The necessity of Palmer, by the numbers

Posted by Darren Urban on September 17, 2015 – 9:38 am

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 interceptionsĀ 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.


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16 Responses to “The necessity of Palmer, by the numbers”

  1. By Scott H on Sep 17, 2015 | Reply

    Amazing that Palmer is still pretty easily dismissed by many as old / washed up / can’t play anymore/ etc. Meanwhile, he’s 14-2 in his last 16 starts. And I believe that would be the best record in the NFL among current starting QB’s during their last 16 starts….yes? Can’t think of anyone who has fared better.

    Good lord, if he can just stay healthy for a whole season…..the NFC is ours. Can’t WAIT to play Seattle with Palmer under center.

  2. By Kevin S Mesa on Sep 17, 2015 | Reply

    This is what so many people nationally fail to realize… Palmer’s numbers that first year were pretty bad the first couple months, in particular 13 INT’s in the first 7 games. But in the 9 games after that, during which we went 7-2, Palmer had just one bad game (the Seattle game with 4 INT’s); the other 8 he was 188/281 (66.9%) with 15 TD’s and 5 INT’s. 5 games with a rating over 100 and 3 of the other 4 were between 85 and 93. 6 games last year, rating of 95.6 overall and only one game below 90. And of course last week’s game.

    I don’t know what the overall rating would be exactly but if you sum the last half of 2013 after everyone adjusted to the offense, all of 2014 and last week’s game, you’ve got basically a season of football where (a) the team is winning games, and (b) Palmer’s rating is in the mid-90’s, right there with Luck, Brady, Wilson, Brees,,, and yet when some pundits rank QB’s, Palmer is left out of not only the “elite” group but also the second tier… guys like Ryan and Rivers and Eli and Flacco are all considered better. Why?

  3. By Kevin S Mesa on Sep 17, 2015 | Reply

    Never mind… Darren’s article says right in it what his passer rating works out to be in those 16 games… 97.6. Which for a full season, would have put him 5th in the NFL last year, behind Romo, Rodgers, Big Ben and Manning and AHEAD of Brady, Brees and Luck.

  4. By cards62 on Sep 17, 2015 | Reply

    Lot of good reports this week from Cardinal Writers.
    Agree that Matt Forte will be a great test for our run defense and covering the running back on pass play defense which of course was horrible last week.

    I know this is a road game and an early start, but with our schedule this is one we have to win this season and no reason we should not win.

    Iupati already back at practice is a great sign and wow will it be outstanding if we can have him back for the 49ers or at least the Rams and their very tough front 4.

    Lots of TEs fully practicing and Floyd also is a great sign. Hope our TEs can have 5 or more catches and we can hit the Johnson’s out of the backfield with a few throws.

    Patrick Peterson was not perfect, but I will take 15+ more games just like the Saints game out of him this season and I will be a happy man.

    Hope we can get some pressure on Jay Cutler Sunday with only 4 or 5 rushers and contain Forte and this should get us our second win.

    Go Cards beat Da Bears !

  5. By MXN Cardinal on Sep 17, 2015 | Reply


  6. By D on Sep 17, 2015 | Reply

    Cards WR sets should carve up Chicago’s secondary, who look like they are in disarray right now. J. Allen isn’t the same player as in KC or Minn but he should pose some problems for Watford. I would spy Bucannon on Forte all day long…stop Forte and you stop their Offense.

  7. By John The Draft Guy on Sep 17, 2015 | Reply

    Palmer’s 16 games
    14-2 , 4466 yds , 30 tds, 12 picks, 64% comp , and 98 % QB rating.

    Those numbers are comparable to Luck, Brees, Big Ben, Manning, or Brady.

    Amazing. This guy is elite in this offense , with these weapons, only an injury will stop him from being a top 5 QB.

  8. By georgiebird on Sep 17, 2015 | Reply

    This article is a case in point why the running play by Palmer at the end of the half of game #1 was a scary proposition (if not totally insane).

  9. By Credit Card on Sep 17, 2015 | Reply

    From a fan’s point of view, Carson Palmer is a quiet leader. His leadership, craftsmanship in being perfect, study habits, professionalism all these traits rub off on an entire team. These items plus being a good QB both knowledgeable with a strong arm — should give the entire team a boost in confidence.

  10. By clssylssy on Sep 18, 2015 | Reply

    What cracks me up is how the media down plays how good these “old guys” are because of age! Players like Fitz, Palmer, and Peyton are elite because they work at their craft all the time and have the mentality of champions, collecting through the years, knowledge about the game that no newbie flavor of the week talent may ever have. And, they are humble, preferring to let their performance on the field speak for itself. They still got game (even better game) because they have also learned ways to make up for anything time may have taken away in speed. Nobody has hands like Fitz or the steady nerves under pressure like Palmer or Peyton which is why they are consistent and reliable and still winners “at their age”.
    It’s great to have all the young talent coming up but what will ultimately drive and sustain this team is the football IQ and examples set by our future HOFers. How fortunate we are to have such a fine blend!

  11. By clssylssy on Sep 18, 2015 | Reply

    I think what hurts Palmer is the public’s perception of him as not being durable and perhaps not having the starts as the others, who constantly are the “NFL leaders”
    but who are actually comparable to Palmer in stats. I was very amused at some Saints friends who were overwhelmed by the fact that Palmer blew Brees away last week with completions, composure, and overall performance…like “when did he get so good?”…LOL! His time on the Raiders didn’t help his numbers which all goes to show that a gifted player can have his career go up in flames with the luck of the draw, a bad agent, or so many other things that have little to do with his abilities!
    I hope our fans have voted for Palmer as the FedEx Ground Player of the week–he deserves the accolades better late than never!

  12. By Kevin S Mesa on Sep 18, 2015 | Reply

    I don’t know… he seems like he’s been pretty durable to me. He’s had two major injuries and some minor ones but if the ACL goes, it goes. It’s not like something a guy can play through. Tom Brady missed an entire season as I recall, and Peyton had his neck thing.

    I think the bigger knock on Palmer is the whole “he hasn’t won a playoff game.” Which goes to your point about the luck of the draw, and how unfair it sometimes is how we evaluate individual players in a team game. Russell Wilson is a very good QB, but how much of our opinion of him is based on how successful Seattle has been while he’s been there, and that’s with also having the league’s best defense and Marshawn Lynch? If the Broncos had happened to draft Wilson in round 2 and the Hawks were still looking for a QB in round 3, and had grabbed Osweiler, would Osweiler be a superstar like Wilson with a ring (or maybe two) while no one would have any idea about Wilson because he’d be waiting his turn behind Peyton?

  13. By don on Sep 19, 2015 | Reply

    Palmer’s not considered top 5 for a few reasons . first is his lack of playoff appearances . like it or not . that’s the method most used. his career so far is a disappointment . another . is they try to eliminate contenders . 2 major knees surgeries . 1 without any contact . combined with his age , our revamped O-line , brutal schedule . nobody thinks Palmer’s playing 16 games this year ..

  14. By Dan on Sep 24, 2015 | Reply


    I know it’s off topic but I have a burning question. Why hasn’t there been any public movement on Daryl Washington?

    The Tom Brady Saga ended with an overturned suspension.

    Ray Rice is free to go. after an on camera assault.

    Greg Hardy’s ban reduced from 10 games to 4 games.

    And D-Wash still out indefinitely for a marijuana violation. Sure he has another thing (assault) to answer for but, hasn’t been reinstated long enough to even answer for his assault. The NFLPA doesn’t appear to even be fighting for him. Has he been blacklisted or what?

    Over a year later and NO news.

  15. By Darren Urban on Sep 24, 2015 | Reply

    Dan —

    RE: DWash

    There hasn’t been any public movement because there hasn’t been any private movement. You are left to connect whatever dots you might like to decide why. I have my own guesses.

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