Quarterback Carson Palmer listens to instruction between offensive linemen Cole Toner (61) and Mike Iupati (76) during Tuesday's organized team activity.
How Carson Palmer's offseason plan of rest came to be is still murky.
Palmer: "We talked quite a bit about it and as you know, (Bruce Arians) can be quite persuasive."
Arians: "This was kind of (Carson's) idea this time. I asked him, 'When are you going to work?' He said, 'I've got a plan.' I said, 'Perfect.' "
The genesis of the plan, coming off Palmer's Wednesdays days off the second half of the 2016 season, means little compared to the plan itself. The idea is to make sure the Cardinals' starting quarterback is able to play at a high level throughout the 2017 season at age 37.
"I don't think I've done a great job the last eight or nine years of my career … I've treated the last eight or nine
years like I was 24, 25, 26," Palmer said. "You've got to adapt. It's difficult for me to do. It's just not natural to not throw. You feel like you're missing out because you don't get to throw, but we're going to stick with the plan."
The plan is for Palmer to throw at the end of offseason work. Arians said that meant the final three of the scheduled 10 OTAs, and then the three days of mandatory minicamp, encompassing May 31 through June 8.
It's an extension of the Cardinals' midseason switch last year to rest Palmer during Wednesday practices. Then, Palmer said, Arians had to convince him – during the bye week -- to do so.
"I'm a creature of habit," Palmer said. "When you've been doing things since you started playing football in fourth, fifth, sixth grade, it's easy to kind of freak out like that."
But Palmer ultimately agreed with Arians that the day of rest made a difference on Sundays. Palmer did play better the second half of the season. As for cutting back this offseason, "I think it'll make a big difference," Palmer said.
It isn't as much throwing less in May, Palmer added, but cutting way back on the throws he normally would make
in March and April as he prepped for offseason work.
"(Arians) said, 'How many curls do you need to throw in March?' " Palmer said. "I'm looking forward to seeing the benefits of this as the season rolls on."
After a single OTA, Arians said he was pleased with the other four quarterbacks – Drew Stanton, Blaine Gabbert, Zac Dysert and Trevor Knight – while Palmer still took some snaps to hand off. Palmer said he is doing everything he would normally do in offseason work except for throw. That includes strength training and footwork on pass plays.
"I think he's starting to chomp at the bit already though, now that he's seen everybody else out there," Arians said.
Bigger picture, Palmer said he was "mentally, never close" to retiring this offseason. It was about his body recovering, which is why he said he can never know if a season will be his last until February and March of the following year.
His body bounced back this year. Now it's about managing his right arm so it remains productive during the season. Maybe that was his thought, although in the end, the quarterback insists he's leaning on the coach.
"I'm going to trust his expertise," Palmer said.
Images from the first OTA of the 2017 offseason