Less is more: Arizona Cardinals QB Carson Palmer not throwing in OTAs, not yet

May 16, 2017, 1:18 PM | Updated: 1:25 pm

Arizona Cardinals NFL football quarterback Carson Palmer (3) runs drills during a voluntary team wo...

Arizona Cardinals NFL football quarterback Carson Palmer (3) runs drills during a voluntary team workout, Tuesday, May 16, 2017, in Tempe, Ariz. The Arizona Cardinals have five quarterbacks on their roster. One big reason is a concerted effort to prevent Carson Palmer from doing much of anything in the offseason to preserve the arm strength of the 37-year-old quarterback. (AP Photo/Matt York)

(AP Photo/Matt York)

TEMPE, Ariz. – Everyone is in agreement what the plan is: Quarterback Carson Palmer won’t throw until the last week of organized team activities plus the three-day minicamp, meaning he’ll be spending much of the Arizona Cardinals’ practice time this offseason as a spectator getting mental reps and of course his work inside the weight room.

The idea is to preserve Palmer’s arm for when it matters most, training camp and then obviously the regular season.

What’s in question is who thought of said plan.

“We talked quite a bit about it, and as you guys know, he’s pretty persuasive,” Palmer said, referring to head coach Bruce Arians. “I’m sticking with the plan and that’s to hold off for now and limit the number of throws in May.”

Asked how persuasive he was, Arians told reporters, “This was kind of his idea this time. I kind of asked him, ‘When are you going to work?’ And he said, ‘I got a plan.’

“And I said, ‘Perfect.’ I think he’s starting to chomp at the bit already, though, now that he seen everybody else out here.”

On Tuesday, the Cardinals began Phase Three of their voluntary offseason workout program, and while live contact is not permitted, teams are allowed to work offense against defense for the first time since 2016 ended.

Palmer, 37, is missing most of that work, and regardless of whose idea it was, it makes sense.

Limiting Palmer’s practice time actually began last season, when mid-year he stopped practicing on Wednesdays at Arians’ suggestion.

“I think it was around bye week where he talked me into missing practice on Wednesday and not throwing on Wednesdays,” Palmer said. “I felt better from not getting two or three-hundred throws between Wednesday and Friday like I was getting the first half of the season. Like I said, he’s got reasons, he’s got a plan and I trust his plan and his reasons.”

The reasons showed up on the field and in the stat sheet.

Palmer had more noticeable zip on his throws during the second half of 2016 as compared to the first. And though his completion percentage didn’t improve, Palmer passed for more yards (2,165 vs. 2,068) and more touchdowns (16 vs. 10) plus fewer interceptions (8 vs. 6) in those final eight games.

“I think it’ll make a big difference,” he said, referring to less offseason throwing. “Like (Arians) said, how many curls do you need to throw in March. I’ve thrown a lot of curls over the years. I’m looking forward to seeing the benefits of this as the season rolls on.”

Still, Palmer, who is entering his 14th NFL season, prefers to be on the field. He admitted to being “a creature of habit,” so holding a helmet instead of wearing one is going to take some time getting used to.

“I’ve also enjoyed throwing. I’ve enjoyed practice, and I said that before. It’s different for quarterbacks than it is for defensive tackles and offensive guards. You got pads on but you don’t need them, you’re not using them,” he said. “I enjoy throwing routes on air, 7-on-7, the team drills, so it’s hard, it’s had watching.”

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Less is more: Arizona Cardinals QB Carson Palmer not throwing in OTAs, not yet