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Can Carson Palmer play? Employ 4 C’s

Let’s start with a disclaimer. Namely, my own. As in, here’s the Big Red verdict from a campaign that included a nine-game losing streak.

Did the Cardinals need a Pro Bowl quarterback? No. Naturally, every team desires Pro Bowl-caliber play from its QB. But considering the Cardinals featured a stout defense a year ago, an elite QB wasn’t an absolute necessity.

Rather, what the Cards really needed was a QB who didn’t single-handedly lose the game. Sounds simple. Alas, in truth, not so much.

Instead, if life boils down to wants/needs, the Cards’ main priority coming off 2012 revolved around upgrading the QB position so that it’s no longer a glaring liability that drains confidence from the rest of the roster.

With this process in mind, Calvisi Consulting has devised its own QB valuation system. If ESPN can create something called the “Total QBR” system, then, effective 2013, we’ve empowered the pocket protectors in R&D to come strong with their own grading system while adhering to our steadfast rule — no math.

Follow me here: once upon a time, I wandered up to a diamond counter and learned about the 4 C’s. What if we applied those 4 C’s to QB’s? After all, quarterbacks should be considered the jewels of football, right?

Still with me? Because, truth be told, this is all inspired by recent events, where I had a chance to sit down with Carson Palmer for an extended interview. Did I get to know the Cards new starting QB? Sure. But (like most everything else in life), what do I really know at this point?

Good question. In search of an answer, it’s time to employ our “4 C’s QB Rating” technique. Instead of carat, cut, color, clarity… we’re going with:

Capability: In addition to his 2012 stats with the Raiders (4K+ passing yards, 22 TD, 14 INT, 61% completion rate), GM Steve Keim says he looked at every pass Palmer has thrown the past three seasons and, based on the film, sees no evidence of deteriorating performance.

Competitive: If the golf course is any indication, including the Cardinals Charity Golf Tourney where Palmer was none too happy about narrowly losing to a certain Cardinals kicker (1st place finisher Jay Feely), then Palmer still rates as hyper-competitive.

Cerebral: Playing NFL QB is a thinking man’s game. And the first word that a certain future Hall of Fame receiver used to describe his new QB was “cerebral.” Enough said.

Command: Entering his 11th season and with Pro Bowls on his resume, Palmer commands respect in the huddle. And, based on the progress that Palmer reports to date in learning the playbook, he appears to have a real command of the new Bruce Arians offense. Palmer: “I think our scheme fits my style of play very well.”

And here’s the beauty of applying our 4 C’s system on quarterbacks: either you got it or you don’t. Think of it as pass/fail for signal callers. No GPAs. No decimal points.

Either you get a “passing” grade, or you don’t.