Arizona Cardinals’ John Carlson looks to move on from drops

Nov 7, 2014, 3:18 AM | Updated: 3:18 am

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TEMPE, Ariz. — John Carlson came to the Arizona Cardinals with a reputation for being a good pass catcher, and his performance during training camp seemed to reaffirm just that.

However, since the regular season began he has caught just 18 passes, with his handful of drops garnering the bulk of the attention — especially after a shaky performance in Dallas Sunday, where his three drops overshadowed his first touchdown of the season.

Cardinals coach Bruce Arians was asked if the drops were a concern.

“Yeah, because the guy’s got great hands,” he said. “The one in the end zone, he’s pushing and the guy knocks his hand. I’m just glad he knocks it down, to tell you the truth, because I thought it was going to be intercepted.

“The screen pass on the 10 was a walk-in touchdown. He never drops those balls. I think it’s more of a forcing thing than a lack of concentration.”

Carlson, who has caught 195 passes for 2,090 yards and 15 touchdowns over the course of 5.5 seasons, agreed that it has nothing to do with his approach to the game.

“I don’t know,” he said. “Obviously I’m trying to catch the ball. It’s not attention or mental preparation or anything of that sort. But that’s our job, to make plays, when the ball comes our way. I didn’t do that well enough on Sunday.”

If there’s a silver lining to Carlson’s first-half struggles it is that for all intents and purposes, the offense has been good enough anyway. There’s no doubt a greater impact from the tight end position would go a long way, but a lack of production from that spot has not exactly held the offense back.

And with regards to Carlson, who has been targeted 14 times over the last two games, quarterback Carson Palmer said he wishes he could have thrown some of the passes better to give the tight end a better chance to make a catch. On other throws, he said defenders have just made great plays. Regardless, the quarterback is not worried about the tight end.

“John is a vital part of this offense,” he said. “He’s been phenomenal. He’s always a threat. He’s great in the run game, great in the pass game, and I hope to get him the ball.”

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