Dealing Cards: Carson Palmer spinning the hits, offensive line reinforcements

Oct 4, 2017, 9:22 PM | Updated: Oct 5, 2017, 9:34 pm
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) is sacked by San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle D...

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) is sacked by San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle DeForest Buckner as linebacker Dekoda Watson (97) pursues during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

TEMPE, Ariz. – No quarterback has been sacked more times, 17, than Carson Palmer. That’s not really the statistical category any team wants to see its signal-caller sitting atop of, and the Arizona Cardinals are no exception.

Palmer also leads the league in times hit, 43.

“You never want to see your quarterback get hit that many times,” head coach Bruce Arians said.

In each of the past two games, Palmer has been sacked six times. And he was hit a season-high 16 times by San Francisco. Yet, asked Wednesday how he was holding up, Palmer didn’t hesitate.

“I feel great,” he said, before adding, “Today’s Wednesday, so. I would’ve had a different answer on Monday, but I feel great.”

Palmer added, without getting into specifics, he’s developed a pretty good routine when it comes to recovering from Sundays. Still, no amount of recovery will be able to withstand this amount of punishment.

To his credit, Palmer has always maintained it’s not the number of hits but the kind of hits.

“It’s those awkward ones, for every position whether you’re getting tackled as a running back or a receiver,” he said. “Those odd injuries come from the way you hit the ground oddly and then the way you get landed on top of oddly, that’s where those injuries seem to come from.”

Of course, that’s easy for him to say. For everyone else, the number of hits Palmer takes is always a big deal.

“The wife always focuses on everyone,” he said, smiling.

Welcome back Earl Watford

Out of work for the first time in his career, offensive lineman Earl Watford stayed busy; mostly working out hoping the phone would ring soon. It did.

On Tuesday, the Cardinals re-signed Watford, their former fourth-round draft pick who had signed a two-year, free-agent contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars in the offseason but was released just before Week 1.

The Cardinals could use the help, especially given the number of offensive linemen banged up at the moment.

“When you’re unemployed, you kind of watch everybody, so I kind of followed what was going on everywhere,” Watford said. “Just glad they called me here.”

Last season, Watford played 15 games with a career-high 10 starts, seven at right guard and three at right tackle. His versatility earned him the nickname, ‘Swiss Army knife’.

“I’m excited, I’m ready,” he said. “Whatever they ask, I’m willing to do.”

It’s good, Watford added, to just have a job once again.

“It is very strange, very uncomfortable (watching football from home),” he said. “I did not like it at all. It’s not a fun time. It just sucked not playing football.”

Another offensive line boost

Asked who is starting left guard would be at Philadelphia, Arians shook his head.

“Don’t jinx me, please,” he said. “Hopefully, it’s Alex (Boone). He practiced today, he’s going to practice tomorrow. Hopefully, we don’t have a Thursday like we had last week. We had two guys (D.J. Humphries and Mike Iupati) practicing and at the end of the practice, they both got re-injured.”

Boone, who had replaced Iupati at left guard in Weeks 2 and 3, missed last week with a pectoral strain, forcing rookie Will Holden into the starting lineup.

Boone was listed as limited on Wednesday’s injury report. Humphries (knee) did not practice. He’s expected to miss another week, maybe two. Also not on the practice field was defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche. He continues to be bothered by a calf issue.

And though wide receivers John Brown (quadriceps) and J.J. Nelson (hamstring) were each limited, Arians sounded encouraged by the work they did get in.

“They feel better this week, at this time of the week,” he said. “We’ll still monitor their reps, but they look like they’re progressing each week now, not going down.”

Palmer is sneaky

Twice now this season, Palmer has taken the snap from center and run up the middle behind A.Q. Shipley to convert a 3rd-and-1. Against San Francisco, he gained two yards in the fourth quarter.

“That comes from the sideline,” Palmer said. “We’ve been in some, it seems like third-and-an-inch or third-and-half-a-yard and had some good looks to do it. Against some previous teams we talked about doing it and Coach called it in.”

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Dealing Cards: Carson Palmer spinning the hits, offensive line reinforcements