy got hurt – and Campbell said something along the lines that he’d eventually be back, Shaughnessy would eventually be back, Carson Palmer (who still wasn’t back) would eventually be back, and it would all be part of this amazing story of the 2014 Cardinals when they made their playoff run.

The Cards can stop adding hurdles they need to overcome.

Carson Palmer will have an MRI Monday on his left knee. We’ll see what happens, but while you hope for the best, you prepare for the worst, and the worst would be losing Palmer for the season. When your team is 8-1 and talking – legitimately – about a possible playoff run, losing a starting quarterback is vicious.

The positive is that Drew Stanton has played well when he’s had to play. He did it again Sunday. But the last time, it was as a placeholder until Palmer came back. What happens if there is no coming back for Palmer?

Lost in it all was the fact Palmer just signed his contract extension Friday, which obviously is seen in a much different light with an injury. That said, all those wondering if the Cardinals re-signed Palmer too quickly? No. Not in my opinion, not unless you are now predicting serious injuries.

The Cardinals made the right move. They were just hit with bad, bad luck.

– Arians had this to say about Palmer’s new contract: “He’s the leader of our franchise right now and it will stay that way.”

– On a short-term note, it’s too bad Palmer got hurt because it overshadowed the job the defense did against the Rams. I keep going back to the thought the Rams had 40 yards rushing on their first-quarter touchdown drive – and just 70 rushing yards total for the game. The defense simply clamped down, and since the Rams had a rookie QB, St. Louis had no chance.

– Yes, Patrick Peterson has figured it out. That pick-6 was unreal – watch carefully how he tipped it to himself, an amazingly athletic play. “For the first time in a long time I felt 100 percent,” Peterson said. “I just got tired of hearing all the criticism, people not knowing the situation.”

– Calais Campbell was a monster Sunday. As well as Peterson played, Campbell was the best guy on defense.

– Campbell had two sacks of the Cardinals’ six in the game. The Cards had just eight sacks in the first eight games.

– The Rams have not had a very good run defense. So it’s a concern the Cardinals could not run against the Rams. At all. The Cardinals had only 28 yards on the ground, and Andre Ellington got a mere 23 yards on 18 carries. That won’t work for many wins going forward, especially if the Cards have to turn to Stanton.

– Larry Fitzgerald was the backbone of the receiving corps, Yes, Smokey Brown made a beautiful  TD catch, but it was Fitz making multiple crucial catches through the first part of the game, and he’s on a solid path for 1,000 yards now.

– Brown probably shouldn’t have been able to catch that TD. A fantastic individual effort. That kid catches key touchdowns, whether it was the game-winner against the Chargers, 49ers, Eagles and now Rams.

– Michael Floyd got off to a good start this season. But man, he has become MIA. He made a nice catch Sunday for a first down and took a hellacious hit. After that, though, he wasn’t involved.

– Ed Stinson is dinged up, with a groin issue and a toe issue, but he dropped an interception with three minutes left that was right in his hands.

– As I wrap this up, I’m watching Tom Jackson and Cris Carter on ESPN talk about the Cardinals. They are talking about the team under the assumption Palmer is lost and Stanton will be the starter from here on. And both said they can still see this team with the ability to make a playoff run.

It says a lot about this team and the impression it has left nine games into the season.

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Friday before the Rams, Palmer extension edition

Posted by Darren Urban on November 7, 2014 – 4:48 pm

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.

– 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.

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Winning in fourth, but clean-up needed

Posted by Darren Urban on November 6, 2014 – 10:30 am

It’s inevitable, really, that most games are going to be close in the NFL. This isn’t college, where little schools can be led to the slaughter by big schools; there is a reason why point spreads are rarely double-digits in the pros even when a strong team takes on a losing team. But the way the Cardinals are winning this year both inspires confidence and can leave outsiders wondering exactly how good the Cardinals are. In the end, if Bruce Arians is hoping his players stay focused week to week and look for that extra motivation, that can only help the cause.

But there is an element of the Cardiac Cards this season. To this, it’s hard to argue.

– The Cardinals score 12 fourth-quarter points in the opener to knock off the Chargers, 18-17.

– The Cardinals score 15 points in the fourth quarter to come back and beat the Giants, 25-14.

– The Cards outscore the Niners, 17-0, in the second half and need a Chandler Catanzaro field goal with 29 seconds left to seal a win, 23-14.

– The Cards outscore the Redskins, 13-7, in the fourth to put away a 30-20 win.

– Smokey Brown’s 75-yard touchdown catch with 1:21 left beats the Eagles, 24-20.

– Two fourth-quarter touchdowns in Dallas puts a 28-17 win out of reach.

What’s funny is that Arians has brought up, consistently, the mantra that the first half has been about “seeing where the game goes” and that the Cardinals will make the halftime adjustments to go out and finish. It’s certainly played out that way. But as quarterback Carson Palmer said, the Cardinals wouldn’t mind playing a little more consistently early so, you know, maybe the second halves don’t have to be quite so hard on the heart.

“We’ve been a second-half team since I’ve been here, as long as I can remember being a Cardinal,” said Palmer (although it’s really not that far back to remember, right?)

“We were a second-half team last year. We were really a second half of a season team last year, obviously, but we’ve been really good in the second half, and it’s good and bad. It’s good because that’s when games are won, but it’s bad because you leave teams hanging in the first half when you don’t go out and execute the way you expect to. From that standpoint, there are a lot of things we can clean up. We started hot and started fast as the season started, but we haven’t started games fast and that’s something we all are looking to improve.”

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Palmer the best on third downs

Posted by Darren Urban on November 5, 2014 – 10:13 am

Against the Cowboys, the Cardinals shouldn’t have even been in a third down situation at one point. Quarterback Carson Palmer found Michael Floyd about eight yards downfield on a pass and it looked like Floyd just had to turn upfield and he’d get the two remaining yards needed for a first. Instead he ran back a few yards, and then he fumbled, forcing the Cards into a third down. No matter. Palmer hit Larry Fitzgerald for a 20-yard gain the next play.

The Cardinals’ offense hasn’t been as consistent as Bruce Arians would like, but one area the quarterback has excelled within is third-down passing. The Cardinals converted 9 of 15 third downs in Dallas, and Palmer’s improvement on third downs is Exhibit A why. Palmer currently is the highest rated quarterback on third downs this season, with a passer rating of 129.5, well above that of No. 2 Tony Romo at 122.5. (Andrew Luck, Ben Roethlisberger and Aaron Rodgers round out the top five.)

Palmer — who has missed three of the Cards’ eight games with his shoulder problem — has completed 42-of-64 third-down passes for 609 yards, eight touchdowns and only one interception.

It’s those last two stats that capture the most attention, and underscore the improvement Palmer has made since last season. In 2013, playing every snap for the Cards, Palmer ended up only 29th in the league in third-down passing, with a passer rating of 77.1. He completed 94-of-163 passes for 1,233 yards, but the other numbers are notable. Last year, Palmer only threw nine touchdowns on third down in 16 games. He also threw nine interceptions.

Obviously, with half a season to go, Palmer can’t afford to slide backward, but he’s been excellent up until this point. The Cardinals were four-of-four in the red zone against the Cowboys, and all four touchdowns came on third down plays. Three were Palmer touchdown passes — only the second time Palmer has thrown three TD passes in a game since coming to Arizona. And his pair of second-quarter TDs showed both sides of Palmer’s abilities on third down.

On a seven-yard touchdown pass to tight end John Carlson, the Cowboys only rushed three and Palmer calmly waited in the pocket until Carlson was able to find a void in the zone coverage. On a 11-yard TD to Jaron Brown, a four-man rush pushed the pocket but Palmer rifled the ball to Brown in between three defenders on a perfectly timed throw. In was third-and-long for both (six needed on the Carlson play, 10 on the Brown play). Palmer made it happen. It’s the kind of third-down production that teams need to win.

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