Arizona Sports Panel: Is Carson Palmer bound for regression?
On that day, the Arizona Cardinals will report to training camp at University of Phoenix Stadium.
On that day, the team will take part in its first training camp practice.
At that point, the 2016 season will officially begin, as the Cardinals put on the pads and put in the work in an effort to reach Super Bowl LI in Houston.
Until then, however, Cardinals fans will have to fill the void left in their life with…actually, we have no idea what they’ll do.
In an effort to help, we here at ArizonaSports.com decided to put together a weekly series that will see one Cardinals-related question be answered by our esteemed panel of personalities.
This week’s question:
Will Carson Palmer repeat the success he had in 2015, or are the Cardinals bound to see regression from the veteran QB?
Doug Franz, co-host of Doug & Wolf
He’s been better every year he’s been in the offense. Floyd’s in a contract year. Nelson and David Johnson will have a full NFL offseason under their belt. As of now, Chris Johnson is healthy and the O-line is better with the addition of Mathis.
The only way he regresses is if he gets complacent. Not only is that not his nature, but he can easily find motivation in his playoff performance.
Dave Burns, co-host of Burns & Gambo
I expect slight regression from Palmer. So slight that it will largely go unnoticed. His entire arsenal is back, so the learning curve shouldn’t be particularly steep. It shouldn’t take him long to get on the same page as his skill players. From afar it looks like his offensive line is better than last year. If anything, the slight regression could come from the emergence of David Johnson. If he’s everything they believe him to be, perhaps Palmer doesn’t throw quite as much, resulting in numbers that aren’t quite as eye-popping.
Vince Marotta, co-host of Bickley & Marotta
I think he’ll match or exceed his productivity. I also don’t feel Palmer’s play last season was solely a 2015 phenomenon. Since the light bulb switched on halfway through his first season of working with Arians, Palmer has simply been one of the best quarterbacks in the entire league. In his last 31 regular-season starts, Palmer has completed 64 percent of his passes for 8,830 yards and a 62-23 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Oh, and the Cardinals are 26-5 in that span. That isn’t a fluke. And now Palmer is armed with the best crop of running backs the team has had in decades, an offensive line bolstered by three solid veterans and one of the deepest, most dangerous receiver groups in the league.
John Gambadoro, co-host of Burns & Gambo
No it is not possible for Carson Palmer to put up similar numbers to last season. I mean, why should we think he can duplicate 4,671 yards with 35 touchdown passes and just 11 interceptions? He is 36 years old and he has never put up numbers like that before in his career. The passing yardage was his most by 397 yards, the interceptions were by far the least amount of his career in any full season and the touchdown passes the most of his career, besting his previous high of 32 set in 2005! Yes, 2015 was the very best of Carson Palmer’s 12-year career. He stayed healthy, his receivers stayed healthy and he had his career season. He will play well, very well in 2016. But he won’t put up those numbers and to be honest with you, he won’t have to. The Cardinals are better prepared to win without him needing to duplicate those stats. Their running game will be better, offensive line will be better, defense will be better. So yes, a regression in numbers, but not wins.
Craig Grialou, Arizona Sports reporter
Though he’ll turn 37 late in the season, going into his fourth year in the same offensive system, Carson Palmer can only get better. He’s more comfortable, he’s more confident, and perhaps, most importantly, he’ll have every skilled player that scored a touchdown in 2015 back for another year. Of course health will always play a factor, but if Palmer stays upright in the pocket, there’s no reason for him not to duplicate his success from a season ago.
Adam Green, Arizona Sports reporter, co-host Arizona Sports Saturday
It really would not be fair to expect Palmer to repeat what he did in 2015, when he set personal (and franchise) records for yards, touchdowns and QB rating. However, any statistical regression would in my opinion be due solely to him needing to do less, with the emergence of a strong running game and what should be an improved defense. As long as he stays healthy — and I’m not in the camp that believes someone who has suffered some major injuries but has played in at least 13 games in nine of his 12 seasons is injury prone — Palmer should once again be one of the more productive quarterbacks in the NFL.
Paige Dimakos, Arizona Sports social media
As good as Carson Palmer was last season I still see him improving this season. This offseason he isn’t focusing on coming back from an injury; he is fully focused on getting to the Super Bowl. With all the skill players returning in 2016, I believe this offensive unit will only continue to gel under their HC Bruce Arians. The 2016 AZ Cardinals will be a force to be reckoned with.
Jarrett Carlen, producer for Bickley & Marotta
Carson Palmer will put up similar, if not better number than last season. He thrives on proving his critics wrong — the ones who said he was washed up when he came from Oakland, the ones who said he couldn’t come back from injury last year, and now those who say he can’t perform in the big game — and I feel he will come into the season focused and ready. Plus, it helps that he’s had a full offseason to get ready and is surrounded by a treasure trove of offensive talent. The only question is a rebuilt offensive line, but I think that while there may be some new starters, they will be even better than last year. And as we know, when Palmer has time, he plays like an MVP candidate.
Jordan Byrd, producer for Burns & Gambo and co-host of Arizona Sports Saturday
Statistically it’s going to be extremely difficult for Carson Palmer to repeat last season’s success. Palmer had an MVP caliber year that saw him set new season highs for passing yards and touchdowns. But if Carson Palmer doesn’t put up the same gaudy numbers that doesn’t mean it can’t still be a successful season for the QB. With all of the Cardinals’ offensive weapons coming back, the load should be a little lighter on Palmer, especially if the running game can continue to improve. Ultimately, I think Palmer can have another Pro Bowl-caliber season, but the final verdict on whether it’s a success or not will come down to how he performs in the playoffs.
Steve Zinsmeister, producer for Doug & Wolf
Age catches up to every athlete, and while I hate to be the bearer of bad news, the same will happen with Carson Palmer. However, that doesn’t mean he will decline this season. I truly believe Carson Palmer’s performance depends on the development of the new starting center and right tackle. If they turn out to be an upgrade over Lyle Sendlein and Bobby Massie and can keep Palmer standing up, then he could have another amazing season. But if lack of experience rears its ugly head on the offensive line, we may start to see the regression of Carson Palmer sooner than we all hope.
But I’m leaning toward the former.
Andy Greenberg, producer for Off the Edge with B-Train
I’m not sure Palmer can repeat his career year with the Cardinals but that’s not to say he can’t have another great season. It’s not too often we see 36-year old QBs with a serious injury history put together back-to-back All-Pro campaigns so if the question is “Will he regress?” then my answer is yes. We’ve seen QBs lose their skill in an instant and while Palmer’s mind may be as sharp as it’s ever been, his body may not be able to keep up for a 16-game season.