Arizona Cardinals: Carson Palmer will exceed 2015 performance
Arizona Cardinals starting quarterback Carson Palmer is back and ready to win a championship
The NFL is a hard game. There is a reason why teams don’t repeat as champions and if they do they are lauded everywhere. The Arizona Cardinals are looking to win a championship in 2016 and will have quarterback Carson Palmer leading them there.
In 2015, Palmer put up MVP-type numbers. He threw 35 touchdowns against just 11 interceptions. He threw for 4,671 yards. Quite the season for a quarterback coming off a torn ACL just the previous November.
Palmer, who is 36 turning 37 in December, enters his fourth season as the Cardinals signal-caller. He’s shown improvement each year since joining the club in 2013. Many say though he hit a peak, a career-year in 2015 and can not do any better.
Hold up. Sure he can. Palmer has numerous weapons at his disposal, healthy ones at that, as he enters the 2016 season. Is this a guarantee? It sure isn’t.
Palmer, if he stays healthy, will reach 40 touchdowns this season. The Cardinals left Charlotte last season in the NFC Championship game with a bad taste in their mouths, Palmer in particular.
Palmer and the Cardinals fell short of their ultimate goal, winning the Super Bowl. The end goal remains the same. Palmer was back at work just days after losing the NFC Championship Game in January.
This doesn’t mean the path to the Super Bowl is any easier in 2016. In fact, looking at the schedule, it’s tougher. The Cardinals also have to travel a lot more miles in 2016, over 21,000 of them.
He will have healthy receivers in Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd, John Brown, Jaron Brown, and J.J. Nelson to throw to. He also has running back David Johnson, who was quite instrumental in the passing game last season. Johnson caught 36 passes out of the backfield last season in what essentially was a half-season’s worth of work.
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Johnson was a backup until running back Chris Johnson was injured in November. Palmer has Chris Johnson and also another dual threat in Andre Ellington returning.
Also not to be forgotten are the Cardinals tight ends. Darren Fells, Jermaine Gresham, and Troy Niklas all look to improve their 2015 numbers.
This is not to say Palmer won’t make mistakes and continue to throw interceptions. He will. He isn’t perfect and far from it. Palmer’s completed 63.7 percent of his passes last year. His career percentage is 62.7. He has finished higher than 63.7 twice.
Palmer likely will thrown between 10-15 interceptions this season. Some will make you scratch your head and some will just be great defensive plays. Also, don’t base regular season expectations on what you saw in the preseason. That is a whole different beast with a very limited playbook and weapons to use.
His numbers will be MVP-like once again. He has some great company amongst his peers, so no predictions that he actually wins the MVP. He doesn’t need to. Last season proved that.
The true test of course will be in the postseason. Palmer has a lot of doubters and rightfully so. He even has doubters amongst the Cardinals fan base and that is unfortunate but that is how it works when expectations are high.
Palmer will get the Cardinals to the playoffs with improved and career-best statistics. That is when the real fun begins. In Carson Palmer we trust.