Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer is off to a rocky start, throwing more interceptions (9) than touchdowns (5) so far, yet the team sits with a winning record (3-2) after the first five weeks.
ESPN NFL analyst John Clayton told Doug & Wolf Friday that he’s not overly surprised about Palmer’s interceptions, but there are two other statistics that make him worry about the Cardinals’ signal caller.
“Right now, he’s only completed like 3-of-20 passes downfield of 15 yards or more,” Clayton said. “And his game has been the downfield throws.”
Besides Palmer’s inability to complete the long ball, Clayton said he’s also worried about wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald’s low number of receptions through five games.
“I don’t know if it’s (Fitzgerald’s) hamstring, I don’t know if it’s Carson Palmer, but 24 catches for Larry Fitzgerald in now five games that’s not Larry Fitzgerald numbers you anticipate,” the analyst said.
One could argue Fitzgerald didn’t put up his usual numbers last year either: He finished with 798 yards (second lowest of his career) and four touchdowns (lowest of his career) in 2012. Perhaps the Cardinals’ quarterback situation hasn’t improved as much as they thought it had with their offseason acquisitions of Palmer and Drew Stanton.
On the bright side, Clayton pointed out Palmer is still on pace to reach 4,000 passing yards, as the 33-year-old did last season in Oakland.
“And if you put a 4,000-yard thrower on the Cardinals, that’s going to win 6, 7, 8 games,” Clayton said. “It’s interesting to see the things you did expect (from Palmer) not happening — him linking up with Fitzgerald; him getting the ball downfield. I mean, you knew he was going to throw the picks; that’s just Carson Palmer.”