QB Watch: Cardinals' Carson Palmer

September, 11, 2013
9/11/13
9:00
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A weekly analysis of the Arizona Cardinals' quarterback play:

Palmer
Rewind: Despite a 27-24 loss that saw a few third-down blunders against the Rams, Carson Palmer looked good in his debut with the Cardinals. He finished with 327 yards and two touchdowns on 26-for-40 passing for a quarterback rating of 96.6. There were a couple of areas where Palmer would like to improve, but for his first game in a new system, the future looks promising under coach Bruce Arians.

Palmer exceeded most of my expectations from last weekend (250 yards and three touchdowns), targeting Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd and Andre Roberts 29 times out of his 40 attempts.

Fast-forward: Palmer’s best friend against the visiting Detroit Lions could be the short pass. Sunday, the Lions allowed 12 short passes to the left side of the field and six more to the right in a victory over Minnesota. Palmer and Fitzgerald could benefit on short outs -- which have become one of Palmer's favorite plays to the All-Pro receiver -- against a Detroit defense allowing about eight yards per pass play. Also expect Palmer to continue finding Roberts across the middle, an area Palmer looked to 20 times last week.

Quick trigger: Palmer had just 2.23 seconds to throw against the Rams, according to Pro Football Focus, and he still came away with more than 300 yards. He was pressured on 15 of 44 drop-backs and blitzed 17 times. When not blitzed, he was 19-for-23. If the offensive line can give him a few more seconds, Palmer can wreak some havoc.

Prediction: If Palmer isn’t running for his life, he’ll turn in the same kind of game as in Week 1. He’s got the arm to produce in this offense -- the question will be if he gets the time.

Josh Weinfuss

ESPN Arizona Cardinals reporter

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