Carson Chats: Gloved Palmer feels the length of Cardinals camp
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:
How do you feel about the wide receivers given your head coach’s recent comments?
“Yeah, I’m excited about the group I’ve been able to work with. I think Larry (Fitzgerald) has had a really strong camp. Jaron Brown has had a really good camp. John Brown had a really good start. He’s been hampered by that injury. Brit (Golden) has been making plays, like you saw last week. I think it’s kind of the backup roles that he’s really been looking for somebody to step up, and as you know they’ve been challenged, and I think that group will step up and start making plays.”
John Brown sounded really discouraged yesterday. Do you have any concerns with him and perhaps how his sickle cell trait may impact his availability this season?
“I mean, he’s a competitor. He loves to work. He loves to practice. He’s extremely competitive and I think anybody once you’ve been — we’ve been in camp for a month, right? I mean something like that. Being injured, being in training camp for a month, wanting to be out there, having to watch other people play your spot and do what you do, has been frustrating for him no doubt. But I don’t know the specifics of the sickle cell. I don’t know how that works. I know John and I know how hard he works. I’ve seen him. He wants to be out there. He’s doing everything he can, but at the same time we’re still — I don’t know how far out but we got a ways to go before we play our first game. He’s such a big part of this offense you don’t want to rush him back to get him into practices. We want him in Detroit and we need him in Detroit, and I think that long-term goal and kind of holding him back a little bit is obviously what the trainers think is best and I believe in what they’re doing.”
Coach said you guys are getting bored with training camp. Is that true?
“Oh, no doubt. A lot of teams are breaking camp and we’ve been in camp a lot longer than a lot of teams that are already breaking camp. So you start hearing stuff like that. You’re in a hotel, eating hotel food for a month. You got a roommate. There’s a lot of things that you got to fight through through training camp. That’s what training camp is. I think it hardens you. It makes you a better team the more time that you spend around each other, but there’s no doubt guys are waiting for next Thursday, counting down the days.”
Is there anything you can do to juice things up a bit?
“There’s no excuse. Those are excuses that we could make but we won’t. It’s camp. It is what it is. You’re playing against the same guys, you’re blocking the same guys, you’re running routes on the same guys, seeing multiple coverages because we’re a complicated defense, but it’s that time of summer right now for us.”
Is there a point where you’re like, ‘I’m over this’?
“Yeah, I think everybody is past that point. Everybody wants to get to the season, but we still have a lot of work to do.”
When was that point for you?
“It’s different for me. I’ve said this many times: Playing quarterback is fun, practice is fun compared to taking double teams and getting tackled and getting hit. I have a different viewpoint. I think all quarterbacks have different viewpoints because you’re not running routes and route after route you’re not getting hit and tackled. I enjoy practice. I look forward to it. I can’t wait for 2 o’clock. I’m not at that point, but I understand why guys are.”
How much did Jaron Brown’s injury affect last season and what might a healthy Jaron Brown mean for this season?
“Any time you lose your No. 2 or 3 receiver that you’re counting on on third down, explosive plays, it always has an affect. But you can’t say enough about how hard Jaron has worked. I mean to be where he is right now. The injury he had — I think we’re at nine months, maybe. I said this the other day, you can’t tell. You don’t know he’s coming off an injury let alone a reconstructive knee surgery. I have very, very high hopes — he’s a 70-80 catch guy in this system and there’s 70 or 80 touches for him if he stays healthy.”
Have you become the guru of sorts for guys who have had knee injuries?
“Yeah, I mean I’ve heard from different sports and guys have gotten my number through my agent or — I don’t know how — but different sports to a lot of NFL guys, young guys that have gone through it. I welcome it. Both times I’ve had the operation I interviewed a bunch of doctors, I interviewed a bunch of physical therapists. I’m very well educated on it for not going to PT school or having my doctorate. But, yeah, I love helping guys because I’ve been through it. I know how hard it is. More than that, in my time, I’ve seen a lot of guys not do it the right way or not have the right care and it ruin their career so I’m always welcome and open to helping out, giving advice whenever I can.”
What do you think about the medical advances in that area?
“There’s no comparison. From the first time I did it in ’07 until I did it in 2014 or ’15 maybe, yeah, just the way you rehab, the operation was completely different, the way they went in and the things they used in those seven or eight years and the things they learned and changed to the way you train right after surgery to the three-month period, the seven-month period, the 10-month period. Completely changed.”
Against the Bears this week is there anything you want to do better than last week?
“Not specifically. There’s always things in practice, different things that I know are on the script that I know I need to clean up, whether it’s footwork or ball handling or read-progression, whatever it may be. But as far as this week, it’s really along the same lines as being efficient. I want to go out there and be efficient, be where I need to be with my eyes and my reads. Technically, those are all things you’re always working on so they’re never perfect but I think efficiency is my number-one goal and our goal in our room on offense.”
There’s a fine line between getting reps and being healthy for the season. Is that true of David Johnson because of how much he means to the offense?
“I don’t want to see him get the ball at all. Personally. I want to see him get the ball in Detroit. You guys see it every day in practice. I mean the plays in makes and the jump cuts and the catches. I’ve seen a ton of it and so far this preseason there’s been some ‘oohs’ and ‘ahh’ moments so getting him to the season is of the utmost importance.”
So when he gets nailed over the middle on that one play last week do you wince a little bit?
“Yeah, but like B.A. (Bruce Arians) said. He’s built for that. You don’t want to see anybody get hit like that, no doubt.”
Has Byron Leftwich brought anything different as a coach versus his time as an intern in the quarterbacks room?
“Well, perspective. Just a totally different perspective. And it’s not just because he played in the NFL, it’s because he played in this system in the NFL and knows this system. He was in this system at the end of his career when he had the most experience and probably was his smartest football wise during his playing career because he experienced so much in different systems. His opinion of reads and knowing how difficult certain things are and how to make certain things easier has been really good for us.”
Where would you like to see the offensive line get better?
“I’d like them to stay healthy. That was something we all wanted to see but things happened unfortunately. We hit that injury bug up there but the most important thing is availability and those guys staying healthy. It’s dumb luck if you stay healthy. There’s nothing you can do. Those guys train extremely hard. They all take care of themselves. I think Jared (Veldheer) is kind of the premier example of how to stretch and your diet and your lifting regime and your sleep and recovery. They have such a great role model. Guys like (Evan) Boehm and even A.Q. (Shipley), who is a little younger. That’s such a great role model to see for D.J. (Humphries). D.J. has gotten away with so much athletically for so long and to have a vet like that at a young age right when you come into the league and have that example has been huge, and it will be huge for his career. The best thing that those guys can do is to be available and we’ve been very fortunate so far.”
How much better has J.J. Nelson been compared to last season?
“He went in to Seattle and was covered by one of the best in the game and ripped off a 100-something yards. He’s made plays against the best defenses in the NFL. He’s won 1-on-1 matchups. I think confidence-wise not knowing you’re really going to play and then getting forced in there and then being a starter and then doing it and performing and making touchdown catches and big plays on third down, red zone catches, all the things he’s done. I think that’s been great for his development and his confidence.
You wore a glove on Monday. Is that something you plan on doing for the season or was it just a one-time thing?
“I don’t know. I like to kind of tinker with things. I’ve done it before in the past a number of times on both hands, right and left or one of the other. Just kind of seeing how I like it. I ended up doing, I think, the last two games last year so I’m just experimenting.”
How does it help on the left hand?
“Just better grip. It’s kind of cheating. Those things are so sticky now. Just better grip on the ball.”
Is it hard to throw the ball with a glove on the hand?
“I’ve done it before in below zero temperatures with 30-40 mph winds. It helps you spin it a little bit. Personally, I feel like you lose a little bit of touch but depending on the weather there’s some situations that it can help and so that’s why. It’s August, so I like kind of tinkering with things right now and if we go to Philly and we have a crazy wind game, weather game, whatever it may be, it’s something I have experience with.”