GLENDALE, Ariz. – Quarterback Carson Palmer, now in his fourth year with the Arizona Cardinals, meets the media several times during training camp.
Here, in this space, we’ll highlight many of the key topics and conversations he has with reporters following the morning walk-through:
How much work in preseason games do you need to be ready?
“We’ve had a pretty good way that we’ve worked the last couple of years. You get a couple series, then a couple more, then you play a bunch in the third (preseason game) and then whether you play a little bit in the fourth or not doesn’t, I don’t think, change much for me. But just getting in the games, it’s good for your body to get beat up, as I’ve said before, and get knocked around a little bit. But also good to see different looks and different coverages and all those things and go through your reads because you’re so used to seeing the same thing throughout training camp against your own defense, so it’s just kind of a good tuneup, I guess, to get you ready for the opener.”
Did you wrestle with the idea of signing a contract extension?
“I didn’t wrestle with it a bit. They had approached me about changing some stuff, contractually, and giving us flexibility this year and years to come, and I didn’t hesitate. I’ve been playing my whole career to be in a situation like this and play for an owner like this and a GM like this. And then you throw in having the chance to play for Bruce and be one of Bruce’s quarterbacks and a chance to play in a locker room like this, and a chance to improve a fantastic roster. Didn’t hesitate at all.”
What does it mean for you to be in a situation like this?
“It’s a dream situation. Like I said, having an opportunity to play for a head coach like Bruce but also a play caller like Bruce, and again, Michael (Bidwill) has given everybody in the locker room everything you could possibly ever need to go out and just focus on football and play good football. The staff he’s hired, and Tom Reed and those guys, keeping guys healthy and staying on top of little injuries; just the chiropractors, the acupuncture, you go on and on and on. The facilities and all those things, everything he’s given us, from a player’s standpoint, it’s a top-flight, first-class organization and guys that have played elsewhere understand that and realize how special it is.”
Are you in a spot where your skill set is highlighted?
“Yeah. That’s why I’m so happy to finish my career here and know that this is where it ends, and all the things I just mentioned — all the people involved in this organization, from the very top to the equipment managers, to the guys that take care of the field and keep that grass the fastest grass in the league — everything, it’s all-encompassing. Everything here is first-class and I know how special it is. I understand how rare this opportunity is.”
Does the contract extend the Super Bowl window, is there the same sense of urgency?
“I don’t see a window. I thought last year’s team was really, really good, until we started working in OTAs and then we got to training camp and you see how much better this team is than last year. And we still have room to grow, and just knowing Steve and what his abilities are to bring in vets, to bring in young rookies, to take chances on guys like Brandon Williams and you see the talent that he has. I don’t see a window, I just see opportunity.”
If Jaron Brown ever got a chance to be a starter, what would he do?
“I was talking to somebody about him today, he has a great camp every year because he gets so many reps, and then those reps kind of dwindle because you’re not going to put him in front of Larry (Fitzgerald), you’re not going to put him in front of Mike (Floyd). But it’s so nice, it’s such a security blanket that if a guy goes down, he can come in. He’s just one of those guys that makes plays. He’s one of those guys that you don’t realize how fast he is until he runs past you. He makes tough, contested catches. He’s physical enough to do what Larry does in the blocking stuff. He’s been a security blanket. I can visualize different plays, the third down conversion he made at the end of the game in Seattle. You go on and on and on, he’s one of those guys that’s a gamer. He gets in games and makes plays, just like he does in practice.”
Where has D.J. Humphries improved?
“I think in a lot of areas. The first thing that jumps out with him is some of the athletic plays he makes, getting around the corner on screens. He’s running down, tracking down DBs and blocking them. He’s gotten a lot better in the run game, and working next to Evan (Mathis) I think has been huge for him. But I don’t think there’s one area that has jumped out. He’s turning into a complete tackle, and the kind of right tackle you want. Athletic, long — screens are a positive with him because he’s so athletic. He’ll just continue to grow in the pass blocking, done a great job. But young and competitive, and that’s what you love about him.”
How has facing Chandler Jones every day in practice helped the offense?
“He’s one of those elite guys; he’s a guy that you have to gameplan for. He’s a guy that teams will leave a tackle with a tight end next to him or chip block, and all camp long we really haven’t done that. We’ve made it as hard on Jared (Veldheer) and D.J. as we could and just leave them one-on-one with him. I think the thing that jumps out about Chandler is his ability in the run game. He comes in and comes downhill. He’s not a pass rushing specialist. He’s not a guy that you think of, you only have to worry about on third down. We’ve run the ball at him, he’s stuffed it. We’ve run the ball away from him, he’s tracked it down from the backside. Just another complete player.”
Do you consider Arizona to be home for you and your family?
“Yeah. Kids are in school all year long — they were lucky enough to get out of here when it’s 110 every day. But yeah, this is our home. We love where we live. Have a great church, kids have a great school. I love coming into work. It’s home. It’s been a second home my whole life. My dad went to UofA, mom went to NAU, brother went to A-State (ASU). Grandparents lived in Arizona, so I’ve been coming here forever.”
Is there anything you don’t like about Arizona?
“I’m still an SC guy, but my dad had me rooting for UofA back in the day when Coach Lute Olson was there. I’m an SC guy, but I do pull for UofA in the tournament.”
Did you ever consider going to Arizona for college?
“No, no. I wasn’t leaving California.”
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