Sports Illustrated: Cardinals surrounded Palmer with a good situation to win games

Dec 21, 2016, 3:37 PM | Updated: 8:15 pm
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)...
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

The Arizona Cardinals were just officially eliminated from the playoffs with their loss to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, as that defeat dropped them to 5-8-1 on the season.

It’s a disappointing season and some might blame Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer.

Sports Illustrated’s Greg Bedard might be one who believes Palmer is less a victim and more of a cause for Arizona’s struggles. He thinks the Cardinals had enough weapons around Palmer that the team should have won more games.

Bedard placed the Cardinals ninth in his rankings of best NFL supporting casts — that, from judging pass protection, the run game, the weapons around the QB, coaching and the defense.

Volume and the talent of David Johnson definitely make the running game look better than it is and the weapons as a whole haven’t held up their end of the bargain this season, but this is still a good situation. Bruce Arians has one of the more creative attacks but both the offensive line and an aging Carson Palmer have let Arians down, although he should have done more to help his QB.

Bedard listed the Cardinals as having the fourth-best defense in the league and the fourth-best coaching staff. He ranked Arizona ninth in the weapons category.

But Arizona has not done much in pass protection (24th) or in the run game (19th) despite Johnson’s numbers, according to the SI writer. Moreover, Palmer himself hasn’t kept pace with his level of play from a year ago.

By ESPN’s QBR (21st) and by Sports Illustrated’s Most Valuable Quarterback rankings (26th), the Cardinals signal-caller has struggled.

A year after being near the top in both categories, Palmer lands in the bottom and some of it has been his own fault.

Palmer has thrown 22 touchdown passes and 3,694 yards through the air so far this season. He’s tied for seventh in the league with 13 interceptions.

Palmer has remained healthy for most of the season but was forced to miss only one game because of a concussion. However, Drew Stanton led the Cardinals into San Francisco and got the win in the game Palmer missed, so when the starter has played this year, Arizona is only 4-8-1.

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Sports Illustrated: Cardinals surrounded Palmer with a good situation to win games