The 2013 Arizona Cardinals took a while to all get on the same page.
That’s understandable. New head coach Bruce Arians brought his offensive system with him, and there was an adjustment period that was compounded by the learning curve of first-year quarterback Carson Palmer, who was acquired in the offseason from the Oakland Raiders.
But everyone on the offense eventually got on the same page, and there was a lot of success.
Arizona averaged 27 points per game and went 6-2 over the second half of the season. Much of that success was due to a comfortable Palmer, who completed 65.3 percent of his passes for 2,361 yards with 14 touchdowns and eight interceptions over the last eight games. In the season’s first half, the veteran completed 61.3 percent of his throws for 1,913 yards with 10 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.
Palmer, who is entering his 12th year in the league and second in Arizona, is optimistic about the 2014 season in the desert.
“It’s been awesome, it’s been so much fun,” Palmer told Doug and Wolf on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Thursday. “It’s been fun to practice and to go out there and work and do all those things and I can’t wait for today. I’m sitting in the facility’s parking lot waiting to get off the phone with you guys to get started.
“But it’s fun to go home at night and study it. It’s fun to watch the practice from the day and then go back and watch game cut-ups and see how different it looks now. Obviously, it’s in shorts and not against competition, but I can’t wait for us to get in our uniforms and pads and get out there against our division opponents and against San Diego on Monday Night in front of our crowd.”
There was optimism after last season because the Cardinals finished strong, posting a 10-6 record and narrowly missing the playoffs. But what has happened since then has Palmer especially pumped.
“Seeing the additions we’ve made, with Jared (Veldheer) and Teddy Ginn, John Carlson’s been awesome,” Palmer said. “And some of the young guys we’ve added, this little guy, John Brown, he’s been a little bit banged up, but I’m so excited to watch this guy play.
“And obviously getting (Jonathan Cooper) back this year and really not getting a chance to play with him last year. It’s just so much fun to see where we are as a team and you can’t do it too much, but you start thinking about the potential and where we can go, and you just start getting excited.”
Palmer is also happy about the rapport he’s been able to build with third-year wide receiver Michael Floyd.
“I’m so proud of Mike Floyd and so excited to see what he’s going to do this year,” he said. “He and I trained this whole offseason together since late January and he’s worked really, really hard to get more fluid and a little bit more explosive and more flexible.
“He’s worked extremely hard. I think the year that Mike’s going to have is going to shock some people.”
Over the second half of 2013, Floyd averaged 19.6 yards per catch and had a monster 193-yard effort in a win over Jacksonville in Week 10.