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Carson Palmer Feels Fine In The Pocket

Cardinals quarterback not fretting over offensive line injuries


Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer might not throw downfield as often with a patchwork offensive line.

After the third question attempting to gauge the fragility of his mind, Carson Palmer knew where the narrative was headed.

Local reporters have determined he will be more piñata than quarterback in Sunday's game against the Saints, taking whack after whack on passing attempts.

The vision is not unfounded -- the Cardinals could be down to their fourth- and fifth-string offensive tackles and a backup guard -- but the veteran signal-caller isn't spending the week cowering in fear.

"I'm not dreading it as much as you guys sound like you're dreading it," Palmer said.

"Whoever is in there is in there," Palmer added. "It's not something I dwell on or think about or worry about. To be honest, I didn't know who was starting on Sunday today, because I'm not focused on it or concerned with it.

"It's irrelevant. What's relevant is me understanding my reads and my checks, getting us in the right protection, getting us out of the right and wrong plays. And everything else that goes on around you, you just can't focus on. I think that's maybe what I have with experience, where maybe a young guy might look at it different, but I've been here before."

Palmer has been sacked 37 times this year, which is well on pace to surpass his career-high of 41 in a season. While the Saints don't have a fearsome pass rush, the injuries have many questioning whether the offensive line can hold up.

Right tackle Ulrick John, a backup thrust into a starting role, joined left tackle Jared Veldheer and right guard Evan Mathis on injured reserve this week with a shoulder injury. D.J. Humphries, who has played both tackle spots and has settled in nicely on the left side, is in the concussion protocol.

The offensive line against New Orleans could feature John Wetzel at left tackle, Taylor Boggs at right guard and Earl Watford at right tackle, a trio with 15 career starts to its name and who lined up as the first unit Wednesday. Coach Bruce Arians may love the no-risk-it-no-biscuit philosophy but even he knows cereal for breakfast will sometimes have to do.

"You've got to do what the guys you have are capable of doing," Arians said. "Obviously there will be some changes. … Offensively, you can only ask guys to do so much."

If Watford plays right tackle, it will open up right guard for Boggs, who has shuffled around the league since going undrafted out of Humboldt State in 2011. The 29-year-old has never started an NFL game, but has kept that dream alive through six years of ups and downs.

"I would have quit a long time ago if I just wanted to be a backup," Boggs said.

Palmer will be smart about how he operates, knowing the limitations of the players in front of him.

"I'll definitely be cognizant of, if one, two and three (receiving options) don't look good, I'm not going to be hanging out waiting around for four and five to get open," Palmer said. "It's not one of those weeks."

The Cardinals are out of playoff contention, but Arians was clear it's not time to shut it down and forget about winning the final three games. Palmer is expected to play throughout, and if the passes are quicker or the drops shorter, it's not being done to protect the future of the quarterback.

"We've got to score points," Arians said. "You can't just sit there and run, run, run, just because that's all you've got. You've got to play. You've got to find a way to score points with the skill-sets they have."

Images of the second-year wide receiver taking a handoff 56 yards to the house against the Dolphins

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