Carson Chats: Cardinals were resilient, but last season was ‘a trying year’
GLENDALE, Ariz. – Quarterback Carson Palmer, now in his fifth 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 personnel conversations he has with reporters following the morning walk-through:
When you hear people say that where this team goes hinges on your play, what’s your reaction to it?
“That’s been the majority of my life. I’ve been playing quarterback since as long as I can remember and that’s how you kind of grow up in the position. You get, I think, probably a little nervous at first as you’re coming up but you get kind of addicted to it and enjoy it and enjoy the pressure that comes with the position.”
How would you describe your year last season?
“It was just a trying year. It just seemed like injuries kept piling on. You can let injuries frustrate you. You can get mad at it, but when they kind of continue to pile on you just kind of laugh and smirk at it. I’ve said it numerous times that we’ve taken on our head coach’s identity and good teams do that. And his identity is he’s tough, he’s old school, that’s part of the game, you deal with it and we dealt with it. I just think it was a resilient year by us. We lost that last one at home which hurt, but to finish off going to L.A. and going to Seattle and getting wins, I don’t know if it set the stage for this year but it definitely helps momentum wise and just kind of energy coming into the year.”
What does it mean when you reach the 4,000 passing yard mark in a single season?
“I really don’t put much into statistics like that. Four thousand yards can come a lot of different ways. It can throwing the ball downfield. It can be throwing bubble screens like they do in college. I really don’t think much about statistically last year.”
Aside from wins and losses, how do you measure success on the football field?
“At the end of the day, I don’t measure myself at the end of my lifetime as the football player I was. It’s about being the father, the brother, all the different parts of your life. Football is such a small part of it. I don’t listen or think much about all that stuff. I just focus on trying to get better. This is Day 1 of camp. I’m focused on today and not about statistically or wins and losses. I just know that’s how we’re judged as quarterbacks.”
How are you feeling physically?
“I feel great. I had a tremendous July. Really starting since March its been a great offseason, physically, mentally. I’ve been extremely blessed to still be playing the game. I got after it in July. I had a great, great July. I listened to people around me that were pulling back the reins and I listened to the number of throws, the overworking—I heard all that. I absorbed it and I implemented it into my plan for July and June. But, it’s been a great offseason.”
Can you feel the affects of having had rest as you started throwing more?
“Yeah, I’ve been playing for so long and you get so ingrained into throwing in March and April and May and June and then not to do it is just odd. It just feels like something is wrong, but like I said I listened to the experts like coach (Bruce) Arians. Coach Arians had a number of different quarterbacks; guys that he coached, guys that he didn’t coach that he talked about saving throws and not overworking and not overdoing it and I listened to the experts around me. I’m fortunate to play for a guy like him who is a quarterback expert and Byron (Leftwich) who’s been in this system and knows the system and knows B.A. and knows the practice regime and knows how the season goes. I just listened to all that, absorbed it and adjusted.”
How resistant or accepting were you of these days off in camp?
“I listened to it. Yeah, I’m all in. I listened to their approach, their reasons and I’m all in.”
How different does your arm feel now compared to this time last year?
“It feels a lot different because I was throwing a lot more last year. It’s hard to explain. You just feel better. You feel like you have more zip, more velocity. You feel like you can go out and throw 150 balls in practice, which I’m not going to do. I don’t think I felt that way coming into camp last year so I think just confidence wise there is a little bit of a mental advantage coming into camp, just feeling man, let’s go. I feel like I can practice every single day I feel like I can throw every single route all day long.”
You talked about changing your mechanics footwork, where are you in that process?
“I feel great. I worked hard. Like I said, it was a great, great June and July. I had a chance to really just by yourself or with a handful of receivers to really get the repetitions I needed to where I wasn’t thinking about it and was just reacting.”
What makes Arians so good at communicating with quarterbacks?
“Just his demeanor, his experience. You believe what you hear, you trust what you hear. Probably the greatest strength of his is he doesn’t say one thing in 60 words. He knocks it out in a sentence or two. He delivers a message. He’s very direct. He’s very blunt.”
Do you consider yourself old?
“No. In football years I think it’s perceived once you get to 35 you’re old but if you can still put it on every day and play and work out and train and prepare mentally, I look at it as being experienced and mature.”
How long do you want to play for?
“I don’t know. I’ve never put a number on it. When I got drafted I never said, ‘I hope I get to this year’. You never think you’ll get past 15 years, that’s just a crazy number to think about but if you look at today’s game there’s quite a few guys still playing. I still love it. I still love July. I love the vacation part of July but I also love the preparation part of July. I’m excited to be here. I’m excited for training camp which I think when you really start dreading training camp that’s a good first sign maybe. We’ll see.”
Do you believe the window of opportunity for this team is now?
“I feel like everybody is always saying that. You’re either rebuilding or you’re overly optimistic. I don’t think we’re in either of those situations. I don’t think I’m overly optimistic. I’m just optimistic.”
The expectations were high for this team last year, do you feel like you guys are flying under the radar this year?
“I think so. It’s nice to go into camp and just focus on us and not focus on seeds in the playoffs or first-round byes. We have our goals and it’s the NFC West, it’s a division championship, conference championship and a Super Bowl, but it’s kind of nice not having all the extra hoopla going on and just being able to focus because we have a lot of work to do and a lot of improvements to make.”
Have you read Arians’ new book yet?
“I haven’t had a chance. I thought I’d get a free copy. I’m still waiting on my free copy. I haven’t gotten it yet.”