A few years ago, the Arizona Cardinals picked up a cast away quarterback in the form of former Super Bowl MVP, Kurt Warner, to back up the various quarterbacks from Josh McCown to Matt Leinart. It took the Cardinals some time, but they soon realized that Warner gave them their best chance to win. After plugging him into the starting lineup, Warner quickly produced wins, the NFC crown and a Super Bowl XLIII appearance. However relevant Warner made the Cardinals in 2008, coming into the 2013 offseason the organization has a lot of unfamiliar faces in the building.
Gone are head coach Ken Whisenhunt and starting quarterbacks John Skelton and Kevin Kolb. To replace Whisenhunt, the organization brought in 2012 Coach of the Year, Bruce Arians, and to run his offense, Arians brought in former two-time Pro Bowl quarterback Carson Palmer.
Known as a quarterback whisperer, Arians’ resume includes working with Peyton Manning as his first quarterback coach as well as operating in tandem with Ben Roethlisberger as the Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator. Mostly recently, Arians instructed the Indianapolis Colts and Andrew Luck in his offensive philosophy. For the first-year Cardinals head coach, he has the veteran Palmer out in the desert with him. A former first overall pick of the Cincinnati Bengals in 2003, Palmer is known for his arm strength which has produced career numbers that include 29,465 yards in the air and a passer rating 86.2.
It’s been well documented that Palmer had two sub par seasons with the Oakland Raiders even though he showed flashes of past brilliance in the process. Going into his first training camp with the Cardinals, Palmer is the assumed starter. Along with Palmer, the Cardinals currently have three other quarterbacks on the roster in second year man out of San Diego State, Ryan Lindley, 6’5” rookie from Purdue University, Caleb TerBush, and journeyman Drew Stanton, whose most recent stop was a backup roll in Indianapolis.
But let’s be real here; the 300 pound gorilla in this article is Larry Fitzgerald.
Quarterbacks don’t last long in the desert if they can’t get the ball to arguably one of the top five receivers in the league. In order for Palmer to succeed in a Cardinals jersey, he needs to keep his eyes down the field rather than over his shoulder at the backups. The Cardinals’ position of strength on offense is their wide receivers, and if Palmer has time in the pocket, his accuracy and arm strength should result in the chains constantly moving down the field. Now, if the Cardinals haven’t solved their offensive line problems or if Palmer turns the ball over, expect to see Stanton, whom Arians has gone on the record and stated that he was very high on, inserted into the lineup.