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Monday, January 27, 2014
Shorter the better for Palmer in ‘13

By Josh Weinfuss

TEMPE, Ariz. -- When coach Bruce Arians was hired last January, he had visions of going deep.

On his play sheet, he would say, had "six bullets." Meaning, Arians had six plays of 20 yards or longer he wanted to use every game. If executed perfectly, Carson Palmer would've aired it out almost 100 times in 2013.

He didn't quite reach that mark.

The longer the pass, the more Palmer struggled, according to data from ESPN Stats & Information. He threw 69 passes of 20 yards or longer (about 4.3 per game), completing 20 of them. And of his 25 passes of 31 yards or longer, he hit on six.

By Week 5, the struggles were obvious. Arizona had thrown 20 deep passes, connecting on three of them. During the final 11 weeks, Arians continued calling for "bullets" at about the same pace, averaging about 4.45 per game.

Passes of 31 yards or longer yielded just one touchdown for Palmer, who excelled in short passes.

In throws of 10 yards or less, he was fifth in the NFL going 257 for 359, or 71.6 percent. He had 12 touchdowns and seven interceptions. But once his passes went beyond 10 yards, the risk of them getting intercepted went up.

From 11-20 yards, he threw eight interceptions compared to six touchdowns. Palmer had seven interceptions and six touchdowns on passes 21 yards or longer. And on throws that went 31 yards or longer, he had five interceptions.