TEMPE, Ariz. – Whether it is his fault or not, the quarterback is always the first player criticized, the first player blamed when a play doesn’t work or a game is lost.
It comes with the territory.
Carson Palmer, now in his 10th NFL season, understands that better than most. And he’s okay with it.
“When you win, you’re the hero. When you lose, you’re the bum. It doesn’t really matter how you play in between. That’s just the way it is. That’s fine with me. It doesn’t bother me at all. I’ve got broad shoulders. I can take on anything,” he said Wednesday.
Palmer has received his fair share of criticism and blame this season. Eleven interceptions has that effect on a fan base.
Yet if you listen to head coach Bruce Arians, those picks don’t all fall on the right arm of his quarterback.
“Have the guys around him play better,” he answered when asked how he can get better production from Palmer.
Larry Fitzgerald agreed, but what else would you expect the veteran and team captain to say?
Still, according to Fitzgerald, he and his fellow wide receivers need to get in better sync with their quarterback.
“(We’ve) got to be on the same page with (Palmer). We got to make sure that when he’s dropping back he can trust that we’re going to be in the position and the places that we need to be in so he can be confident when he’s releasing the football. That will give him peace of mind. That will settle him down. We have to do a better job for him. We got to make it as easy as we can for him.”
Palmer, even though they are six games into the season, preached patience.
“Its part of a new system; new players and a new system,” he said. “You’re not always going to be on the exact same page, and unfortunately when you’re not sometimes it’s an incomplete pass, sometimes it’s an interception. That’s the unfortunate part of it. It’s a process. It’s a long process. There is no quick fix, no way to get around it. It’s just repetition, on repetition, on repetition.”
There have been flashes, however, where the offense clicks.
Offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin pointed to the team’s second drive of the third quarter. The Cardinals, trailing 22-20, were moving the ball well downfield only to have the possession end on a Fitzgerald fumble.
“Any time you turn the ball over you lose momentum and then you put your defense in a bad situation,” Goodwin said. “If we can just stop turning it over, you can see the development of our offense coming along. We just got to stop killing ourselves. That’s the biggest thing, but I like where we’re headed.”
Palmer, too, likes where the offense is headed.
Though when asked about the number of interceptions he’s thrown — last season he didn’t throw his 11th pick until Week 10 — Palmer acknowledged that for the offense to be successful and for the team to be successful his play must improve.
“I expect to put us in situations where we’re in the plus category,” he said. “With our defense and the turnovers that they get, from here on out we’ve got to do a better job, I’ve got to do a better job in that category (interceptions).”