Coming off an NFC Championship appearance in 2015, last year NFL.com’s Dave Dameshek ranked Arizona’s trio of Carson Palmer, David Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald as the fourth-best set of triplets in the NFL.
During that 2015 season, Palmer had career-highs in passing yards (4,671) and touchdowns (35). Johnson, in his rookie season, ran for 581 yards and added 12 total touchdowns despite starting just five games. And Fitzgerald grabbed a career-high 109 receptions for 1,215 yards and nine touchdowns.
Now, coming off of a 7-8-1 record, things have changed.
Dameshek released the same, updated triplet rankings from last year and with the Cardinals still having the same three representatives, their ranking dropped to 12th.
Johnson is a phenom who, by any measure, is a top-three running back in the league. Fitzgerald is one of the five best wide receivers of the Super Bowl era. And then there’s Palmer, who had a near-MVP season in 2015 … capped by an atrocious NFC title game that seemed to leave him (and the team) with a year-long hangover. Time to get over it, Carson — or it’ll be time for Arians to move on.
Despite the rankings drop-off, the Cardinals trio didn’t necessarily have a poor 2016.
Palmer and Fitz’s stats were very similar from their 2015 campaign, and in the case of Johnson — he blew his rookie season out of the water.
Palmer saw his positional rank of 6th last year fall to 17th this season after he threw for 4,233 yards, 26 touchdowns, 14 interceptions while getting sacked a career-high 40 times.
Johnson, the No. 2 running back, moved up three spots from his 2016 ranking. An All-Pro last year, he had a NFL-high 2,118 yards from scrimmage, including 1,239 rushing yards and 20 total touchdowns.
Fitzgerald moved down just one spot to 19th. Last season, the 10-time Pro Bowler reeled in league-leading 107 receptions for 1,023 yards and added six touchdowns.
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