Last season, no one “had it.”
But Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Andre Roberts thinks his new quarterback, Carson Palmer, does.
“He’s one of those guys that has it,” the 25-year-old receiver told Arizona Sports 620’s Burns and Gambo on Tuesday. “You know, you can tell one of those quarterbacks that just has it.”
What, exactly, is “it”? Perhaps it’s simply an upgrade over the committee of quarterbacks which threw an NFC-low 11 touchdowns and a league-high 21 interceptions.
Or maybe “it” is something more.
“He has all the talent in the world,” the fourth-year receiver said of his quarterback.
“He can make every throw, you know, throw the ball down field, fit it in there when he needs to.”
Cardinals quarterbacks ranked second to last in completion percentage last season, trailing only the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. And after a rare completion, Roberts and the rest of the Cardinals’ receiving core had difficulty advancing the football, ranking 27th in yards after completion among NFL teams.
In that department, too, Roberts sees a difference in Palmer.
“Making those throws that (allow) the receivers to be able catch and run instead of catching and getting tackled,” he said, describing his quarterback’s strengths, when juxtaposed with last season’s trio of passers.
To Roberts and the rest of the Cardinals receivers, the offseason change under center was monumental.
“A lot of changes were made to our offense, but having Carson Palmer come in and understanding that he’s an established guy, a starter in this league, and a veteran in this league and understanding what he (brought) to the table is really exciting for us.”
The void in experience the Cardinals have had at quarterback during Roberts’ time with the team is hard to miss. And, in contrast, Palmer’s arrival in Glendale has to be refreshing for those who most rely on the signal caller.
The four quarterbacks employed by Ken Whisenhunt and the Cardinals last season — Kevin Kolb, John Skelton, Ryan Lindley and Brian Hoyer — have combined for less than half the 129 career starts Palmer has made at quarterback. Additionally, last season’s quarterbacks have completed less than one-third of Palmer’s 2,568 career completions and 145 fewer touchdowns.
In eight NFL seasons — including 2008, when he played in just four games due to a knee injury and 2011’s 10-game season with the Oakland Raiders — Palmer has thrown for 29,465 yards — nearly 20,000 more yards than what Kolb, Skelton, Lindley and Hoyer have combined to tally over their careers.
“Everybody knows what he’s capable of and what he’s done,” Roberts said.
To Roberts, Palmer shouldn’t be the issue in the Cardinals’ pass-catch game in 2013-14. The onus, he thinks, is on those the quarterback will be looking to target.
“As receivers, we just have to instill the confidence in him to make those throws to us.”