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Carson Palmer, Bruce Arians Delay Sunset Ride

Notes: Larry Fitzgerald's future less certain; Holder carousel; Hitting incentives

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Cardinals coach Bruce Arians (left) and quarterback Carson Palmer have both pledged to return in 2017.


In the first three seasons of the Bruce Arians era, discussion of "next year" waited until January because the Cardinals were always in the playoff hunt.

That speculation has gotten a jumpstart with the team officially out of playoff contention, but some of it has already been put to bed. Arians and quarterback Carson Palmer have stated in recent days they are returning in 2017 despite health concerns for Arians and a down season for Palmer.

When Arians was hired, he equated himself and Palmer to a pair of cowboys waiting to ride off into the sunset.

"That sunset ride, them horses ain't ready to go yet," Arians said Tuesday.

The Cardinals will play out the string these last two games before turning their focus to 2017. There will be a boatload of unrestricted free agents to consider, but the first focus will turn to star wideout Larry Fitzgerald and his future.

While he leads the NFL with 98 catches, Fitzgerald has repeatedly been noncommittal about whether he will continue playing beyond this year, even after signing a one-year contract extension through 2017 in training camp.

"Like every year, the same team never comes back," Arians said. "Obviously he would be a big part of it, not coming back, if he decides to retire. I hope he comes back."

Palmer has not brought up the future with Fitzgerald, instead preferring to talk Christmas presents, but isn't above making a pitch when the time comes.

"You always try to convince guys, but guys need to make a decision, regardless who it is," Palmer said.

Pete Carroll is one person convinced Fitzgerald will play next year. The Seahawks coach told the Arizona media there is "no chance" Fitzgerald hangs it up. Carroll's reasoning is that Fitzgerald is still playing at a high level.

"I think he's just going to keep battling," Carroll said. "He's still playing great football. Ninety-eight catches. Shoot, he's going to have a 100-plus for the season. He's got too much football ahead of him."

HOLDER CAROUSEL HAMPERS CATANZARO

Chandler Catanzaro is judged by whether his kicks split the uprights, but little attention is paid to the intricacies of the hold. While errant snaps are obvious, there is a certain way the Cardinals' third-year kicker prefers the ball angled on his kicks.

That attention to detail has been a challenge this season as the Cardinals have cycled through three holders. They started with incumbent Drew Butler, switched to Ryan Quigley, went back to Butler and are now using Matt Wile.

Catanzaro, who has made only 16-of-22 field goal attempts and missed four extra point attempts, admitted the changes have affected him.

"I'm not going to lie, the change in holders is tough," Catanzaro said. "There have been three holders this year and two snappers, and they've all come in and done a great job. I've tried to get as comfortable as I can with them during the week. It's been tough to trust on game day. That's not on the snappers and holder at all – like I said, they've done a great job – but a lot of stuff has happened out of my control."

ARIANS HAPPY TO HELP PLAYERS REACH INCENTIVES

When he was an offensive coordinator, Arians was glad to assist players trying to reach performance-related bonuses built into their contracts. There was one time a running back told him he was close to surpassing a needed threshold.

"We basically had taken everybody out of the game," Arians said. "It was the last game of the year. He said, 'Coach, I need four yards for my incentive.' I said, 'Well, get in there.' Head coach wasn't too pleased, and he couldn't add because he needed 44 yards."

Arians said the requests are fewer now that he's the coach, but he's still willing to help.

"If guys have them, I'd like to know," Arians said. "Just tell me and I'll do what I can to make sure you get paid."

HUMPHRIES REMAINS IN CONCUSSION PROTOCOL

Arians said left tackle D.J. Humphries remained in the concussion protocol on Tuesday. The first official injury report of the week will be released Wednesday.

Rookie cornerback Harlan Miller participated in his first practice as a member of the active roster and Arians said he might play against the Seahawks. Cornerback Ronald Zamort was added to the Cardinals practice squad following Miller's promotion.

Images of Cardinals running back Kerwynn Williams carrying the ball 49 yards for a touchdown



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