The general consensus is that Carson Palmer had a down year last year, that he finally showed his age and that his best days are clearly behind him.
Bruce Arians’ response? Wrong, wrong and wrong.
“I don’t think they watched him in November (and) December – because he was playing as good as he’s ever played at that time,” the Arizona head coach said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “He struggled early because he overworked his arm last summer. It’s something we’ve identified and now we’ve got a very good regimen on the number of throws he’s working on. And he’s fit as a fiddle, so yeah, I think he’s going to have a great year.”
Palmer had the best year of his career in 2015. He completed 63.7 percent of his passes for a career-high 4,671 yards and a career-high 35 touchdowns. But he may have worked a little too hard last offseason.
“In OTAs, he was fine,” Arians said, “but he was out there thinking he was a 22-year-old again, throwing way too many balls in the summertime.”
With Palmer on a pitch count, the Cardinals, who went 7-8-1 last season, hope to make the playoffs for the third time in four years and reach the Super Bowl for the first time since 2008. Palmer doesn’t have to do it alone – David Johnson might be the best back in football, and Larry Fitzgerald is as reliable as they come – but he, and his arm, must remain healthy for the Cardinals to get where they want to go.
“I think we’re a good fit for each other schematically and (in terms of) personalities,” Arians, 64, said of the 37-year-old Palmer. “He’s one of the classic pure passers, maybe one of the best deep-ball throwers I’ve ever seen. Not that we throw it deep all the time, but we do like to throw it deep. He’s as accurate deep as anybody, tough as nails, a workaholic when it comes to preparation. So everything I love in a quarterback, he has.”
Arizona opens the season at Detroit on Sept. 10. Kickoff is at 1 p.m. ET.