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Carson Chats: Cardinals’ Justin Bethel may be as athletic as Patrick Peterson

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer throws a pass during NFL football training camp Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

TEMPE, Ariz. – Quarterback Carson Palmer, now in his fifth year with the Arizona Cardinals, meets the media every Wednesday during the regular season.

Here, in this space, with help from the Cardinals’ media relations staff, we’ll highlight many of the key topics and personnel conversations he has with reporters.

On whether he still gets butterflies before season-openers:

“Absolutely. Absolutely. I get butterflies every game, but especially at the beginning of the season.”

On what he can do better to protect himself and avoid taking hits:

“A number of things, getting the ball out quicker always helps. Throwing the ball away always helps. So, there are a handful of things you can do to improve those things.”

On the changes to the offensive line and how they will impact protection:

“For the most part, it’s the same core guys. Obviously with D.J. (Humphries) and Jared (Veldheer) switching sides, that changes things up pretty drastically for those two guys, but for the most part, it’s pretty much the same guys. And these guys have all had an entire offseason together, an entire training camp together. Fortunately, we’ve all stayed healthy, and they’ve continued to work together.”

On how different the passing game is with and without WR John Brown:

“A lot different. Any time you lose a starting caliber player, things change. Somebody has to pick up that slack. But as far as the route tree, he runs it as good as anybody we have. He catches the ball extremely well. He makes difficult catches. He keeps his feet inbounds when he’s kind of contorting his body on the sidelines. He’s one of our better receivers and any time you lose that guy, things change. He means a ton to us.”

On what the offense can’t do when Brown is not on the field as opposed to when he is:

“There’s nothing we can’t do. We don’t change the offense. We don’t put in different plays. We don’t decide to not run certain plays, so those things don’t change.”

On whether the running game is affected when Brown is not on the field:

“No. There’s a handful of guys – the Antonio Browns, the Calvin Johnsons – guys that change defensive strategies week-to-week. Maybe pull another guys outside of the box to double-team, but we haven’t seen much of that with him on the field.”

On whether he thinks the passing game is in better shape entering 2017 than it was last season:

“Thinking of this time last year, he (John Brown) hadn’t been healthy. They hadn’t diagnosed exactly what was wrong with him. Just looking back, Britt (Brittan Golden) has had a great camp. J.J. (Nelson) has really come along and had a tremendous last three or four weeks. Larry (Fitzgerald) has been Larry. Jermaine (Gresham) has had a phenomenal offseason and a really, really good camp. Troy (Niklas) and Mo (Ifeanyi Momah) have both stepped up. I like where we are. It’s hard to compare from year-to-year at this time, but I really like where we are with the receivers, obviously, but with the tight ends too. They’re a very important part of this passing game. Troy Niklas has had a phenomenal offseason. So, like I said, I like where we are.”

On whether he feels like he’s in a better spot this year as opposed to last year:

“I definitely feel fresher. There’s no doubt. Coming off of training camp last year, and as the season started, I definitely feel fresher than I did last year.”

On whether he has heightened expectations for this season:

“Heightened expectations? No. Like every team, we all think we’re going to win the Super Bowl right now, for the most part. You can say that about every year, for just about every team. Obviously, that’s not the case, but that’s how you feel. So, heightened expectations, everybody feels good right now. Everybody feels like, ‘If we can do this’ and ‘If we can do that,’ we’ve got a shot, for the most part. But I don’t think I feel any better this year than I did last year, or about what I expect of our team.”

On the addition of G Alex Boone:

“Another very aggressive, very experienced lineman. Gives us a ton of depth. He’s played in this division, so he knows this division. He’s been a very successful player, so we’re very excited about that addition.”

On what he saw out of CB Justin Bethel as he went against him in training camp:

“A different player. A different player starting back at OTAs. It’s tough when you come into the league and you’re a special teams guy, and that’s kind of how they see you, and then all of a sudden, you’re starting on Sundays because of injuries and playing corner. I don’t even know if he’s playing special teams anymore. He has been a Pro Bowler every year he has been here. I think he’s really been able to focus on the corner position, and he was so focused on being a core special teamer for so long that the corner position was secondary. Now, I think the corner position is primary, and the special teams stuff is secondary, if he’s even doing special teams. I’m not sure. He looks like a different player. He’s getting his hands on the ball all the time. He breaks on the ball extremely well, and probably athletically, he’s as good of an athlete as Pat (Patrick Peterson) is, I would think. I don’t know who would win in a 40-(yard dash) or a hundred yard race. I don’t know who’s got a better vertical, but you’re splitting atoms between those two.”

On Bethel’s foot injury and how that impacted him:

“Yeah, he had an injury. He had a foot (injury) for all year last year. So he looks like a different player because of maybe that too.”

On what he’s learned from Assistant Head Coach / Offense Tom Moore over the last four years:

“It has been great to have his experience in our room. He’s in every single meeting we’re in. He sits in the back of the quarterback meeting room and makes comments. When he makes a comment, there’s a reason for it. It’s been great to have his expertise around us.”

On how he’s adjusted to early kickoff times over the course of his career, dating back to his college playing days:

“I really haven’t thought much about it at all. We’re practicing, essentially, the same time we’re going to play on Sunday, as far as our time zone is concerned. So, the night games throw things off, especially when it’s a night East Coast game. But, for the most part, the worst part about those trips is playing a Monday night or Sunday night game on the East Coast and getting back so late. Especially when it’s a Monday night game and having a short week. These 10 a.m. Arizona time kickoffs don’t change much for our routine.”

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