QB Watch: Cardinals' Carson Palmer

September, 18, 2013
9/18/13
1:30
PM ET
A weekly analysis of the Arizona Cardinals' quarterback play:

Rewind: Carson Palmer put his veteran leadership on display against the Lions with his 14th fourth-quarter comeback. Yet Palmer’s best pass on that game-winning drive didn’t even count. Knowing the Lions liked to face guard, Palmer threw the ball perfectly so Andre Roberts had to backtrack a step and was able to draw a pass interference penalty. Palmer also struggled on third down, going 1-for-11. He finished with 248 yards on 22-of-39 passing.

Palmer
I predicted Palmer would turn in the same type of game in Week 2 as he did in Week 1 if he was given the time, and I think he came up a tad short. He was missing players high and wide, but he led the Cardinals to a win.

Fast-forward: Palmer and Cardinals coach Bruce Arians will see their closest match in Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. He’s creative, like Arians, and will devise a scheme to confuse Palmer. He already has thrown a few curveballs this season, such as not lining up any down linemen. Palmer also can expect to see four or more safeties more often than he has this season, which may open up the underneath pass out of the slot.

Deep bound and down: Palmer was 1-for-6 on passes of 20 yards or longer, according to Pro Football Focus, which is the bread and butter of the Cardinals’ offense. Arians has six deep plays to use every game. The Saints are vulnerable deep down the middle and on the right side, where they gave up all three passes that direction this season for 76 yards.

Prediction: Palmer will find the seams in Ryan’s defense and spread the ball around to a host of receivers to distract the Saints from Larry Fitzgerald. Palmer will throw for 300 yards again and three touchdowns.

Josh Weinfuss

ESPN Arizona Cardinals reporter

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