Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer did do enough to want to pull your hair out at times on Sunday in the 22-6 victory over the Carolina Panthers. He was frustrating to watch at times. I’ve seen one of our writers and another media outlet describe his performance as “shaky”. You know what though, they won. Am I in denial of the quarterback issues facing this team? No, but I also try not to belabor a negative when the team has just won another big game.
Yes, you can thank the Cards defense for the win for the most part on Sunday, but I do think the ball control the offense showed in the second-half on Sunday played a big part of keeping Carolina off the scoreboard and becoming the third Cards opponent to be shut out in the second half this season. I’m not about to go throw Palmer a party for getting the win but I’m also not about to go label him as the worst quarterback in the league and I’m certainly not ready to replace him as the starter as so many feel like they should do now. My question to you is why?
Why when your team is 3-2, no matter how you got there, would you want to put another quarterback in the starting position? Sure Drew Stanton probably knows the offense just as well but he’s Drew Stanton, not Peyton Manning. The issues at quarterback won’t go away with the replacement of Palmer. They still have a “shaky” offensive line and still need better play calling from head coach Bruce Arians. Do you realize they only ran the ball six times in the first half on Sunday? Six! That’s not all on Palmer. Arians calls the plays.
Palmer did force a couple of passes into interceptions. One was a bad read and the other he under threw receiver Michael Floyd at the goal line. Late in the fourth when the Cards could have just sat on their 15-6 lead and settled for a field goal while trying to ice the game, he instead threw a very nice pass to tight end Jim Dray for a touchdown. I liked that. Arians wanted to give Palmer a little confidence leaving the game while at the same time showing he doesn’t just settle for the obvious. You must keep attacking. There was no give up in the offense yesterday. They were going to get it right at some point yesterday.
They had a great 85 yard drive to score their first touchdown of the game. Who led that drive? Yeah Palmer. Sure, running backs Rashard Mendenhall and Andre Ellington played a big part but your leader there is Palmer. So, I can’t in good conscience sit here on Monday morning and crythat the Cards struggled on offense with Palmer. We know how much they’ve struggled the last three weeks. Yes Palmer has been frustrating to watch to say the least. In case you missed it though – the Cardinals WON the game. Yes, it gets tougher and yes Palmer will not be able to get away with the same performance the next four weeks against San Francisco, Seattle, Houston, and Atlanta if he and the Cards want to win. It is a work in progress.
Everyone wants Palmer to be Kurt Warner or Peyton Manning or Aaron Rodgers. He isn’t any of them. He’s not Geno Smith, Blaine Gabbert, Jay Cutler, or Sam Bradford either. He’s an average quarterback fans and media are expecting great things from. He’ll do great things occasionally and things not so great more often. Be happy the Cards are 3-2. Take it and run. I know I am.