Dec 16, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer (3) gestures against the Kansas City Chiefs at the Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

Carson Palmer: Breaking Down Why He Will Succeed In Arizona

It’s safe to say Carson Palmer didn’t do too well in Oakland. However, he’s poised for lots of success in his new home.

Palmer, who was traded to the Cardinals this offseason, went 8-17 as Oakland’s starting quarterback. The Raiders were in a good position to win the AFC West in 2011, but Palmer didn’t do too well in Week 17 and the Raiders fell just short. Oakland went 4-12 in 2012, and the Raiders decided to head in a different direction with Matt Flynn seizing the reins at quarterback.

Due to the Flynn trade, the Raiders shopped Palmer, and Arizona was able to acquire its next quarterback by trading for Palmer. Palmer was interception-prone with the Raiders, as he threw 30 interceptions in 25 games with the Raiders. However, Palmer’s interceptions should definitely be cut down in Arizona. Palmer throws for a lot of yards and takes a lot of chances, which will benefit him in Arizona.

Why? Because of Larry Fitzgerald.

With a top-tier target in Fitzgerald, Palmer can take chances and not pay for it. Fitzgerald hasn’t been on a team with serviceable quarterback play since 2009, Kurt Warner’s final year. Warner and Fitzgerald went 4-2 together in the 2008 and 2009 playoffs, and the Cardinals were a final defensive stand away from winning Super Bowl 43.

It may be unfair to compare Palmer, who has played in two playoff games, to Warner, but he’s definitely an upgrade over Arizona’s recent quarterbacks. Palmer’s career passer rating is 86.2, which would have ranked 15th in the NFL. Arizona’s 2012 quarterbacks, who averaged a miserable 5.5 yards per attempt and threw 11 touchdowns and 21 interceptions, posted a collective 63.1 passer rating.

So, it’s safe to say that Palmer’s an upgrade at quarterback.

Fitzgerald didn’t have the ball enough due to the abundance of turnovers and inaccurate passes. With Palmer at the helm, Fitzgerald will receive the ball a lot more. Palmer throws the ball into tight windows and knows how to fit the ball in there, and Fitzgerald knows how to catch a ball in any situation; even if it involves taking a deafening hit.

With Fitzgerald and Ryan Swope (who ran a 4.34 40-yard dash and caught 72 passes for 913 yards in 2012), Palmer already appears to be set. The offensive line was a huge need before this offseason, and while there are still concerns the Cardinals are in a much better position there. Jonathan Cooper, the Cardinals’ first-round draft pick who surrendered zero sacks in 2012, will give the Cardinals’ offensive line a huge boost.

Arizona surrendered 58 sacks in 2012, but they didn’t have Cooper or Levi Brown, who was out for the season with a torn triceps injury. The line will definitely be better in 2013, which will benefit Palmer greatly. The offense is stacked with talent, as the Cardinals selected an abundance of offensive players in the draft.

Stepfan Taylor and Andre Ellington were both selected to help the needy running game and support free agent pickup Rashard Mendenhall. Ellington and Taylor can both break tackles, make plays in space and burst through holes, which will make them solid running backs. As long as the two can get going early and force opponents to focus on the run game, Palmer and the rest of the offense will be more effective.

Palmer will benefit from Arizona’s stellar offseason. The Cardinals addressed every offensive hole they had, including quarterback. If Palmer, who posted a marvelous 101.1 passer rating in 2005, gives Fitzgerald and his other targets a chance to make plays, he’ll succeed. In Oakland, Palmer had speedy targets, but they were injury-prone and drop-prone. Palmer was thrown into Oakland midseason, which makes developing chemistry hard.

Denarius Moore, Jacoby Ford and Oakland’s receivers had time to develop chemistry with Palmer in the 2012 offseason, but a lot of the receivers got hurt and nothing went right for the Raiders. However, having a full offseason with Fitzgerald, Swope, Andre Roberts and his new receivers will be a huge help to Palmer.

The Cardinals weren’t a bad team in 2012. They had the 12th-best defense in the NFL and were a quarterback shy of being a serious competitor. For example, the Cardinals lost a remarkably ugly game against the Jets by one point (7-6), but if they had Palmer they likely would have won by multiple touchdowns. John Skelton and Ryan Lindley brought the team down last year, and Kevin Kolb was average at best.

Palmer has the potential to be much better than average, and his supporting cast will allow him to break onto the scene as one of the league’s better quarterbacks. Palmer has big-play potential, as he averaged a tremendous 8.39 yards per passing attempt in 2011. With Fitzgerald, Palmer’s passer rating, passing yards and touchdowns totals should skyrocket, and his interceptions should decrease.


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Tags: Arizona Cardinals Carson Palmer Larry Fitzgerald

  • Ricky Bobby

    You forgot to mention that Palmer was forced into a offensive system in 2011 that didn’t suit his skill set at all. The raiders stayed out of the 2011playoff’s because their Defense failed them. Last Year Palmer had no good WRs in Oakland, Running routes wrong or flat dropping passes. No run game, and even behind a OL that worse than AZ’s in the second half of the season ( Cards OL gave away 19 sacks and ranked 13th in the NFL in weeks 9-17) Palmer still rated 6th n the NFL n sacks-per-drop back. With a shored up offensive line in AZ and having a QB like palmer that reads D’s very well and gets rid of the ball very quickly will help the OL tremendously.AZ had a lot more than Brown out in 2012 , they had 4 out of 5 starters out!!
    As for the offense , they are A LOT better off. They Lost 4 games by less than 7 last year because they had no Legitimate Play at the QB position & RB position. A few more by 14 or less , the 49ers didn’t beat them by more than 2 touchdowns last year , with a good QB this squad would of easily won 10 games Last year. They are ABSOLUTLEY STACKED at RB, Mendenhall was on his way to his 3rd straight 1000K+YD season with 982 before injury in 2011, Last year he healed and will be back 100%. Ryan Williams is very good and will be back 100%. Williams better be careful because he is the only RB that isn’t a good Pass Blocking RB that BA loves , Taylor is ,and he is a very good RB easily could be the #2, Andre Ellington is very good as well and is a good pass Blocker. The Cardinals will easily have a running game that puts up 100 or more yards per game, and they can afford a injury now that wont hurt their game to bad.
    Being that Palmer was in a System that didn’t suit his skills , and he is now in New HC Bruce Arians very QB friendly vertical offense, he will have the whole off season to learn the playbook, He will have the top tier WR’s in this division probably the NFC with Fitzgerald, a guy you didn’t mention our 2011 1st round pick Mike Floyd whos stage is set for big things, Our Slot Receiver who on any other team would be #1or#2 on the depth chart Andre Roberts who is very explosive, and the Burner WR HC BA wanted in Ryan Swope who ran the second fastest 40 time of 4.3 at the combine , and was a Excellent WR at Texas A&M who will be challenging Roberts , He will definitely get snaps this year. This offense in the new system they are Running can very easily be a High Scoring Lethal Offense, Every Facet of our game has been upgraded substantially, Included a shored up OL. With all the Defensive FA signings ,the Draft, and the guys returning, our D should be tough as nails as well, Except this year we have the Offense to Match. If anybody thinks the 2013 Cardinals wont be seriously competing for the Division they are fooling their selves and will be Disapointed when the season gets here. This squad can easily win 10+ games, we will have to wait n see though .

    • Nate Tayloe

      You forgot Byrd. Who has potential to be a poor man’s Fitz with the same measurements and similar combine results. Less strength, but still a freak athlete

      • Ricky Bobby

        I was referring more to the Starting Receiver’s on the Slot, he is a good WR and does add a lot of depth the group. STL doesn’t come close to what this offense is going to Produce. WRs typically don’t come on strong till there 2nd-3rd Year and they are going to be asking way to much out of first yr players Austin and Bailey, their key receiver’s. They also don’t really having any standouts at RB. Palmer will have the Best group of WR’s in the NFC between 2011 1st round Pick Floyd, His stage is set for Big things this Year. Fitzgerald is a Beast and will be back to regular form. Andre Roberts is explosive and #2 WR easily on a team with a less talented group of receivers like STL for example. Ryan Swope will be our Bigger Faster version of Welker in the Slot, he has great hands and put up the 2nd fastest 40 time @ the combine, He was stellar at Texas A&M. Palmer also has a running game to keep the Chains Moving with Mendenhall,Williams,Taylor and Ellington. Williams better put on a show and stay healthy because Taylor is a perfect , a grinder. He set Mutiple Stanford school records and PAC 12 records , As did Ellington at Clemson, and they are both great pass blockers like Mendenhall, BA was definitely looking to the Future when he drafted them. I fully expect the Cardinals to contend in this division , they are not ready to win it but can definitely take a WC, especially is 3 teams from the west make the playoffs. With the top tier D and a Explosive Offense they can win 10+ Easy.

      • Baily Deeter

        True. I think Swope and Byrd will both step in and play well, although Swope is likely to play in the slot.

    • Baily Deeter

      Exactly. The Jets game would have been a 35-7 win with Palmer, and the Cards would’ve probably won eight with Palmer. At least one of the RBs will emerge and help Palmer, and Fitz will continue to do well. Swope is also a guy who has potential, and he will be a good sidekick to Fitz. 10 will be hard, but I say 7-9 or 8-8.

      • Ricky Bobby

        If they went 7-9 or 8-8 id be disappointed. They went 8-8 in 2011 with Skelton at the Rains Most of the Year. They are a Different team now, Far better QB in a system that fits him a lot better than Whiz’s did Kolb, they have upgraded at the RB Position, and they have Floyd who I really think will do a lot this year with a good qb , as well as Roberts , Swope , It will be fun to see what Fitz and Palmer can do. New HC and all the coaches down to OL coaches are a upgrade as well this year. I think they will beat rams twice this year , I think offensively we are better than the rams, Way better group of Receiver’s and the only rookie is swope, and a more talented group of RB’s, We will be good defensively as well. If they can beat the rams twice and go 4-2 in division play , at worst 3-3 , if they play to their talent they can reach a WC. O well only time will tell, Great Article by the way!!

        • Baily Deeter

          You covered it all. Thanks for commenting and thanks for the praise!

  • Kevin & Ogi Campbell

    The Cardinals are going to be the biggest surprise team in the NFL this year. Palmer must be licking his chops with so much talent around him. And the gravy on top is a defense that will get him the ball back over and over again. I would not be surprised to see the Cardinals win 10 games.

    • Baily Deeter

      I wouldn’t either; they improved a lot over the offseason. Thanks for commenting!

  • Matthew Peary

    Someone should proofread this article again. LSH isn’t with the Cardinals anymore.

    • Baily Deeter

      My bad; thanks for the correction! I meant to write Mendenhall, but my fingers didn’t want me to.