Dealing Cards: Carson Palmer laments missed chance on deep ball
GLENDALE, Ariz. — Carson Palmer got his first taste of preseason action this season, completing 4-of-8 passes for 39 yards.
He led the Cardinals to a touchdown on his first and only drive of the game, a 14-play jaunt that was aided by a pair of Oakland penalties and finished with a 12-yard touchdown pass to Brittan Golden.
“It was just fun to play,” Palmer said after the game. “It’s been a while since last year, so it was fun to get back on the field.”
Palmer’s stay on the field was about as brief as anticipated, given how earlier in the week Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said the plan was for his starters to play about 15 snaps. While Palmer’s ended in points, the quarterback acknowledged he was not perfect.
The most glaring miscue came with the Cardinals facing a second-and-six from the Raiders’ 46, when he faked a handoff and threw deep to an open Jaron Brown, only to have the pass sail a bit long.
Sometimes missed connections are on the receiver, but in this case, the QB took all of the blame.
“He did a great job,” Palmer said of Brown. “I just missed him.”
“He was perfect,” Arians said of his receiver on the play. “He (Palmer) just put a little too much juice on it.”
Palmer said the deep ball is a constant work in progress, noting they never feel perfect. The work will be a season-long thing, he added, but feels like completions should be easier to come by when a receiver is as open as Brown was on that play.
“He did such a good job of getting open,” Palmer said. “We’ll continue to work it and we’ll get it right.”
Given that Palmer and the first-team offense had but the one series, improvements will have to wait another week. The one pass aside, Palmer was efficient in the game, picking up where he left off at the end of the 2016 season.
In fact, he just wishes he had more time to play Saturday, saying he wanted to “kind of redeem” himself for missing Brown on the deep ball.
“I didn’t get that chance,” he said. “I’ve got to wait until next week.”
A taste of right tackle
One of the more underrated storylines of this camp and even the season is Jared Veldheer’s transition from left to right tackle. Though he has been working at his new spot for a while, Saturday was his first chance to man the position in a game-type setting.
“It’s just one of those firsts,” he said after the game. “It was good to go over and to be able still block guys on the other side.”
Arians said he will have to watch the film in order to judge his line play, but Palmer praised the pocket he had to work with on his one drive.
“I don’t know if I had anybody around me at all, so it was great,” he said.
For Veldheer, Saturday offered a chance to finally get to playing the position rather than think about it, with the game-like reps giving him a chance to just play.
Previous experience at the position, albeit in practices, helped prepare him for the role.
“I get to go against really good rushers during the week, and I think that really helps,” Veldheer said. “Because it didn’t seem like I needed to speed anything up, slow anything down. It just felt like I could take what I’ve been working on in practice and do it in a game.”
And because of that, nothing really surprised him.
“It’s like, OK, I’m just going to go out and do the best I can,” he said. “(Let the) chips fall where they will.
“It was favorable, so that was good.”
Ellington given a chance
Never before has Andre Ellington faced a more important training camp and preseason than this one, and against the Raiders, the fifth-year running back made his mark.
Ellington was second on the team with seven carries that he turned into 20 yards, while he also led the team in targets with six, and receptions with four. He tallied 31 yards on his four catches, and afterwards said he felt things went alright.
“It was a little flashes of what I’m capable of,” he said. “But far from good enough. I’ve still got a lot of work to do, especially in pass-blocking and things like that. Just with technique, make sure I clean that up and I’ll be fine.”
With David Johnson entrenched as the starter and Chris Johnson the likely backup, there is stiff competition between Ellington, Kerwynn Williams and Elijhaa Penny for roster spots. Rookie T.J. Logan’s wrist injury cleared things up a little, but really, nothing is a given in the room.
Asked what he wanted to see from Ellington, Arians on Saturday said explosiveness.
“He’s healthy for the first time in two years, and he showed it on two or three runs tonight and a couple passes,” he said.
Ellington said his mindset is to be an explosive player, making the kind of plays he feels like he is capable of making. He feels like he is making progress in large part because he is healthy.
“Yeah, when you’re feeling healthy you’re able to play free and not think,” he said. “Just go out there and play loose.”
Ellington has the rest of training camp and three more preseason games to prove himself once again.
“Just approach it day-by-day like I’ve been doing,” he said of what’s next for him. “Just come back, go to work when we get back tomorrow and try to get another win for the next one.”