We’ve reached the end of the 2013 NFL regular season. The Cards came up a game short of the playoffs but that is more than most of us could have expected at the start of the season given all the unknowns. There was a lot of turnover on the roster and none bigger than where the help was needed most at quarterback.
The Cardinals had decisions to make in the off-season as how to approach the quarterback position going forward. They had to decide on which, if any, quarterbacks they would carry forward from the 2012 group, which by all accounts, wasn’t very good. Kevin Kolb, who didn’t play horribly when he did play but he couldn’t stay healthy and so when he was healthy, he had little room for error. He was costing the Cards too much. John Skelton was not the answer. Ryan Lindley, a rookie in 2012, still had promise, so he was retained as the third quarterback going into 2013.
The big decision though was whether to draft a quarterback or go find one via trade or in free agency. The free agent market was awful. The draft class wasn’t that impressive. That left finding a veteran quarterback who was ready to move on. They found that guy in Carson Palmer who was done with the Oakland Raiders. The Cards made the move to get him.
You ask a casual fan and they will probably tell you Palmer was awful and they should get rid of him now. If you ask a die hard fan who has a little more football knowledge and they’ll tell you Palmer, despite his 22 interceptions in 2013, was the right guy at the right time for the Cards. No, he wasn’t Kurt Warner but he also wasn’t Derek Anderson. Palmer was the stop gap veteran quarterback this Cards offense needed.
Palmer threw for 4,274 yards and 24 touchdowns. He had a 63 percent pass completion rate. He was sacked 41 times but not all were his fault. It was still a 17 sack improvement over how many times the 2012 quarterbacks went down. He’s not the most mobile quarterback but he does show great footwork at times.
Going in 2014, I still see the Cards keeping him as the starting quarterback. Drew Stanton probably remains the backup. However, this doesn’t mean the Cards won’t use the draft to get their franchise quarterback. If they do find the right guy in the draft, then most likely Lindley is the odd guy out next season. I have no issue with the Cards keeping Palmer as the starter next season. I don’t care how many interceptions he threw. The fact is, he led his team to 10 victories. Yes, the defense was a big part of that but you only win by putting the right number of points on the board.
I was most impressed with Palmer in the fourth quarter of games. He led the game winning drives in Tampa Bay. He did it in Seattle. He led an almost comeback in Philadelphia. He led them back from 17-0 down in the final game against San Francisco. He makes his mistakes but more times than not he came back to redeem himself. All of those games I just listed he made mistakes that either put the Cards in a hole or kept the game close. He’s a fighter though and that’s all you can ask for. Every quarterback will make his share of mistakes. It’s what you learn from them that makes you who you are.