GLENDALE, Ariz. – Quarterback Carson Palmer, now in his third year with the Arizona Cardinals, meets the media several times during training camp.
Here, in this space, we’ll highlight many of the key topics and personnel conversations he has with reporters following the morning walk-through.
How much do you look forward to playing a full quarter coming up on Saturday against San Diego?
“Yeah, very much so. You kind of got a tease last week, just getting a couple seven or eight plays, whatever it was. To get a little bit longer this week, it’s still not enough. No matter how successful the first quarter goes, you always want to go a little bit more. But, it’s a good opportunity for us. A very good defense. I think a very good secondary. They have a good pass rush. They do a lot of things disguising … it’s a really good test for us.”
What were your thoughts when you heard the team had signed Chris Johnson?
“Just excitement. I’ve played against him a number of times. I’ve seen too many highlights — I’ve seen too many highlights against the teams I’ve played on and had to play against him. So, I’m excited to see what he brings to this offense. I think it’s a really, really good fit for him, personally. This is the kind of scheme that he can get put in certain situations where he has mismatch and we’ve got a bunch of guys on the outside you got to worry about and you got to worry about him splitting the gap and taking it all the way. He’s done that a number of times as we all know. So, really just excitement and pretty typical for what happens around here. It seems every year we somehow find a way to sign a guy that you don’t think you can or you don’t think you will. It’s a great place to play, obviously. A lot of guys want to come here and live here and play here and play for this organization. It just makes a lot of sense for a number of reasons for him.”
How do you define a successful run game?
“The outcome is what matters. It’s not statistical outcome, it’s did you do what you needed to do to win the game on offense and did you win. There’s certain games, there’s certain opponents where we’re not just going to bang our heads against the wall and do what we do. We’re going to do what’s best for us. Some of that’s depending on what’s going on the other side of the ball, the type of offense we’re playing. There’s a big difference between Seattle’s offense and New Orleans’ offense, so some games will dictate more runs, some personnels that we’re playing against will dictate more or less runs, it just depends. It’s really week-to-week with us.”
How will an improved running game help what the offense is able to do this year?
“That’s one of the most important parts of a passing game is the running game. We’re a heavy play-action team. We do a lot of big play-action shots. We do play-action screens. We can kind of do it all. There’s a lot of different things we can do, but anytime you can effectively run the ball and a defensive coordinator comes in worried about your running back getting loose, it just helps you on the outside in the passing game.”
Would you say that last year teams weren’t worried about the running game?
“Um, yeah. We’ve spent a lot of time this offseason on the running game, and I think that has a correlation with what we did last year in the running game. The improvements are drastic. You can see it every day in practice, you can see it at night when we go and sit in meetings and watch film. Coach Arians put a huge emphasis on the running game and it’s showed.”
What are some of the strengths running the hurry-up offense?
“I think anytime you put yourself in that position you’re kind of putting the defense on their heels a little bit and that’s one of the things you’re trying to get away with. Maybe you slow down the pass rush a little bit, maybe you make the defense think a little bit. Shifting formations, motions changes things defensively. It’s one of those deals you just kind of slowly move the chains really kind of eats away at a defensive’s mentality and slows down that pass rush, slows down them maybe reaching schemes and jumping routes.”
Coach said 10-year vets get the day off so how will you spend the afternoon?
“Well, it’s a mental day but it was a joyous day when he announced that for a lot of guys. That’s the first time he’s done that and guys understand that it’s not a mess-around session this afternoon. Guys understand that if he’s going to do that, you better handle it the right way and the vets that are 10-plus years turn into coaches almost and really bringing the young guys along and not stand in the back squirting each other with Gatorade. It’s time to focus in and help out and not be a distraction. He wouldn’t do that if he didn’t think we were mature enough to handle it and we have a very mature group.”