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ESPN’s Jaworski: Carson Palmer is playing his best football in nearly a decade

LISTEN: Ron Jaworski, ESPN NFL analyst

Carson Palmer seems to be enjoying his time with the Arizona Cardinals.

Playing for quarterback gurus Bruce Arians and Tom Moore, Palmer is showing consistent play that already marks the season as one of the most successful in his 11-year-career.

“It’s the best Carson Palmer I’ve seen since his injury,” said ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski, a guest Thursday with Burns & Gambo on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.

The injury happened in 2006, when Palmer was the young star quarterback who had won the Heisman Trophy in 2002 before being taken number one overall by the Cincinnati Bengals the following draft. The quarterback delivered quickly, leading the team to division title and home playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in his second year.

Jaworski was covering the action when Palmer threw a 66-yard completion on his first attempt of the game, only to get hit low by a defensive lineman during the play and suffering a torn ACL.

“Carson, he was going to be one of the best ever,” said Jaworski. “Big, strong and talent around him, that would have been a great Bengals team for a long, long time. This is the best he’s played since that injury.”

Palmer had shown flashes of his former self in the years following the injury, leading the Bengals for five more seasons before being traded to the Oakland Raiders and eventually landing in Arizona.

Now his second year quarterbacking the Cardinals, Palmer is leading an NFL-best 6-1 team and won a game on Sunday where he threw the game-winning 75-yard touchdown pass with less than two minutes remaining. Despite only playing only four games so far this season due to a nerve injury, Palmer is averaging a career-high 284 passing yards per game and has the lowest interception rate in the NFL, throwing picks on only .6 percent of his passes.

“Clearly he looks comfortable,” said Jaworski. “His pocket movement is outsanding and he is just rifling the ball down field with confidence and he’s stopped turning the football over.”

Things will not be easy for Palmer and the Cardinals this week, as they go on the road to face the 6-2 Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys will provide a challenge for Palmer in protecting the ball, with Dallas ranking sixth in the league at forcing interceptions, which they do on 3.1 percent of opposing quarterbacks’ attempts.

The matchup between NFC division leaders starts at 11:00 a.m., and coverage will be on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.