Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer talks to the media Thursday about his knee rehab and getting back on the field.
The "funk" is long gone for Carson Palmer.
Sure, his wife may bring it up now and again to the Cardinals quarterback – "She reminded me of some different things, some things flew past me that I needed to apologize for," he said – but that emotional time when Palmer was crushed by the reality of his torn knee ligaments has passed. Now it's an optimistic Palmer who rehabs every day, still hoping to take part in at least some of the offseason on-field work.
There is no question in his mind he will be ready for the start of training camp. And no question he will be ready to lead the Cardinals behind center for 2015.
"I started being able to sweat and work out again and really feel like I was training for football as opposed to just doing leg extensions and calf raises and things
that feel monotonous or silly at the time," Palmer said Thursday when talking about his rehab.
"The last month or so has been fun again."
Palmer is running and cutting. He throws five days a week. The shoulder that troubled him early in the 2015 season has been fine, he said. He still has a plan to take part in at least some of the Cardinals' offseason work, whether it be organized team activities or the mandatory minicamp in mid-June.
Coach Bruce Arians has said multiple times he'll be careful putting Palmer on the field but said at the recent Scouting combine that if Palmer is cleared to play, he'll get some reps. For Palmer, who said he's always been a "rep guy," he just wants to be on the field and it's up to Arians and the training staff to pump the brakes.
"I think I'm ready to go out and do everything but I'm not and I know I'm not deep down," Palmer said. "You just feel good and you want to do more and more."
Apparently that goes beyond just what he was doing on the field. Palmer also dropped a little news during his media session, acknowledging that he had agreed to restructure his contract "about a month ago" to help the Cardinals create more cap room. His deal has not been changed yet and may not – to do so would create more dead money on the Cards' cap in the future. But it provides General Manager Steve Keim something extra in his back pocket if he would suddenly need more cap room in free agency.
Even with the news defensive lineman Darnell Dockett was signing with the 49ers Thursday didn't squash Palmer's bright outlook for the season. The Cardinals made sure Larry Fitzgerald is returning and there are other players aside from Palmer who could still restructure as the team tries to make a Super Bowl push
"(This team is) as good as I've been on and we're only going to get better next week (when free agency starts)," Palmer said. "The trust and faith you have in Steve and his whole crew, and Bruce, to bring in the right guys for the right spots. We have a good group and all they try to do is add."
"We know we have a shot," Palmer added, "and there are a lot of teams that don't."
Palmer said he knows there are defensive questions marks with new coordinator James Bettcher and the departure of Dockett and possibly others. It could mean the offense will have to do much more, and that, Palmer said, is fine with him.
"I enjoy that part of it, that challenge," Palmer said. "That's what we were saying last year, there was all that talk of losing Karlos Dansby and what are going to do, and we were pretty good on defense last year and we expect to be pretty good on defense this year. But I kind of like going into a season thinking, 'Alright, we might have to score 35, might have to score 'x' to beat these teams.' It's a great way to go into an offseason because it puts a lot of pressure on you."
Images of QB Carson Palmer.