The numbers are stark, presented by ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski as he unveiled his rankings of the starting quarterbacks in the NFL. He placed Carson Palmer 23rd in the 32-team league — more on that in a bit — but also talked about some numbers Palmer worked through last season while playing for the Raiders. During Oakland’s 4-12 season, Palmer threw 565 passes in 15 games, with 73 percent of those passes coming when the Raiders were trailing in the game. An astonishing 70 percent came when the Raiders were down by at least seven points.
You can read that a couple of ways. You can read it that Palmer threw for more than 4,000 yards (4,018, to be exact) only because he was throwing all the time. Then again, to come up with 22 TD passes and only 14 interceptions on that many passes — when the majority of the time the other team knew he was going to throw — probably should count for something. Certainly the numbers are much better than what was posted in Arizona behind center last season.
Being ranked 23rd doesn’t exactly engender Pro Bowl hopes here. But here is a sampling of what Jaworski said during his ESPN appearance talking about the new Cards’ QB and it was pretty positive:
“I thought the Cardinals’ trade for Palmer was an excellent move,” Jaworski said. “He will stabilize the Arizona offense and work effectively with new head coach Bruce Arians.
“There’s a disconnect between perception and reality with Palmer. Many think he throws too many interceptions. He only threw 14 last season in 591 drop-backs. A few are dramatic and memorable; those stick out in people’s minds, shaping an image that’s hard to get rid of. … Palmer still has very good arm strength. He has the mentality of a strong-armed passer, willing and confident in pushing the ball down the field. … Palmer can still make those kinds of throws. That ability will fit well in Arians’ aggressive, downfield passing game.
“Palmer will allow the Cardinals’ offense to attack the entire field. He gives Arizona a multi-dimensional passing game. He reads coverage well. He can beat the blitz. He’s efficient in the red zone. He can execute a high volume of offense. I have always liked Palmer. The major concern in Arizona is the offensive line. Palmer is a pocket passer with excellent arm talent, but he needs time and functional space. That’s the unknown as we head into the 2013 season.”
Palmer continues to work with the wideouts as camp approaches. The Cardinals’ defense, meanwhile, should be good enough to make sure Palmer isn’t working from behind quite as often this season.
Tags: Carson Palmer, ESPN, Ron Jaworski
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