In 16 games last season, Arizona Cardinals quarterbacks combined to throw for 3,383 yards with 11 touchdowns and 21 interceptions.
The quartet of John Skelton, Kevin Kolb, Ryan Lindley and Brian Hoyer received much of the blame for the team’s overall struggles, and rightfully so.
Sensing a need to upgrade the position, the Cardinals went out and acquired veteran Carson Palmer from the Oakland Raiders.
Seven games into the season, though, with the Cardinals at 3-4 and Palmer having thrown more interceptions (13) than touchdowns (8), there was a belief among some that the team needed to make a change.
The Cardinals stood pat, and it’s proving to be the right decision. In Sunday’s 40-11 win over the Indianapolis Colts, Palmer completed 26-of-37 passes for 314 yards and two touchdowns. He’s thrown eight touchdown passes and just two interceptions over the last four games, all of which were wins.
“I think the biggest thing,” Cardinals GM Steve Keim told Doug and Wolf Monday morning, “is you had to remind yourself that this is a new offense that he’s playing in and we’re asking him to do different things that were sort of out of his comfort zone.
“At the end of the day, I knew that if we gave the guy time to make the throws, he still has tremendous accuracy, ball placement and touch, and was certainly a guy that could help us win football games.”
Keim added that the last few weeks have seen a Palmer who is “more comfortable” in the offense, praising the quarterback’s ability to move around in the pocket while keeping his eyes down the field looking for an open receiver. It’s a claim anyone who has watched the team would certainly validate, and just another sign that Palmer has a better understanding of what he needs to do. According to the quarterback himself, everyone knew it was just going to take time.
For the season, Palmer’s line now reads 250-of-395 for 2,887 yards with 16 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.
“It took a little longer than you’d like, but when you look at it, when you come and install a brand new offense with brand new coaches, with new players in the offseason, there’s no law or rule that you’re going to have it at this point or that you’re going to have it this week,” he said after Sunday’s win. “It’s a work in progress and obviously you’d like to have it by midway through the training camp, or really be comfortable midway through the training camp. That’s not realistic.
“It took us longer than we wanted, but we’re starting to really get that trust and that confidence in each other. We’ve got to continue to develop it and keep it going.”