Is it time to start worrying about Carson Palmer?

Sep 26, 2016, 7:32 AM | Updated: 4:18 pm
Buffalo Bills cornerback Stephon Gilmore (24) runs with the ball after intercepting Arizona Cardina...
Buffalo Bills cornerback Stephon Gilmore (24) runs with the ball after intercepting Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) during the second half of an NFL football game on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)
(AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)

There is not a more scrutinized player on the Arizona Cardinals’ roster than Carson Palmer.

As the quarterback, he basks in the glory of wins and has his performance raked over the coals after a loss.

It’s undeniable that Palmer has provided some of the best quarterback play in the long history of the Cardinals franchise. It’s also undeniable that his last seven games have left a lot to be desired.

Sunday’s 33-18 loss to the Buffalo Bills was the latest head-scratching performance by the 36-year-old. Plagued by inaccuracy and communication issues with receivers, Palmer completed 26-of-50 passes for 287 yards and four interceptions — all coming in the final 6:40 of the fourth quarter when the Cardinals were attempting to climb back into the game.

“Disappointed in the way we played, disappointed in myself and the way I played,” Palmer said following Sunday’s loss. “But there’s a lot of football left, there’s 13 games left. We have a big division game at our house next week, so we need to find a way to improve and if there’s one thing this team does, it’s work hard.
We’re going to get back to the grindstone and we’re going to pound it out, figure out ways to improve and get ready for a good football team coming to our place.”

You can make a very compelling argument that Palmer was one of the best quarterbacks in football over a 30-game stretch from October of 2013 to last December. Of course, that time was punctuated by a torn ACL that wiped out a good chunk of the 2014 season and derailed the Cardinals’ playoff hopes. But even after returning, Palmer was sharp and effective.

Completions Attempts Yards TD INT Comp % QB Rating Record
672 1,042 8,701 61 22 64.49 101.3 26-4

In the late stages of a Week 15, division-clinching win over the Philadelphia Eagles last December, Palmer hit his finger on the helmet of a defender while delivering a pass. The rest of the season, the quarterback had his right finger heavily bandaged and denied that the injury was affecting his play.

The fact of the matter is, he hasn’t been the same quarterback since. In the seven games since that night in Philly, Palmer’s numbers don’t look like they belong to one of the elite quarterbacks in the league.

Completions Attempts Yards TD INT Comp % QB Rating Record
127 223 1,575 10 11 56.95 73.8 3-4

That’s right, the Cardinals have lost as many games in Palmer’s last seven starts as they did in his previous 30.

Even people who claimed Palmer’s finger was the culprit for lackluster play late last season can’t claim that now, as it’s been nine months since it happened.

There are plenty of players responsible for the Cardinals’ disappointing 1-2 start to the 2016 season. Carson Palmer is near the top of the list.

If he can find the chemistry with his receivers that has been present for most of his time in Arizona, the Cardinals will be fine. If not, this season will go down as one of the most disappointing in this sport market’s history.

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Is it time to start worrying about Carson Palmer?