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Tuesday, July 9, 2013
2013 Jaws QB ranking: Palmer 23rd

By Mike Sando

ESPN's Ron Jaworski has ranked the Arizona Cardinals' Carson Palmer 23rd on his list of starting NFL quarterbacks for 2013.

Cardinals fans won't run out and celebrate that ranking, but it's all relative.

As the chart shows, Palmer's recent production stands as a significant improvement over the quarterback play Arizona received from a variety of players under difficult circumstances recently.



I'll offer thoughts from Jaworski below before touching on his rankings for other NFC West quarterbacks separately. Jaworski made these comments for TV, so in some cases he's referring to highlights:
"I thought the Cardinals’ trade for Palmer was an excellent move. He will stabilize the Arizona offense and work effectively with new head coach Bruce Arians.

"There’s a disconnect between perception and reality with Palmer. Many think he throws too many interceptions. He only threw 14 last season in 591 drop-backs. A few are dramatic and memorable; those stick out in people’s minds, shaping an image that’s hard to get rid of.

"And how about this number: 73 percent of Palmer’s throws came when the Raiders were losing, and 70 percent of those throws occurred with Oakland trailing by more than a touchdown. Those were far and away the highest percentages in the NFL. It’s tough to play quarterback that way.

"Palmer still has very good arm strength. He has the mentality of a strong-armed passer, willing and confident in pushing the ball down the field. This throw to Darrius Heyward-Bey is a great example. Arm strength is not throwing it 50 yards in the air; it’s driving those deeper intermediate throws between the defenders.

"Here’s Heyward-Bey, and here’s Ed Reed. Reed did an excellent job reading both Heyward-Bey’s route and Palmer. He started to move before Palmer pulled the trigger. I guarantee Reed thought he had a pick. He didn’t get there in time. That’s arm strength. Palmer can still make those kinds of throws. That ability will fit well in Arians’ aggressive, downfield passing game.

"Palmer will allow the Cardinals’ offense to attack the entire field. He gives Arizona a multidimensional passing game. He reads coverage well. He can beat the blitz. He’s efficient in the red zone. He can execute a high volume of offense.

"I have always liked Palmer. The major concern in Arizona is the offensive line. Palmer is a pocket passer with excellent arm talent, but he needs time and functional space. That’s the unknown as we head into the 2013 season."