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Resiliency At Core Of Carson Palmer

Posted Sep 13, 2017

Especially after Johnson injury, Cardinals need quarterback to rebound after rough opener

Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer scrambles to find a receiver last week in Detroit.

Bruce Arians called Carson Palmer the best quarterback he’s ever been around, in terms of resiliency.

That goes for a bad throw, or a bad quarter, or, in this case, a bad season opener in Detroit. It’s been Palmer’s M.O. since he arrived in Arizona, an outlook not devoid of emotion but certainly absent emotional roller-coasters over a career that has seen poor outings and devastating injuries.

“I think it’s something you learn over time, and you learn how to block things out,” Palmer said Wednesday. “You learn how to better refocus or zoom back in when a bad play happens, or a bad game happens. You’ve got to bounce back.

“You’ve got to get back up, whether it be from an injury, or you get knocked out and you’ve got to come back. Or, like I said, a bad play or bad pass. You’ve got to rebound and come back up fighting.”

The Cardinals need Palmer to fight. He admittedly didn’t play well against the Lions, a misfire compounded with the loss of running back David Johnson for a good chunk of the season.

Palmer, who didn’t practice on Wednesdays the second half of the season last year to preserve his arm and who wasn’t expected to do so this season, indeed was practicing this particular Wednesday (as was wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald.) Arians addressed it, curtly, in his opening statement after practice.

“I set the damn schedule two months ago,” the coach said. “I’m not answering questions about why they practiced. The schedule’s been set for two months, so put that to bed.”

Whatever the reason, it didn’t hurt to have the No. 1 quarterback on the field as the Cardinals try and reformulate the offensive plan without Johnson, a player who accounted for 39 percent of the team’s touchdowns, 72 percent of their rushing yards and 20 percent of their receiving yards a season ago.

Arians said the offense changes “not one iota” with Johnson’s injury – he will be replaced by a committee of starter Kerwynn Williams, Andre Ellington and now-returned Chris Johnson – and while the actual scheme and plays will not, Palmer thinks things “drastically” shift without David Johnson.

“In saying that, we’re not going to sulk,” Palmer said. “Yes, things change when you lose (left tackle) D.J. (Humphries, who hurt his knee) and you lose David like that. Things change. The offense doesn’t change, but obviously when you take away the touches and the effect that those two guys have on the game, things change.”

Arians said Johnson’s injury shouldn’t impact how Palmer plays – “He doesn’t play running back” – pointing out that Palmer has dealt with running back injuries in the past, such as 2015 when Johnson was the third-stringer when Ellington and Chris Johnson got hurt in a game at San Francisco.

Palmer’s game in Detroit was bad regardless of running back. He struggled with accuracy, he threw three interceptions, and said all he saw in video was what he already knew from the game.

After that, he said he couldn’t wait for this weekend’s game in Indianapolis.

“We feed off it,” said Ellington, who added that Arians “hit it on the head” about Palmer’s resiliency.

“It’s not just that he does it for himself. If we make a bad read or a fumble or something like that, he’s the first guy that comes over, make sure (to say), ‘Don’t worry about it. On to the next one. Let’s go.’ That’s great to have as your leader.”

Arians said he was sure Palmer would respond with a good game. Palmer sounded confident in the same. As for approaching his role any differently with Johnson sidelined, Palmer insisted he won’t let it happen.

“You can’t get in a position where you feel like, ‘Oh, I’ve got to do more,’ or make more or make up for the lack of playmaking and the lack of touches that he gets,” Palmer said. “We don’t need Chris to try to play like David. We’ve got to each play within ourselves and play within the system. You can’t sit around and sulk. You can’t feel like you’ve got to do anything superhuman.”

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