QB Carson Palmer - Arizona Cardinals
|6-5, 230||Born: 12-27-1979||College: Southern California||Drafted: Round 1, pick 1|
News you need to know
General News (Thu Feb 2): is reportedly "tied to the hip" with Larry Fitzgerald in terms of their playing futures. Fitzgerald announced Wednesday, Feb. 1, he will return for another season, suggesting it is a good sign Palmer will do the same.
General News (Wed Feb 1): Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians expects both Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald to return in 2017. He feels "comfortable with where they're at" and added, "I think when the juices start flowing and the injuries go away, they'll both be back. But there's nothing to confirm yet." Also, Palmer sent a text message to The Arizona Republic writer Kent Somers to dispel rumors, stating Palmer's Arizona home is not on the market.
General News (Tue Jan 31): has yet to confirm whether he intends to return for another season or retire. At least one prominent general manager and two coaches around the league believe Palmer has played his last down.
Week 21: bye week
Recent Stats and Projections
Recent Game Summaries
2016 Week 17 vs LA (20 / 38 / 255 / 3 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Palmer took a bit of a step back from his recent hot streak, throwing with a little less accuracy then he displayed against both the Saints and Seahawks. Despite this, Palmer did more than enough, throwing three touchdown passes, connecting on multiple big plays, and guiding the offense on enough scoring drives to break open a game in which his defense absolutely dominated their opponent. Whether a fan, detractor, or anywhere in the middle, there is no arguing Palmer's toughness and grit, both of which were on display Sunday as his makeshift offensive line gave way to many hard hits and knockdowns, despite only being sacked once. Despite the strong finish to a disappointing season, Palmer's future remains very much in doubt. He has spoken often about coming back next season, and yet whispers continue to persist that he will not. With Fitzgerald also contemplating retirement, there are many unknowns for the Cardinals offense moving forward in 2017, but Palmer's resurgence at the end of the season can provide a strong glimmer of hope that the 2016 season was more a speed bump than a downward trend.
2016 Week 16 vs SEA (16 / 26 / 284 / 1 / 0 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
Despite a makeshift line and without one of his top targets for the 2016 season, Palmer played a spectacular game Saturday up in Seattle. It was a controlled effort from Palmer, only dropping back for 26 attempts, taking fewer shots downfield, and throwing with a pinpoint accuracy that ensured he would not turn the ball over. Palmer's highlight of the day, an 80-yard bomb to J.J. Nelson came nearly immediately after Seattle Safety Kam Chancellor left the game with an injury, displaying the smarts and savviness he played with all afternoon. After a difficult season in which Palmer both clearly regressed and also ultimately was blamed for far more of the team's woes than he was responsible for, he has played some of his best football of the year of late, proving that while the Cardinals need to find their eventual replacement, he is still a viable option going forward.
2016 Week 15 vs NO (28 / 40 / 318 / 2 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Carson Palmer found his old form on Sunday, playing like his 2015 version, although ironically in a game in which the Cardinals were finally mathematically eliminated from the playoff hunt. Palmer's box score was impressive, but in actuality, he played significantly better. Wide receiver drops have been an issue for this team since week one and on Sunday two drops from J.J. Nelson cost the Cardinals quarterback another 80 or so yards as well as a touchdown. Despite a makeshift offensive line, playing third-string options and a few different spots, Palmer moved effectively in the pocket, was quick with his reads and decisive with his decisions, and not only worked the short and intermediate field well, but even found his deep-ball again. Palmer has taken the brunt of the criticism for the offense's season-long struggles, not uncommon for any quarterback, but nevertheless unfair for those who have watched this team week-in, week-out. Palmer regressed from his 2015 form, and cemented the fact that he cannot be the centerpiece of a Super Bowl caliber team, but the list of problems for the 2016 Cardinals is a long one, and despite claims to the contrary, Palmer is not anywhere near the top of that list.
2016 Week 14 vs MIA (18 / 33 / 145 / 2 / 2 pass, 3 / 5 / 0 rush)
Playing behind a third-string offensive line in pouring Miami rain, Palmer played an atrocious game. With more turnovers than touchdowns and a paltry 4.4 yards per attempt, Palmer was not simply ineffective, but more often than not detrimental. There are some caveats to that, of course. The offensive line, which has been ravished by injury, was overwhelmed all afternoon, giving Palmer few opportunities to set his feet, much less go through his progressions. The rain was unrelenting and contributed to an almost comical amount of slips and fumbles from both teams. However, the Cardinals were in "playoff mode" with every game do-or-die for them, and on Sunday, they officially went. So many of the offenses struggles this season were issues beyond Palmer's control, but he also never came close to repeating his 2015 success. Financially the Cardinals are invested in Palmer for at least one more season, and without an obvious heir-apparent it is anyone's guess who they would even move on to, but it is also abundantly clear that any potential Super Bowl run next season would be in spite of Palmer, and not because of him, leaving the team in a tenuous spot as they begin to assess their offseason outlook.
2016 Week 13 vs WAS (30 / 46 / 300 / 3 / 0 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
With the season on the line, Carson Palmer played his best game of the season. Palmer was accurate and patient, finding his underneath receivers early and often, but still managed to show off his arm strength on two phenomenal second-half touchdown throws. The first came at the end of the third quarter, when Palmer able to find Michael Floyd for a six-yard score that required a rocket of a throw with pinpoint accuracy as two defenders quickly closed in. The second, a gutsy game-winning call, had Palmer heaving a 42-yard bomb to J.J. Nelson with just a few minutes left in the 4th quarter. Despite the Cardinals protecting a lead and a few open underneath routes, Nelson was able to get behind his defender and Palmer lofted up a perfect pass, again threading between two defenders, and sealing up a win in a do-or-die situation for the Cardinals. The path to the playoffs is still a very steep climb, but if Palmer can continue putting in performances reminiscent of his 2015 season, it just may be enough to make that push.
2016 Week 12 vs ATL (25 / 45 / 289 / 2 / 1 pass, 1 / 0 / 0 rush)
It was the same story on Sunday again for Carson Palmer, continuously being let down by the offense around him, while also being unable to elevate the play of the offense as great quarterbacks are expected to do. The failures were familiar; plagued by dropped passes, protection breakdowns, and play-calling that often appeared questionable at best. As Atlanta built their lead, the Cardinals became one-dimensional, exacerbating each of these shortcomings. Palmer was sharp early, leading the team to their first opening possession touchdown of the season on a 1-yard play-action pass to Jermaine Gresham in the back of the end zone, but by the time the Palmer found the end zone again late in the 4th quarter, the game was mostly beyond reach. The team's second half deficit caused Arians to abandon the run game almost entirely, further putting pressure on a makeshift line. ESPN reported that Palmer was escorted out of the locker-room after the game, likely to the X-Ray room, something that will require monitoring throughout the week.
2016 Week 11 vs MIN (20 / 38 / 198 / 2 / 2 pass, 1 / 11 / 0 rush)
As has been a theme throughout the season, it was another tough afternoon for Carson Palmer. His offensive line was abysmal, leading to pressures on 63% of his dropbacks according to Pro Football Focus, and his receivers one again let him down, dropping catchable balls and bailing out on routes. There is a lot of blame to be spread well beyond the quarterback, but Palmer has not been without his own failures either. Most notably has been his penchant to throw into double-coverage, including both of today's interceptions. The quarterback will always bear the biggest brunt of the team's failures, and coming off a career year Palmer absolutely has failed to meet expectations, but largely the offense around Palmer has done little to prop up their QB, and instead only exacerbated the issues.
2016 Week 10 vs SF (30 / 49 / 376 / 1 / 2 pass, 1 / 16 / 0 rush)
As has been the case throughout this tumultuous season, there was a lot of good in Carson Palmer's game Sunday afternoon. Yet falling into the same patterns the offense has all season, breakdowns and mistakes at inopportune times prevented the offense from really breaking out in any significant way. Palmer was aggressive Sunday, continuously looking deep for the big passing plays that have eluded this team all season, albeit to mixed results. Palmer is still frequently underthrowing the deep ball, something that can be justified when throwing to a jump-ball receiver like Michael Floyd, but not the small speedsters like Brown and Nelson. Furthermore, Palmer's fumble and second interception both ended promising drives simply on careless play. Despite that, Palmer was great when the team seemingly needed him most. His 2-minute drill play at the end of the first half was nearly flawless and the game-winning drive was equally as good. As Palmer goes so does this offense, and unfortunately despite coming off the bye, Palmer and the offense looked every bit as rocky as before.
2016 Week 8 vs CAR (35 / 46 / 363 / 3 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Pressure was the theme of Palmer's day on Sunday, either creating costly turnovers or ending drives that showed signs of promise. When given time, Palmer was steady and accurate, but those opportunities came too infrequently for an offense that put itself into a quick hole. The Cardinals first possession resulted in a sack-fumble, although on replay it did seem as though Palmer flicked the ball forward, setting the tone for the day to come. Eight total sacks and continuous pressure throughout thwarted any comeback attempt, but not for lack of effort from the quarterback. Palmer found J.J Nelson twice and John Brown for scores, but an incredibly athletic play by Kony Ealy intercepting a screen pass at the line ended any comeback bid. Palmer struggled early in the season and the team did too as a result, but he has been sharp the last three weeks since returning from injury despite overall outcomes. Palmer seems to have cleaned up many of his early season mistakes, and it will be up to the rest of the team around him to do so during the bye week, or the Cardinals will quickly find themselves in a hole too big to escape.
2016 Week 7 vs SEA (29 / 49 / 342 / 0 / 0 pass, 1 / 8 / 0 rush)
Against the stout Seattle defense, Palmer played a strong game, protecting the football and marching the offense up and down the field on seemingly every possession. The offense as a unit consistently failed to score once in Seattle territory, a problem in which Palmer deserves a share of the blame for, but there was plenty to spread. Questionable play calls, quality defense, protection breakdowns, and dropped passes all played their part in the offense Cardinals failing to convert long drives into scores. Palmer moved well in a pocket that was under siege all night, worked his progressions to find open receivers without forcing potential turnovers, and when necessary, threaded the ball into tight, well-covered windows. Whatever solace can be taken from an offense that scored six points in five quarters, Palmer has looked a lot more like the quarterback of 2015 since returning from his concussion two weeks ago than he had for the first four weeks of the season.
2016 Week 6 vs NYJ (23 / 34 / 213 / 1 / 0 pass, 3 / -1 / 0 rush)
In his first game back from a concussion, Palmer played a smart, patient game. It was not a night without adversity for Palmer either, as the Cardinals patchwork offensive line gave up many pressures, hurries, and hits. Palmer was forced to make his own pocket as often as he had a clean one to step up into. Schematically, the Jets, like most of the Cardinals opponents this season, have worked to take away Palmer's ability to throw deep. Going into Monday night, no secondary had given up more big passing plays than the Jets and this was a matchup that many around the Cardinals were hoping to exploit. Instead, the Jets defense clamped down on anything over the top, with Palmer only attempting one deep ball all game, but finding short and intermediate routes to exploit. It left a lot to be desired for Palmer's box score stats, and big-picture the Cardinals must find a way to make more chunk plays through the air, but on Monday night Palmer simply took what the defense was giving him, and largely did so very well. Palmer did suffer a hamstring injury late in the game, and while that is disconcerting heading into back-to-back weeks against the Seahawks and Panthers, it is not believed to be too serious an injury.
2016 Week 4 vs LA (23 / 36 / 288 / 1 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
The big news for Palmer was the possible concussion he suffered late in Sunday's game, knocking him out for the team's last two drives and seriously putting into question his ability to be ready for the Cardinals Thursday night game in San Francisco. What will get lost in the news of the injury was Palmer's performance itself, once again failing to match the heights of last year's play. The offensive issues extend well beyond Palmer himself, there seems to be a breakdown of some sort on what feels like every offensive snap, but Palmer is simply not as crisp and precise with his ball placement this year. Nearly every deep or jump ball pass this season has been underthrown. Many of the intermediate level crossing and post patterns, a staple of this offense, have been thrown just behind receivers. Again, blocking breakdowns, untimely penalties, and dropped passes have all taken turns letting down this offense, but simply put Carson Palmer has not played near the level he was expected to.
2016 Week 3 vs BUF (26 / 50 / 287 / 0 / 4 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
When an offense performs as poorly as Arizona's did on Sunday, it is natural to point the finger at the Quarterback. It is much easier to do when the final four offensive drives all end in interceptions. As much as Palmer deserves to shoulder his share of the blame, Sunday's performance comprised of failures at nearly every level. Between the bad blocking, miscommunication with receivers, and dropped passes, little was done around Palmer that helped. One problem that oddly plagued Palmer all afternoon were underthrown passes. When Palmer's accuracy wanes, it typically manifests itself into overthrows because of sloppy footwork. Today, Palmer consistently underthrew receivers. Some passes downright failed to reach their target, in other instances what should have been easily catchable balls were instead contested. The Cardinals returned an offense with every skill position player from last year's record setting team, and yet through three games do not appear to be on the same page at all. Until these miscues in communication cease, the Cardinals offensive struggles likely will continue.
2016 Week 2 vs TB (17 / 30 / 304 / 3 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Coming back from the week one hiccup, Palmer and the Cardinals offense looked much more like the one we grew accustom to in the 2015-16 season. The offense moved smoothly up and down the field, the play calling was balanced, and unlike last week, Palmer seemed much more in sync with his skill position players. Arguably, the most illustrative box-score statistic in comparing Palmer's week one and two performance was his yards per attempt. An imperfect measurement to be sure, but Palmer and the Cardinals offense rely on the deep ball and chunk-play more than most, and this week's 9.9 yards per attempt were a significant improvement over the 7.2 yards in week one. There are things that can be nitpicked; Palmer's sub-60 completion percentage or the near-interception in the end zone (albeit due to an incorrectly run route from David Johnson,) but that would be reaching for faults. On Sunday Palmer was making the right reads, throwing darts, and leading his team to a much needed, ship-righting victory on Sunday.
2016 Week 1 vs NE (24 / 37 / 271 / 2 / 0 pass, 2 / 1 / 0 rush)
In his first real game back from last season's disastrous NFC Championship game, Palmer played well, but the offense as a whole never found a rhythm. Credit must be given to the Patriots whose game plan clearly focused on taking away John Brown and the deep ball, forcing everything underneath. Palmer's 7.2 yards per attempt help illustrate this point. Beyond that however, there was no predominant issue. Pressures, drops, penalties, and miscommunications all popped up at times, but were never persistent. Expectations for the Cardinals offense are high coming off a record setting season, and this may simply be the case of playing a quality opponent, but still, something seemed discordant. There were some positives in the effort, to be sure. Palmer displayed his usual ability to spread the ball around, targeting eight different receivers, and his timing with both Fitzgerald and Floyd looked spot on for all 60 minutes. Palmer flirted with a few turnovers, but looked well in command of his accuracy and decision making, a small bit of relief for fans wondering how he would respond to the NFC Championship meltdown. Analysis tends to ask for strong statements, but Sunday night Palmer was just simply OK. That may not be enough to take the Cardinals to the heights they are striving for, but efforts like last night's won't be what costs the Cardinals games going forward this season.
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