Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer, here shown earlier this offseason, is healthy and leading pre-camp workouts near San Diego.
Carson Palmer has been doing extra workouts in the dead of the offseason – those weeks after minicamp and OTAs, but before training camp – since he entered the NFL.
This summer is no different, with the Cardinals quarterback finding a spot to throw at a local high school near his house north of San Diego. And on that point, Palmer is adamant – it's no different, even though this time around he is coming off the ACL tear in his knee that prematurely ended his 2014 season.
As it was last year, Palmer has brought wide receiver John Brown to southern California to live with him and work out. And as it was last year, Palmer feels he is throwing well, sharpening his mental game – and feeling no problems with his knee.
"I'm not even thinking about my knee," Palmer said. "I'm still rehabbing just to be on the safe side of things but I don't need to be at rehab. I'm full go in the weight room, full go on the field, and until it's brought up, I haven't thought about what I'm not
doing because I'm doing everything I was doing."
The group isn't large. Palmer knows July is the month where players spend time with family, and workouts often come within the framework of home. That's why Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald runs his workouts in Minnesota, because that is home. It's why Palmer is in California.
But players show. Brown, who is close with Palmer, takes part. Tight ends Troy Niklas and Ifeanyi Momah have been around, as has quarterback Drew Stanton, and Palmer said Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd might still take part. The on-field throws are only part of it; Palmer and the others also work out with Ryan Flaherty and Prolific Athletes, a popular training center with NFL players based in nearby Carlsbad. A few NFL defensive backs, including the Chargers' Jason Verrett and Jahlell Addae , took part too.
There isn't a lot of time left before camp; the Cardinals' "quarterback school" starts in about two weeks. But this is a crucial time to stay engaged, Palmer said, which is why he has always liked putting in such work.
"This isn't the time of the year where we are trying to kill each other or get each other to throw up," Palmer said. "It's about staying healthy, but activating your brain. It's easy to go from OTAs and minicamp and then shut down mentally. It's important to have some refreshers."
What is done on the field depends on the day, Palmer said. The first couple of days are about a focus on pass protections, and how certain plays might "break hot" and the quarterback and receiver must make sight adjustments. Another day is about the no-huddle, two-minute drill and formations. Then there might be a focus on schemes and route concepts.
It can change depending on who is available and how their legs might feel from the previous day's work. Other things can make an impact too – Palmer mentioned a crazy gust of wind that sucked up one of his cheat sheets that had been lying on the field during a throw, blowing the sheet high into the air and off into the distance until no one could see it. In that case, Palmer made due.
"We're trying to get our timing down, trying to learn protections, be on the same page with one another, so we'll be able to play faster," Brown said.
Always a perfectionist, Palmer doesn't have to worry about his knee once the Cardinals reconvene July 31. He doesn't want to worry about the details of the passing game either.
"Once training camp gets going, there is no excuse to make mistakes," Palmer said.
Images of QB Carson Palmer.