Bruce Arians and Arizona Cardinals Will Learn, Carson Palmer is No Andrew Luck

By Michael Collins
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

So, the Arizona Cardinals post-Kurt Warner quarterback dilemma has been seemingly (temporarily) solved by the acquisition of Carson Palmer from the Oakland Raiders, correct?

If Lee Corso were here, he’d wave his pencil at you with an emphatic, “Not so fast!”

As if Bruce Arians hadn’t walked into a big enough hornet’s nest in Arizona with a team in more dysfunction than the Jacksons Victory Tour, you add a QB like Palmer to the mix and things could get ugly in a hurry.

During his long career as a college and NFL coach, Arians has had the opportunity to work with some exceptional young talent at the quarterback position, including Ben Roethlisberger while with the Pittsburgh Steelers, and most recently Andrew Luck with the Indianapolis Colts.

Carson Palmer is neither of those guys, and Arians is about to get his first taste of an NFL quarterback diva.

This isn’t to say that Palmer isn’t a significant step-up from either Kevin Kolb or John Skelton, but he’s also a guy who has his own ideas about what he does and how he does it.

Arians is a coach, and an incredibly good one, but some guys don’t want to (or can’t) be coached. From what’s been seen from Palmer over the years, he’s a guy with unlimited potential that seemed to become limited by his own stubbornness. Will a fresh start with a team that needs him be the ticket to unlocking more of that potential? It didn’t seem to help much in Oakland.

The fact is that Palmer is a stop-gap in Arizona. The Cardinals needed a QB that could at least find WR Larry Fitzgerald from time to time, and who’s game tapes didn’t resemble a 30-minute rugby scrum. So Palmer will get thrown into the mix and have some limited success, but the true value of Arians as the Cardinals’ head coach won’t be seen by fans until they go out and get the man who will eventually be their franchise QB.

Here’s where it gets tricky.

The Cardinals are slated to pick seventh in this year’s draft, after their miserable 5-11 season. They could potentially find a decent quarterback with that pick, but the prospects are fairly limited in this year’s draft class. While it’s possible one of the QBs available could end up being what the Cards need, it’s not probable.

So the Cardinals pick in other areas and don’t opt for a QB, leaving the 2013 season for Palmer to direct. Even a mediocre Palmer is more than likely to lead the Cardinals to an eight, nine or even possibly 10-win season, thereby putting them in a position to miss any possible franchise QB’s in the 2014 draft.

Rock–meet hard place.

Sometimes going out and getting a guy like Palmer is a short-term problem solver, but can hinder your progress in the future. Hopefully, Arians can find the balance between the two.


Michael Collins is a Rant Sports Senior Writer, and Atlanta sports columnist. Follow him @GaSportsCraze on Twitter and here on Facebook


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