A weekly analysis of the Arizona Cardinals' quarterback play:
Rewind: While it might be hard to pile on after a win, Carson Palmer still has a way to go to become the player the front office expected him to be. He’s still making poor decisions on passes, throwing all three of his interceptions inside Carolina territory Sunday. Palmer took the blame and said his performance wasn’t “good enough,” but it’s becoming a broken record. The offense will get it “sooner or later,” Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said.
Boy, was I close this week. I tempered expectations and said Palmer would have 250 yards and one touchdown. Well, he got the touchdown on a very nice drive and finished with 175 yards.
Fast-forward: If the Cardinals have struggled to eat up yards thus far, this might be their biggest task yet. San Francisco’s secondary showed its brute strength this past weekend against Houston. The 49ers are ranked second in passing yards allowed per game and fourth in passing yards allowed per attempt. And to top it off, they’re only giving up 3.7 yards per run.
Not a good sign: It’s one thing for a quarterback to be intercepted when he’s pressured; there are defenders in his face, the pocket collapses and his window to find an open receiver shrinks quickly. But it’s another issue for picks to be tossed when the quarterback isn’t pressured, as was the case with Palmer on Sunday, according to Pro Football Focus. Palmer tried to force too many passes to Larry Fitzgerald, or to make the “heroic throw,” as Arians called it.
Prediction: I’m not expecting much out of Palmer, which, in the end, could be a good thing. I say he will throw for 165 yards and a touchdown but the Cardinals will lose because the 49ers will take advantage of Arizona’s slow start.
Just don’t ask me to pick the spread in the Broncos-Jaguars game.