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Same Prep For Carson Palmer

Posted Oct 9, 2013

Cardinals remain confident veteran quarterback will bounce back

Quarterback Carson Palmer lets loose a pass with pressure around him during last weekend's game against Carolina.

The results can change, and, like Sunday’s game against Carolina, they might not be very good.

But if Carson Palmer has learned anything after a decade in the NFL, it’s that his preparation can’t change.

“Obviously, you go back and look at yourself from the week before and look at some tendencies or some things you might be giving away,” Palmer said. “You don’t have time to spend any more time and you definitely don’t have an excuse or a reason to spend less time.”

Palmer has not played well of late, with seven interceptions in the last three games. But the last two of those games have been victories, and despite the Cards’ offensive issues, it is clear Palmer will remain behind center as the team embarks on their most difficult stretch of the schedule.

There will be some tweaks in his game, Palmer said, like avoiding the deep jump balls – such as the one intercepted in front of Michael Floyd last weekend – because they just aren’t working enough to have them be worth it.

Mostly, though, the idea is for Palmer to lean on his experience to grind through what has been a bad patch after an impressive debut in St. Louis.

“When you have a player who is relatively unknown, I think sometimes you go through the bumps in the road and you wonder how he is going to respond,” General Manager Steve Keim said. “You wonder if he is ever going to respond. Whereas when Carson doesn’t play particularly well, I still feel confident he has the ability to right the ship and come back and play well for us again.

“I know kind of what drives him, and after the game he had against Carolina, I know he’s the kind of guy who is going to come into the office and put in all the extras and put in the work and try and correct his mistakes.”

Palmer completed 26-of-40 passes for 327 yards, two touchdowns and one interception in the opener. Since then, he has just three TD passes and eight interceptions in four games, his passer rating 58.6.

Protection problems have been a factor. Even when he isn’t being sacked, Palmer has felt pressure more often than the Cardinals would like. Palmer also indicated he is likely trying to do too much – or more specifically, forcing big play attempts – rather than playing conservative, making sure the ball isn’t turned over, and letting punter Dave Zastudil and the defense change field position.

Coach Bruce Arians doesn’t have a problem with check-down passes, he said, but he also knows Palmer must walk a fine line in staying necessarily aggressive.

“You don’t ever want to play scared,” coach Bruce Arians said. “You want to play smart.”

One thing Arians loves about his quarterback is Palmer’s ability to quickly get past the mistakes.

“That’s the silver lining so far is that through the problems, the interceptions or whatever, the lack of offense, he doesn’t get frustrated,” Arians said. “He’s always on the bench with (assistant coaches) Tom (Moore) and Freddie (Kitchens), and going to the next series, and he stays very positive and lets it go.

“A lot of young guys, they keep reflecting and looking in the rear-view mirror, ‘I should’ve done this, I should’ve done that,’ but that’s over with. (Carson) knows how to go on to the next play.”

Like his preparation, Palmer’s ultimate attitude about the offense doesn’t change. He continues to say, as he did as far back as the March minicamp, that the offense is a work in progress and the Cardinals will always be working on it.

And even if discretion can be the better part of valor at times, Palmer also admitted “it’s not natural” to not push offensively every possession.

“When we are all clicking on the same page and there are 11 guys doing everything the right way,” Palmer said, “it can be awesome.”

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