ESPN.com’s Mike Sando: Injury concerns hold Arizona’s Carson Palmer back in rankings
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer is no stranger to rankings and accolades.
The former Heisman Trophy winner is now winding down towards the end of his NFL career.
ESPN.com writer Mike Sando’s panel of 35 voters still think Palmer is a solid quarterback, as they rank him as the 15th-best in the NFL.
Sando told Bickley and Marotta of Arizona Sports 98.7 FM that Palmer is quickly gaining favor among league circles despite being on the tail end of his career.
“He would be higher than (15th) if he didn’t have the injury issue,” Sando said.
Palmer suffered a torn ACL that limited him to six games in 2014. He was 6-0 in those starts, and is 13-2 in his last 15 starts for the Cardinals.
No matter his success as a starter in Arizona, having a 35-year-old quarterback coming off a second torn ACL is too much for some to look past.
“Every conversation was tinged with, ‘How’s the knee? What’s he going to look like?'” Sando said. “People want to know, ‘Is he going to hold up?'”
Sando said Palmer has been a solid addition to Arizona after time spent with the Cincinnati Bengals and Oakland Raiders.
“Everyone acknowledges that Arizona did really well by getting him,” he said. “He’s a guy with a unique background. Think of what he did in Cincinnati. How many guys would have done that?”
Palmer threw for 1,626 yards and 11 touchdowns in six games for Arizona last season. He’s thrown for 35,365 yards and 224 touchdowns since being selected first overall in the 2003 NFL Draft.
Last season’s Cardinals were the third playoff team Palmer has been a part of. He did not play in Arizona’s divisional round game against the Carolina Panthers last season due to injury.
Sando added that other quarterbacks’ playoff success can unfairly boost them over Palmer, who has never won a playoff game.
“It complicates it a little bit when you have a someone that’s not a great quarterback that wins a couple Super Bowls and plays well in the playoffs like (Joe) Flacco and Eli (Manning),” he said. “They’re guys who haven’t been consistently great every year but they play their best ball (in the playoffs) and won titles. Russell Wilson gets a lot of credit doing that and he deserves that.”
Sando said top-tier quarterbacks such as Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Ben Roethlisberger are guys whose “teams are winning because of them week after week.”