Clean and efficient, Carson Palmer operates Cardinals offense like well-oiled machine in preseason debut

Aug 15, 2015, 11:22 PM | Updated: Sep 23, 2015, 10:55 am
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) throws against the Kansas City Chiefs during the fi...

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) throws against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

If you didn’t know any better, Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer’s play in Saturday’s preseason opener versus the Kansas City Chiefs resembled that of a player in midseason form and without the accumulated physical and mental rust of languishing on the sidelines as a spectator following a season-ending knee injury nearly a year ago.

Which makes Palmer’s performance in his first action since having surgery to repair a torn ACL suffered versus St. Louis last November all the more impressive.

Though he only played one series versus the Chiefs, Palmer played as if he’s been operating the high-powered Cardinals offense without interruption.  His final line: 4-of-4 for 77 yards, with his singular drive spanning seven plays and covering 80 yards, punctuated by a one-yard rushing touchdown by Andre Ellington.

The 12-year NFL veteran summed it up perfectly, calling the series “clean” and “efficient” in the aftermath of Arizona’s 34-19 loss.

“Other than that first run play down on the goal line, it was very efficient, very clean and I thought we executed at a high level,” Palmer said.  “That’s what you want.  You know you’re not going to get many opportunities and many plays, and the ones you do get, you want to execute them and make sure you’re firing on all cylinders and I think we did that.”

They did, with Palmer exuding confidence and poise despite playing on a surgically repaired knee that had yet been truly tested by an opponent wearing a different jersey prior to Saturday.

If he was nervous, it didn’t show.

“It was an exciting couple day build up to it and just excited to be able to play again and fortunate and thankful and blessed to be able to play,” Palmer said.  “But then when I got to the stadium, it was kind of a very focused couple hours before the game and a very focused three or four minutes or however long that drive was.

“Just glad to get the first one out of the way and it didn’t seem like we came away with very many injuries…that’s what you want out of these games, to go out there, execute and be efficient and get away without guys having to miss time.”

In addition to the focus, familiarity also appeared to play a major role in the strength behind Palmer’s outing.  Entering his third year in the Cardinals offense orchestrated by the offensive brain trust that is head coach Bruce Arians, assistant head coach Tom Moore and offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin, Palmer admitted that there’s a level of comfort he hasn’t felt perhaps dating back to his time in Cincinnati.

“I think Year 3 in any system is really a big year for you,” Palmer said.  “There’s not a lot of new faces other than Mike (Iupati) and Jermaine (Gresham) and J.J. (Nelson).  There’s a lot of continuity between our guys and guys have played next to each other for awhile now and been in this system for awhile now and I think we’re right where we need to be.  We’ve done a good job and we’ve got a long way to go and there’s a lot of things we need to clean up…maybe not things that showed up on today’s game film, but just things that have happened in practice.  We’ll just continue to work at it and get better each week.”

For Palmer, his coaches, his teammates and Cards fans everywhere, however, it was a sight for sore eyes to see the hard work and resiliency pay off this week, with an encouraged and hopeful eye fixated on the future.

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer sits on the bench during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Kansas City Chiefs' Chase Daniel (10) throws a touchdown pass as Arizona Cardinals' Josh Mauro (73) defends during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Kansas City Chiefs' Fred Williams (83) smiles as he celebrates his touchdown catch from quarterback Chase Daniel (10) against the against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Kansas City Chiefs' Fred Williams celebrates his touchdown catch against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Kansas City Chiefs' Fred Williams (83) makes a touchdown catch in front of Arizona Cardinals' Gabe Martin, left, during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals' Cariel Brooks (35) tips the ball away on a pass intended for Kansas City Chiefs' Da'Ron Brown (4) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals' Logan Thomas, left, twists out of the grasp of Kansas City Chiefs' Dee Ford, right, during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians watches play during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Kansas City Chiefs' Chase Daniel throws a pass against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Kansas City Chiefs' Frankie Hammond, right, celebrates his touchdown catch against the Arizona Cardinals with teammate Jason Avant, left, during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Kansas City Chiefs' Frankie Hammond (85) makes a touchdown catch as Arizona Cardinals' Jimmy Legree (46) falls down while trying to cover Hammond on the play during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Jaron Brown (13) lies on the turf as Kansas City Chiefs outside linebacker Ramik Wilson (53) runs back an interception during the second half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Chase Daniel (10) throws under pressure from the Arizona Cardinals during the second half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Da'Ron Brown is tackled by Arizona Cardinals linebacker Gabe Martin during the second half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Da'Ron Brown celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals during the second half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) throws under pressure from Arizona Cardinals linebacker LaMarr Woodley (52) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Kansas City Chiefs strong safety Eric Berry lines up against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Line judge Sarah Thomas gestures during the first half of an NFL preseason football game between the Arizona Cardinals and the Kansas City Chiefs, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Line judge Sarah Thomas waits for play to resume during the first half of an NFL preseason football game between the Arizona Cardinals and the Kansas City Chiefs, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Jeremy Maclin makes a catch as Arizona Cardinals cornerback Justin Bethel (28) defends during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Drew Stanton (5) throws against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Kansas City Chiefs running back Knile Davis (34) carries as Arizona Cardinals free safety Tyrann Mathieu (32) pursues during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid calls a play against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Drew Stanton (5) looks to throw against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (87) is hit by Arizona Cardinals inside linebacker Kenny Demens (54) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Marcus Cooper (31) hits Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Jaron Brown (13) as Steven Nelson (20) and Eric Berry (29) defend during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Arizona Cardinals running back Andre Ellington (38) runs the football against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals wide receiver J.J. Nelson (14) is tackled by Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Jamell Fleming during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians talks with line judge Sarah Thomas during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) hands off to running back Knile Davis (34) against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals cornerback Justin Bethel (28) breaks up a pass intended for Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Jeremy Maclin (19) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York) Arizona Cardinals free safety Tyrann Mathieu (32), celebrates his interception with teammates Calais Campbell (93) and Rashad Johnson (26) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Arizona Cardinals free safety Tyrann Mathieu (32) is tripped up by Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) after intercepting a pass by Smith during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) throws against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer warms up prior to the team's NFL preseason football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid, right, and Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians chat before an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald warms up for the team's NFL preseason football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Arizona Cardinals training camp assistant linebackers coach Jen Welter, middle, talks with line judge Sarah Thomas, right, as Cardinals team president Michael Bidwill, left, listens prior to an NFL preseason football game between the Cardinals and the Kansas City Chiefs Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz.  (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) throws against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Arizona Cardinals running back Andre Ellington (38) lunges into the end zone for a touchdown against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals running back Andre Ellington (38) celebrate his touchdown against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Kansas City Chiefs strong safety Eric Berry (29) kisses his mother, Carol Berry, prior to an NFL preseason football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer warms up prior to an NFL preseason football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York) Kansas City Chiefs strong safety Eric Berry (29) is greeted by Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson (21) prior to an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith warms up for the Chiefs' NFL preseason football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)

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