The question has already been asked: Is it time to start worrying about Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer?
The numbers before and after Palmer’s Week 15, division-clinching victory against the Philadelphia Eagles last year bore out the drastic downturn in the quarterback’s production.
Looking at Palmer through the lens of how he stacks up against fellow quarterbacks this season, it’s apparent something hasn’t been right.
Through Week 4, Palmer had just the 23rd-best QBR, ESPN’s quarterback rating metric based on “passing, designed runs, scrambles, turnovers and penalties.” It takes into account opposing defenses and attempts to judge a quarterback separately from the rest of his team.
Palmer’s QBR sits at 52 for the season, far from the top-5 grouping of signal-callers with QBRs above or pushing 90.
But more curiously, Palmer isn’t the only high-profile, proven quarterback who has struggled to begin this year.
Aside from the first name on the list of notables, the other four veteran quarterbacks off to less-than-perfect starts reside in the NFC.
— Andy Dalton, 59 QBR (19th) … 1,244 yards, 8.5 YPA, 66%, 3 TDs, 2 INTs
— Drew Brees, 59 (20th) … 1,269 yards, 7.2 YPA, 66%, 10 TDs, 3 INTs
— Russell Wilson, 58 (21st) … 1,064 yards, 8 YPA, 65%, 5 TDs, 1 INTs
— Eli Manning, 56 (22nd) … 1,186 yards, 7.8 YPA, 66% 4 TDs, 4 INTs
— Carson Palmer, 52 (23rd) … 1,150, 7.5 YPA, 59%, 6 TDs, 5 INTS
— Cam Newton, 52 (24th) … 974 yards, 7.3 YPA, 58% 6 TDs, 5 INTs
Broken down by game, Palmer played adequately against the Patriots in Week 1, put up an 88 adjusted QBR in Arizona’s 40-7 win against the Buccaneers and then floundered with a 14 QBR at Buffalo. He wasn’t much better with a 50 QBR in a loss to the Rams last week. Of course, one could look at the Bills loss as weighing down Palmer’s average.
More palatable statistics have told the same tale. He’s had one good game, one terrible one and a few so-so outings.
Palmer didn’t get on the plane as Arizona headed to California to face the San Francisco 49ers this Thursday, and though he appears likely to return the following week against the New York Jets on Monday Night Football, the wonder is if he can take the time off to find his old magic.
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