But there was still plenty he could work on, according to ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski.
In the latest rendition of Jaworski’s quarterback big board, Palmer dropped one spot to 20th because “he still made too many mistakes for a veteran quarterback.” Jaworski also wrote that “there were some games where I didn’t know where he was throwing the football.”
It seems to be a fair ranking for Palmer, who threw 22 interceptions compared to 24 touchdowns, when taking his entire body of work last season into consideration. Palmer was once considered an elite quarterback, but he’s not in that category anymore and that’s apparent in Jaws’ ranking. Palmer was rated behind quarterbacks such as Tony Romo, Andy Dalton, Jay Cutler and Matthew Stafford -- all quarterbacks Palmer can pass, in my opinion, with a better 2014 showing.
Jaworski criticized Palmer’s decision-making, which was under siege throughout the season, especially through the first eight games.
He struggled -- along with his teammates -- during the first half adjusting to Arians’ scheme. Palmer improved in the second half, along with his decision-making, throwing just eight interceptions to 14 touchdowns, and became a top-6 quarterback during that span, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
One stat that Jaws noted was Palmer’s nine third-down interceptions, second most in the NFL and tops in the NFC. Palmer also struggled on first down, throwing eight interceptions, the second most in the NFC. Both need to improve for Palmer to move up the board and for Arizona to move into the playoffs.
But for all his criticism of Palmer, Jaws also talked about Palmer’s strengths, writing Palmer “remains a tremendous anticipation thrower and has a really good feel for the passing game. He will throw it into man coverage and give his guys a chance.” One observation by Jaws stood out. He said even though Palmer made too many mistakes last season, he knew where to go with the football. The mistakes were a product of the learning curve with Arians’ offense. The kinks should have been ironed out during the offseason and the progress building off of 2013 is expected to start immediately. Training camp will be a true indication if either happened.
Jaws believes Palmer will improve in his second year under Arians. It’s a fair and expected assessment.