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Tuesday, May 21, 2013
'He's going to get hit in the chin a bunch'

By Mike Sando

Carson Palmer was in focus when ESPN's Tim Hasselbeck set expectations for the Arizona Cardinals' new quarterback at the 1:11 mark of the NFL32 video above.

Hasselbeck is predicting more than 4,000 yards and 20 touchdown passes for Palmer. However, he also thinks the team's emphasis on deeper passes will expose Palmer to considerable punishment, a concession he thinks the Cardinals are willing to make as they push the ball downfield.

"Carson doesn't play with the best anticipation in terms of quarterbacks in the National Football League," Hasselbeck said. "He waits for things to develop, holds onto the ball. You get hit when that happens. You get sacked when that happens."

Palmer ranked 10th last season among qualifying quarterbacks in average time before the pass, according to ESPN Stats & Information. He was at 3.37 seconds. Tom Brady was first at 3.03 seconds. The average was 3.46 seconds for 32 qualifying quarterbacks. Palmer ranked eighth in lowest sack rate, taking sacks on 4.4 percent of drop-backs.

The figures for Palmer suggest he does a pretty good job getting rid of the football and avoiding sacks. However, that is not the full story. Andrew Luck ranked first and Palmer third last season in number of times hit while throwing, according to ESPN Stats & Information. The figure was 46 for Luck, 30 for Brady and 28 for Palmer. So, even though Brady and Palmer got rid of the ball more quickly than most, they also took more hits on pass plays when they did not take sacks.

ESPN's quarterback hit numbers reflect only those plays when the QB was hit while throwing, not plays when he was hit after throwing.

Palmer played for the Oakland Raiders last season. His new head coach in Arizona, Bruce Arians, was running the Indianapolis Colts' offense with Luck behind center. Luck ranked 27th in time before the pass (3.76 seconds on average). Luck took sacks on 5.9 percent of drop-backs, right around the 5.7 percent average for the 32 qualifying quarterbacks. Luck also took lots of hits.

Bottom line: Palmer could take quite a few hits even if he does a good job avoiding sacks.