Carson Chats: Intelligence, confidence key to Nelson’s game

Sep 20, 2017, 3:43 PM
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) throws during the first half of an NFL football gam...
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) throws during the first half of an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts, Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)
(AP Photo/AJ Mast)

TEMPE, Ariz. – Quarterback Carson Palmer, now in his fifth year with the Arizona Cardinals, meets the media every Wednesday during the regular season.

Here, in this space, with help from the Cardinals’ media relations staff, we’ll highlight many of the key topics and personnel conversations he has with reporters.

On what the extra day of practice does for him personally:

“Yeah, a little bit of rest just gives you a little more time to get ready for our first practice, which is a Wednesday practice on Thursday.”

On if he had different thoughts on his performance after reviewing the Colts game film:

“No. No, I felt pretty much the same about the way we played and about the improvements we need to make and I need to make in particular. Thoughts haven’t changed on that.”

On the ups and downs of playing football:

“That’s the game. That’s the position. Just kind of how it goes when you have great teammates like Frostee Rucker and Jermaine Gresham. There are going to be highs, and there are going to be lows. You’ve got to stay even-keeled throughout the whole process.”

On the comfort level of having RB Chris Johnson in the backfield:

“It’s been great getting him back. Last week was great. He’s got so much experience. He’s been very successful in this system, on this team, with the same guys, for the most part, around him. Obviously, one of the more dominant players in the game in his heyday, and he showed last week that he’s got that explosiveness if you leave a seam, especially on the back side of the runs, or on the front side of runs, he’s going to hit it.”

On if Johnson is the type of player who needs 20 to 25 carries per game to chip away at the opposing defense:

“I don’t think so. Since he’s been within this system with us, he hasn’t gotten 25 to 30 carries a game. Even when he was starting, three years ago, he would still get spelled here and there by David (Johnson) and Andre (Ellington). There’s probably not going to be many games this year where he just gets fed the ball 30 times a game. It could happen. There’s no doubt. He could deal with it, and it’d be great for him, but it’s just not the way it’s been broken out and worked out so far.”

On Johnson’s blitz pickup ability:

“Really good. Really good.”

On if you can tell he’s been playing for a while because of his blitz pickup ability:

“Yeah. I remember saying and talking to you guys when he got here that he knew all of our protections the second day of walkthroughs. Very, very smart. Very few mental errors. For a guy that’s 205, 210 pounds, he blocks like he’s 220, 230. He doesn’t let guys get a big head of steam coming downhill at him and sit right in your lap. He attacks the line of scrimmage and stays out of my way, which is great.”

On if he thought WR J.J. Nelson’s size could be an issue when he first saw him:

“Maybe. I don’t remember back then. Any time you’re slight of build, obviously there’s going to be some things that come up. But, he’s been really durable and really tough. He had the shoulder, I think, his rookie year when he got hit late on that punt return, but for the most part, he has been really durable and done what he did last week, which is make big play after big play.”

On what other things besides speed make Nelson successful despite his size:

“He’s not a one-trick pony. It seems like he may be, but he catches the ball really strong. You’re talking about his slight build, but he catches the ball with really, really strong hands. He’s really smart. He sees defenses unfold. He’s got a lot of plays where they’re built, post-snap reads where he runs one of three routes. So, he’s really, really intelligent. I said it the other day, he’s one of those guys that when the lights come on, he makes plays. He’s a big playmaker.”

On if he or other teammates have gotten on Nelson for being so quiet:

“Quiet? I don’t see J.J. as being quiet. He’s very talkative. He may be quiet around you guys, but he’s talkative in the locker room, especially when I’m making fun of him. I don’t see that. I don’t see that side of him.”

On Nelson’s confidence growing after last week’s performance:

“Yeah, he’s had a lot of after-the-catch big plays. In Seattle, he had one or two big plays that were kind of quick slant-type throws. He is a threat, there’s no doubt about it. But, he can also throw the brakes on you and run comebacks and digs. He’s fluid in and out of the top of his routes, so he’s a complete receiver in my eyes. Confidence-wise, I don’t see it really fluctuate much with him. I kind of feel like he knows he’s a big-play-type player and expects to make the big play. So, I don’t see ebbs and flows to his confidence. He seems pretty consistent to me.”

On if there are a lot of players in the NFL with legs his size:

“Geez, you guys are all over him today. I’ve got to stick up for my guy. I saw him squatting 225 (pounds) on Monday or Tuesday.”

On how a guy his size survives:

“I don’t know. There are a lot of guys. You look at body types throughout history, and there aren’t many big, muscular, muscle-had, meathead-kind of guys that have been really successful. There have been. There have been a handful, but there have been a lot of guys that don’t look like David Johnson but play like David Johnson, and are fast, fluid and smooth. J.J.’s just fast and smooth. Leg size, I haven’t really measured his legs recently, but he runs a lot of routes. He’s got great endurance. Like I said, he was just squatting 225 with a buddy on Tuesday, or maybe it was last week. I just look at the film he puts out and the practices he has, and I’m proud of the way he’s playing.”

On what WR Larry Fitzgerald does off the field that allows him to keep playing at a high level:

“You’d have to ask him. I’m not sure of all the little tricks. I know he’s got some tricks up his sleeve. Some he’s told me that I don’t know if you want to give away all your secrets. I sure don’t. But, he’s a professional. There’s no doubt. You guys all know that. He takes great care of his body. He works extremely hard. He doesn’t come in, work and go home and do nothing. He’s always doing things for maintenance and staying on top of little things.”

On why it was tough for Fitzgerald to get involved in the offense in last week’s game:

“There’s a handful of doubling-type situations. That’s going to be par for the course for him. People are going to focus on him, especially with some of the injuries we’ve had outside. But, we’re always cognizant of trying to get the ball in his hands. You want to. You just don’t want to force it

On what he thinks of the Cowboys defense after what the Broncos did in last week’s game:

“It’s going to be different. I’m not sure what’s happening injury-wise. I saw one guy leave with a concussion and another guy with a hamstring (injury), another guy with another injury. So, they’re going to be probably down on bodies. Maybe like we are, but it’s a very solid defense. The front is really good – two of the better linebackers, maybe two of the best, with Jaylon (Smith). He’s young and I remember watching him play in college. He was all over the place, and I remember thinking at the time, ‘This guy is unbelievable.’ He’s showing that now on film in just a couple games and a little bit here and there in preseason. Secondary-wise, they’ve got some youth. They lost a lot of guys from last year from a good unit. But, it’s a very, very good, solid defense. They’ve changed things up. They’ve sat back and kept everything in front of them. They’ve pressured some games. They played man some games. They’ve changed it up quite a bit, so we’ve got to be ready for all of it.”

On if it’s bad for the Cardinals that the Cowboys were beaten badly in last week’s game:

“Beat so badly? Yeah, I don’t know. I don’t ever judge a team off one game. The other game, they looked pretty good in that New York Giants game. I’ve never judged a team, or a player, off one bad performance. This is a very, very good group that’s coming off a tough loss on the road, and they’re getting to play on Monday Night Football on the road, and we’ll be ready.”

On what he can do to help himself when he’s getting pressured and hit on his five-step drop:

“Well, get rid of the ball. Always getting the ball out of your hands is always a good thing for those guys.”

On if he’s had enough time to do that in those situations:

“Yeah, sometimes. Sometimes, you just don’t. Sometimes, a player makes a play on the other team, and that’s part of it. Sometimes, we make the play. Sometimes they do. Typically when you win, like we did, you’re making more plays than they are, and that was the case last week.”

On T Jared Veldheer having struggles switching to the right side of the offensive line:

“I don’t think so. I love him. He was my blind side for a long time, and now he’s on my front side. Like I said, bad plays happen. You miss some guys when they’re open. You throw interceptions. Guys are going to get beat in one-on-one situations sometimes. That’s the game. There are good players on the other side of the ball too. I couldn’t be happier with him on my right side and Wetz (John Wetzel) came in and played really good on the left side. We’ll continue to get better and I know it.”

On how much momentum transfers game to game:

“No, you see teams that are on win streaks that lose all the time. Confidence is big, but as far as picking up where you left off, that’s what you want to do, but momentum changes from the first quarter, second quarter, third quarter, from week to week. We’d love to keep it going, but we’re not counting on that. We’ve just got to go out and execute.”

On what’s different about Monday Night Football:

“Obviously, like you said, you’re not getting up at 8:30 (a.m.) to get to the stadium by 10:00 or 11:00. You have an extra day to prepare. You have a little more rest. You have a little fresher legs.”

On whether the stage is different and whether that matters to the team at all:

“Yeah, a lot of people watch the games that aren’t on national television, too. It’s obviously special. Monday Night Football is something we all grew up watching, I’m sure. That is extra special. As far as preparation and all that, you get a little more time to prepare and a little more time to rest up.”

On what challenges a team faces after spending four weeks on the road:

“Yeah, that was a long time. It seemed like longer than that too, but it’s just good that we finally get a chance to play in front of our crowd, on our grass. I know our fans will be ready. There’ll be a bunch of Cowboys fans there too, I’m sure. But, it’s been a long four weeks, no doubt.”

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Carson Chats: Intelligence, confidence key to Nelson’s game