Palmer still ranks as good fit for Cards

Posted by Darren Urban on July 7, 2014 – 1:07 pm

Rankings in the NFL are what this time of year is all about, with outlets looking for content and there being almost no real football news happening. So I came across this latest analysis piece by Mike Sando about the starting quarterbacks across the league, and noticed that Carson Palmer — through a system ranked by scouts, GMs and coaches — was tied for 21st among starters in the NFL’s “third-tier” of QBs.

You can debate this all you want. Obviously Palmer isn’t considered among the top QBs in the game anymore. That’s understandable. (Interestingly enough, he tied with Rams QB Sam Bradford on the list, who has questions about him for different reasons.) It’s fair to wonder about what Palmer can still bring to the table, although after watching he and the Cardinals wind their way through the first year in Bruce Arians’ offense, I think the hiccups he had last year can be explained — and improved upon.

As the season progressed (and as noted in the article), Palmer’s production rose (10 TD, 14 INT in the first eight games, 14-8 in the second eight — and that included the brutal 1-4 day during the big win in Seattle, that included Palmer’s clutch game-winning TD toss to Michael Floyd). That came as the offensive players all started to understand the playbook better and as Arians began to understand his chess pieces a little bit better.

I think it is noteworthy too how much Palmer stressed the comfort level for everyone in the offense now. In the year I have known him, he is mostly low-key in all his comments but when it comes to talking about the offense, he isn’t prone to hyperbole. He was very cautious last offseason about where the team was, and those brakes were not nearly applied as much this offseason. He also should have a better offensive line, especially at left tackle. That too will matter.

At his age and with what he has done, he’s not going to climb lists such as Sando’s. He is not the long-term guy for the Cardinals either, and everyone knows that too. But one last thing caught the eye in Sando’s Palmer write-up and it was a comment from a veteran player (although rankings did not include players’ thoughts). ” He is a tough guy,” an anonymous safety said. “I respect his game and his work ethic.” I think that feeling pervades the Cardinals’ locker room. I think Palmer is exactly the kind of leader the team needed at QB — and it’s the kind of leader you cannot be unless your teammates believe in you in the first place.

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27 Responses to “Palmer still ranks as good fit for Cards”

  1. By Eric G on Jul 7, 2014 | Reply

    All those rankings are nothing more than opinions. As everyone knows, opinions are like you know what, everyone has one and some are just crappier than others.

    I don’t really care what experts think of how good a quarterback is or what he ranks, I only care that he is the best player we could get and the right fit for the system. Palmer certainly fits that mold. He was the best QB we could get last year and there was no QB to draft to replace him. Thus, we have the best available option at QB. I’m looking forward to this season. Let’s go Cardinals!

  2. By Andy Kw on Jul 7, 2014 | Reply

    -I am excited to see Carson Palmer at his best!!!! With him having a full understanding of the playbook and with Floyd+Fitzgerald on the same page as him, the sky is the limit for the Cardinals.
    -Andre Ellington now has the chance to breakout. He will most likely have a similar workload but with probably 5-6 more carries per game. He will have Jamaal Charles like production. Stepfan Taylor impressed me a lot last season and I really thought he was capable of being our future starting RB. He can pound through the OL and I think he will be one of the best backup RBs in the league. He will get many chances to reach the endzone. The team won’t risk Ellington through the OL when they have a workhorse that is built to nab extra yardage. Jonathan Dwyer is a nice backup if the team ever needs him.
    -We have one of the best possession receivers in the NFL in Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd. Floyd reminds me of a younger Larry Fitzgerald. We now have speed in veteran WR Ted Ginn Jr and 3rd Round Rookie WR John Brown. Both can contribute in energizing the Kick and Punt Returns which lacked explosiveness in the 2013 NFL Season. TE Depth is probably the most impressive.
    -I am excited in seeing the returns of John Abraham and Matt Shaughnessy. Marcus Benard was a surprise last year and I cannot wait to see him dominate again. Sam Acho, Alex Okafor, and Lorenzo Alexander return from injury so depth is not much of a problem at Outside Linebacker positions. With Kareem Martin’s ability to play at OLB or DE, he is a rookie force waiting to impress on the field.
    -Ernie Sims a possible breakout candidate to shed his bust label. I think Larry Foote is a nice veteran and Kevin Minter now has the chance to prove himself. I am worried about this position but I am not going to doubt anything. Who cares if Washington and Dansby are gone, we still have a top 10 defense with or without them. DBs are obviously are strength. Cromartie and Peterson all the way.

  3. By Sean on Jul 7, 2014 | Reply

    I believe if the O-line holds up, & after seeing how he performed during the 2nd half of last year, Palmer will prove that he is a top 5-7 rated QB this year, making these critics look foolish. And for all this talk that he’s not the long term answer, he can still go for another 4-6yrs….but everyone acts like he’s only got a year or 2 left in him, but Peyton can play til’ 40?? If Peyton can play until 40, Carson physically can easily get there, if he, & the coaching staff desire it. As Peyton is no physical specimen & could not take nearly the beating that Palmer has endured. BTW, I’m not knocking Manning, I don’t believe he has the build to take the beatings Carson has.

  4. By Dynosoar on Jul 7, 2014 | Reply

    Andy KW,

    I enjoyed your analysis and agree. This will be a very enjoyable season. I can’t wait to see Cromartie and Peterson in tandem.

  5. By Jerry on Jul 7, 2014 | Reply

    With the upgrade of the offensive line, I expect this to be Palmers best year and I’m looking forward to seeing him play at full force.

  6. By Section 113 on Jul 7, 2014 | Reply

    Palmer also had 4 of his 8 second half of the season interceptions, in that December 22nd game in Seattle. His last throw made up for all of them, but that means he had 4 interceptions spread out through the other 7 second half of the season games. Peyton Manning had 2 interceptions in the Super Bowl, that’s a good team, NFC West is a tough division. Palmers biggest flaw was interceptions last year, especially the beginning of the season, Career year for Palmer.

  7. By rod on Jul 7, 2014 | Reply

    Let’s go already!!!!!

  8. By BigAl on Jul 7, 2014 | Reply

    By Andy Kw & By Sean
    Got to say I like yer takes! You both took the thoughts right out of my if my head!
    So where are we? Lets see…less than 20 days to Real Camp! Can’t Wait!
    Go Big Red!

  9. By Scott H on Jul 7, 2014 | Reply

    I firmly believe Palmer should be ranked higher than the high end of the bottom third of QB’s in the league right now. You take what he did over the 2nd half of the season last year and project that over a full season and he easily lands right around the middle of the pack. With the weapons the Cards have going into this season….an O-line that could be among the better lines in the league with its best players healthy….more balance from the running game….and a defense that should help all of the above….and Palmer could have one helluva season.

    That said, it’s games like the one he had in Seattle late last season ( 4 INT’s and the team winning in spite of him ) that keep people leary of Palmer. And that perception will linger until he continues to have games like that. And I would have to say that is fair.

  10. By cards4sb on Jul 7, 2014 | Reply

    Palmer has never had the talent on the entire roster he has now. After all these years his potential can be fully realized with this team. This is far and away the best WR crew he has ever played with…I feel it in my bones and every fathom of my being that in all the years (26) I have been a Cardinals fan this WILL be the best team this orginization has assembled.

    BTW. The NFL Network replayed our Super Bowl not long ago and I watched it up until Larry Fitzgerald put the Cards in the lead. After that I wouldn’t have been able to stomach it again. But, all I could see and it was very noticeable, was how much better last years team was than that team. 2014 has the potential for greatness!!!!

  11. By CreditCard on Jul 7, 2014 | Reply

    The O-line is still a big question. This year, the players on the line appear to have the ability to make our line something special. Hopefully they can coordinate their efforts during training camp and preseason. If the O-Line comes through, Palmer very well might have a comeback player of the year type year or even be a MVP candidate. Palmer has that type of talent if the horses in front of him can open running lanes and keep pass rushing specialist off his back.

  12. By mal on Jul 7, 2014 | Reply

    The so-called “experts” are full of crap.

    They probably had Kurt Warner ranked about as low as Palmer when Kurt came in as our back-up, and all he did was take us to within 2 minutes of winning the frikkin’ Super Bowl.

    Palmer could do the same thing, and prove them all wrong.

    And I agree with Sean — enough with the endless “QB of the future” loop. Palmer is only 34, not 38. If Carson starts taking us to the playoffs every year, he could be our QB for many years to come.

    If Palmer plays til he’s 38, then our “QB of the future” might still be in high school. Let’s enjoy what we’ve got right now — FINALLY a real QB again, one who can lead and win.

  13. By Cody Zarr on Jul 8, 2014 | Reply

    Mr. Palmer got his butt kicked up and down the field by 300+ lb lineman all year in ’13. If we can keep him off his back he will perform. End of “rankings” story.

  14. By Scott H on Jul 8, 2014 | Reply

    Section 113 –

    You can say that his last throw made up for the 4 INT’s he threw in that Dec game against Seattle, but….his 4 INT’s were the only thing that kept that game as close as it was. Seattle’s offense was not able to do anything against our D that day. If the Cards put up a few more scores on some of those drives that were snuffed out by Palmer’s INT’s….they don’t need a late TD pass to win that one. No joke, they could have and SHOULD HAVE won that game by double digits. That’s why I say that – despite a beautiful throw on the TD pass to Floyd – the Cards won that game despite Palmer.

  15. By Dr. G. on Jul 9, 2014 | Reply

    Palmer appears to be clutch when things are going well; I have not observed him pointing fingers accusingly, just instructional. He possesses stoic confidence. Not all the picks were on him, but they appear on HIS stats! I have some minor concerns on errant routes with the new guys this year until they all mesh.

    But, sometimes I think Palmer has tendencies to be concerned with more than what is in front of him…forcing at times. I am hopeful this can be placed behind him this year. This worrisome trek took him out against Seattle with 4 picks late last season…2 games ago. But now, we have a real O-line with Veldheer on the blind side.

    It has been my rally cry to improve the QB position almost yearly – and I am optimistic for Thomas to show something. He has tools only few possess, but they need some serious honing. And we have the right QB coaches to groom him under Palmer for a time. I’m praying that Palmer stays healthy….though he is one of the toughest in the NFL… We do not need the QB carousel again. I became a Palmer fan mostly because is appears to be considerate, and a man of good character even grown children can admire…!! Be well Cards Fans….

  16. By Dr. G. on Jul 9, 2014 | Reply

    Dyno, you write of the CB’s. We have a sleeper no more in Bethel. I’m thinking he may develop to be one of our 2 best. He is not a potential dark horse any longer – I would like to see him challenge PP in some drills…esp…speed. Cromartie will hold his own is he stays healthy…

    PP needs to face reality and quit wearing a shirt with a big $$ on it. I would like to counsel him on personal growth. He is a favorite and I want him to stay that way by keeping his ego and the business side of things mute and invisible. He can’t go anywhere for 2 or 3 years… Keim will act appropriately… Good note from you…

  17. By BigAl on Jul 10, 2014 | Reply

    By cards4sb
    “Palmer has never had the talent on the entire roster he has now. After all these years his potential can be fully realized with this team. This is far and away the best WR crew he has ever played with…”

    WOW! cards4sb
    I do honestly love your comment & I hope u r right! However, I’m challenging your comment because I’ve been comparing it myself…I mean I wasn’t really watching Cinci 10 years ago butt Carson & a few players woke our ears up abit… Hate to say it but if yer a FF guy like me, Chad Johnson was putting up some huge #’s back in the day & we all saw the T J whoseayourmomma…espn commmercials….
    I believe I’m goin back 7-9 years…I think Carson came out a year b4 Larry soo….
    Is this WR core better than, Chad, TJ & ?…& TE…as I said I never really followed
    Cinci…have no idea who their OC was then? Help? Did Carson play w/the original Beast Mode, Corey Dillon? Carson’s FF #’s back then were not far off of one Peyton Manning/Tom Brady…FF
    Regarding Cardinals….Where I am happiest is the upgrade from last year to this is at the TE position…
    When I first read about BA’s style of offense last year, I got to say I was flabbergasted! Two TE’s…& no fullback, are you kidding me? Have you seen our TE’S??? That was a year ago & I got to say I was amazed by what was accomplished last year on the field!!! Last year I felt we had the weakest TE group in all of football! This year I feel we enter the season with a top ten TE group! Time for Housler to step it up! This was my biggest question last year after the O line…it shows me that BA & Keim are working truly in tandem! Can’t wait to see a healthy Niklas perform!

  18. By Scott on Jul 10, 2014 | Reply

    #21, i can’t think of 5 qb’s better than him.

  19. By Dr. G. on Jul 10, 2014 | Reply

    Eric G.

    Palmer was not the only decent QB available last year… a minor correction here.

    It is water under the bridge at this point, but the Cards may have been able to get Alex Smith if they had acted quickly. KC got a very good QB there and are prepared to franchise him. Smith has it all – higher TD’s / INT’s ratio, and he ran for 431 yds mostly to avoid sacks…. He was my pick, but we have to run with Palmer – if he is protected, he can succeed until the protege comes forth, but he is not the longer-term solution. But….2014 should be a fun year! .. Be well…

  20. By Scott H on Jul 10, 2014 | Reply

    Dr, G. –

    I had my eye on Alex Smith at the time he was still available as well. Between Palmer and him, I don’t know that there was a wrong choice, nor do I think there was a bad choice. But I will say that right now, today, I would NOT say we should have gone for Smith. I like Palmer’s big arm because we have the weapons to get down the field and make the big plays that Arians likes.

    Also, consider what may have been a HUGE factor in how the Cardinals chose to play this – Smith was going to require more in a trade at the time than Palmer was. Maybe not a TON more, but after the Cardinals got burned by the Kevin Kolb trade….do I need to finish that sentence?

    The Cards probably knew they could get Palmer for less AND for all we know, maybe they actually wanted him more. Given how it all looks right now, I say they did the right thing.

    Will certainly be interesting to see what happens after this season. If Palmer plays well and the team makes the playoffs, they pretty much HAVE TO keep him…don’t they? Heck, this team could have double digit wins and STILL not make the playoffs. Yet if Palmer is over 4000 yards, improves the TD – to – INT ratio considerably and was clearly effective running the offense, I think they have to bring him back. This could be THE last chance Palmer will have to have leverage at the bargaining table, so…he should certainly be motivated to play well this year. And a good season for Palmer should be a good season for the Cardinals, so….go get ’em, Carson!

    Geez, then again….do we need another looming big contract situation to worry about?

  21. By Dr. G. on Jul 11, 2014 | Reply

    Scott H – All you say is true including the impending possible $$$ problem with Palmer. As for Smith, if memory serves, KC got a sweet deal trade for him very early in 2013. If Reid had come to Arizona, Smith would be here too. That all happened too quickly for Bidwell. Had he not been injured, Kaepernick would probably still be the 49’ers back-up. He was the best pro-bowler! Just history here…

    Some statistics::
    – Palmer is nearly 5 years older that Smith. That’s a biggie.
    – Smith is an athlete playing QB and can scat occasionally on a broken play.
    – Palmer is only a pocket QB and needs constant protection.
    – Palmer though is about 20 lbs an 1″ bigger. ((Durability))
    – Smith had 6 different OC’s in 6 seasons! His family wanted OUT!
    – Comparing durability with injuries, Smith can be a little worrisome.
    – Veldheer will make Palmer calmer and I hope more effective. ((INT’s))

    The case can be made for either man, but we have Palmer, and we have to take him to the dances this year. I am looking forward to a “cooler head” behind center with an improved O-Line. Remember, no such thing as rebuilding, just revamping. I am excited for this team…. Interested to see Thomas in pre-season. NO INJURIES……Be well….

    I just created a new moniker – CALMER PALMER!

  22. By BigAl on Jul 12, 2014 | Reply

    By Dr. G. & By Scott H
    Loving this discussion/debate!…OK! Lets crank up what you got Cards fans!!! I too was liking the “either or” thoughts on A. Smith vs C. Palmer…strange as it seems I had them both as my back-up QB’s that previous season in Fantasy… Smith getting hurt in week 10 just b4 the Monday night game vs The Chicago Bears! I vividly remember Colin Kapernick solidifying his legitimacy that night!

    And yes I’ve always felt for Smith…what having played his entire college career
    out of the shot gun never taking a snap from under center…(I always thought he was so much better playing out of the shot-gun even in the pros.) having had 6 different OC ‘s in each of his first 6 seasons…being the first player chosen in the 2005 draft & then Aaron Rogers proving himself after waiting 3 years behind Farve….A lot of pressure for one Alex Smith to have had to overcome! Liked your facts Dr.G…

    Carson also a #1 selection…used to feel bad for him playing in Cinci 10 years ago
    & having to baby sit Chad Johnson! Imagine if 10years ago Larry had been chosen by draft/trade/swap whatever…(its hypothetical) imagine Larry in place of Chad for all those years & w/TJH or Aquan… what would the #’s have been like??? Think about that for a minute…I’ll tell you this much…Carson would never
    have left Cinci!!! Can you say Warneresque?

    Going back yes, KC. moved on Andy Reid quickly…but I got to tell you I was hoping for B.A. all along!!! Either him or Mike McCoy…

    So if you just go by B.A. scheme…Carson is the right guy! Alex Smith is a great protector of the ball however, he seldom challenges Defenses deep…Carson has NO FEAR!!!
    And if my memory serves me correctly??? Chime in anyone who knows better?
    We gave up, I believe it was even a supplemental 7th Rnd draft pick, to a non division team…to acquire Carson! (Bargain)! Whereas, I believe KC gave up a 2nd Rnd pick in 2013 & a 4th Rnd pick to SF (our nemesis!) in 2014 draft!!! That hurt us! Did you see how many picks SF had this year???

    Therefore, Carson was not only a bargain…he was the right pick! And yes we don’t know if Logan Thomas can be the future or not… but I believe we finally have a gifted true prospect! (That’s a first in 8 years since D.Green).
    And one last thing to consider…Carson Palmer is currently 2 years younger than
    Kurt Warner was… when he got on a roll with us!!!

    Sorry so long winded! My hope was to get it all out there…since this came up…
    & try to provoke some debate on the subject…as we are today, just 2 weeks away
    from the first day of Training Camp!!! Yeah! Can’t Wait! Thanks!

  23. By BigAl on Jul 12, 2014 | Reply

    Sorry folks correction on the KC/SF trade of Alex Smith…it originally was a 2013
    2nd Rnd draft pick along w/a 2014 conditional pick based on whether or not KC won 8 games or more in 2013 w/Alex Smith…They did, so that pick became an additional 2nd Rnd pick in 2014!!!

    Not sure I’d call that a sweet deal from a Cards or a KC standpoint!!! Dr G.!

    I know this…No way Cards fans would be happy giving up two…2nd Rnd picks to San Fran! For Alex Smith??? In division! NO WAY!!!

    We got the better deal by Farve! Oh, ah, I mean Carson!

  24. By Scott H on Jul 13, 2014 | Reply

    BigAl –

    Welcome to the discussion!

    Dr,G. –

    Ya know, bringing Andy Reid into the discussion makes it even more interesting…and I will tell you I wanted NO PART of Andy Reid as a HC here in Arizona. I repeat, NO PART. I was filled with absolute dread when it appeared he was headed here ( per the media ) and could NOT have been more grateful to the Chiefs when they swooped in and re-routed him to the mid west. I am SOOOOO much happier with Bruce Arians and I am confident the Cardinals will ultimately get better results from him.

    The national media has always been in love with Andy Reid and many of them felt the Eagles made a HUGE mistake letting him go. The national media was always taken with his resume. And, really, why wouldn’t they be? His resume is pretty impressive. OK. So….why were so may Eagle fans SOOO ready to be done with Andy Reid – many of them a few years before he actually left? Because Reid is as stubborn as they come, he has an arrogance about him that I ( strictly as an observer living in Eagles country ) saw VERY clearly, and he just did not know how to win the big games. I cite his record in NFC ttile games, most of which had the Eagles as a favorite to win. Could go on, but…whatever. He went somewhere else and I am glad.

    Carson Palmer came here, and I am glad! I’ll take the Palmer / Arians combo over the Smith / Reid combo any day. And that has much more to do with my thoughts about these coaches than these QB’s. But bottom line, I think Palmer’s big arm is definitely better-suited for BA’s offense.

    Geez, already mid-July! Football is almost here! Beautiful thing.

  25. By Dr. G. on Jul 14, 2014 | Reply

    Gentlemen – Just a side note response to the Warner reference…When he player for the Cards, he had a lot less wear and tear on him – I felt he was a bit younger in football years that his actual age…. And zero partying! Warner played in 124 NFL games in 12 years – Palmer has 138 games in 11 years. ((The Palmer comparison needs some considerations of such)) ((I don’t discount 3 years in the Arena League, but it is kind to QB’s when compared to the Brutality of the NFL. Sacks are few.))

    And, until the cowardly Saints’ Bobby McCray put a bounty hit on him that made him realize football is only part of one’s life, he may have played another year or two…!

    Back to Smith – The 49’ers did indeed turn the two picks from the trade into a very good draft, but from the Smith perspective, ask yourself this question:: If you are guaranteed 11 wins NOW, would you do it? 20-20 hindsight of course… 4 of their losses were 2 each to the Broncos and Chargers… The 49’ers KNEW Smith could win at least 8 games ((the 2nd pick))!! The issue of avoiding at all costs trading within your own division/conference? Sometimes it can be prove necessary. But I get your point of not helping their cause… Caution is the path taken there… But for a 2nd rounder, and an iffy pick, I would have yanked the bell-tower rope.

    Bottom line for me? It’s called Veldheer! IT IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR PALMER NOT TO HAVE BETTER NUMBERS NOW THAT HE CAN HAVE SOME BACK SIDE COVERAGE ASSURANCE. I hope this translates into the 11, maybe 12 wins probably needed for the 2nd season.

    I am not the fan who thinks #58 is everything…I won’t use the name here…just frustrated here at the idiocy that comes despite all the baby sitting in class. So, yeah, I am confident the DEFENSE will prove adequate to hang with the best of them. And with obvious efforts to improve our OFFENSE, we are putting the league on notice that we are bringing our A-game!

    Yeah, long like yours, but you men are speed readers, huh? Be well….

  26. By Dr. G. on Jul 14, 2014 | Reply

    Oh… for got one item. To clarify, I am not a Reid fan; I was tying him to the Smith contract. His deal with KC was to go after Smith if I recall correctly.

    Very happy with BA, and really give props to Keim for his personnel wisdom…

    In Palmer ((Don Quixote)) I trust… but I still want to see the Sancho Panza ((Thomas)) develop… later…

  27. By BigAl on Jul 14, 2014 | Reply

    By Scott H
    Thanks a lot Scott!
    So you reside near Phili? Hm, strange? I mean throughout this discussion & some others…its amazing how we think alike! No man crush tho…Ha!

    I too was dreading A.Reid coming here with all the media hype etc…not because
    I didn’t like or respect him…in fact going back 5 or more years I used to argue in
    support of him & Donovan McNabb. But there was something about him in 2012, he seemed like a Zombie on the sidelines…That was the year his son died of an O.D. tragic!!! It was also the year… didn’t he entrust to switch his offensive line coach to become the D.Coorinator to start that season? Then if I remember correctly brought our guy Todd Bowles in like week 9 after the bye week? Like he was supposed to fix a terrible defense that late on? Does this ring a bell???
    I honestly thought A.Reid had lost it! Sad I know, but I didn’t want NO PART! of that either! We were already in a bad way here @ QB & O-Line in particular…

    And yes, I too saw A.Reid as arrogant! In fact, I will take that a step further…Many
    of the offensive coaches from the tree of the Great Bill Walsh who went on to become HC’s came off to me as arrogant…Holmgren, Shanahan, Reid, Gruden, even Denny Green had a certain aura about him! Granted 4 SB Wins & I believe 8 SB appearances among them…still came off as arrogant to me. Just sayin! & Agreein w/Scott…

    And finally Palmer’s arm & style is much better suited to B.A,’s scheme!
    Thanks AL

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