In 2012, the Arizona Cardinals’ offense held the team back.
The belief is that will not be the case in 2013, as quarterback Carson Palmer was brought in to stabilize a position that has been in flux since Kurt Warner retired in January 2010.
Now, after an offseason filled with minicamps, OTAs, training camp and preseason games, Palmer says the offense is ready to go.
“We’re at a very good point where we’ll be successful, we have a chance to be successful,” Palmer said Wednesday. “Guys have had enough reps, guys have had enough opportunities to see themselves do it on film and have corrections made in meetings.
“But we still have a ton of room to grow, and obviously in Week 1 you’re not going to be as good in a new offense as you are in Week 8, 10, 15, 16 and so on.”
Palmer finished the preseason completing 23-of-44 passes for 265 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. The Cardinals, as a team, averaged just 14.5 points in their four games.
But everything will be different Sunday in St. Louis against the Rams. While it’s always nice to get the season started off with a win, running back Rashard Mendenhall said that it’s even more important because this is an intradivision game.
“When you talk about the playoffs and you talk about division dominance is what we want to do, it starts for us early on the road,” he said. “Tough place like St. Louis, it’s a W we need to get.”
What to expect Sunday — or this entire season, really — is anyone’s guess. At this point, so much is unknown about the Cardinals, as they have a new coach, new quarterback and roster full of new players.
However, most are saying any potential improvements will still leave the Cardinals closer to the bottom of the NFC West than the top.
But none of that concerns Palmer.
“I think we’re excited to go play, regardless of what expectations outside the building may be,” he said. “We expect to stop the run and create turnovers on defense; we expect to be able to run the ball on offense and hit big plays.
“I don’t think anybody cares, inside the locker room, what other people are saying or what we’re supposed to be, what we’re not supposed to be.”
Palmer added that the team has gone over what is expected of them, offensively, defensively and on special teams.
“It’s put up on the board, we talk about it,” he said. “And that’s what we expect. It may be naive, but that’s the way we’re wired.”