Inside Slant | Notes, Quotes | Strategy and Personnel |
Arians' criticism displeases Palmer
As Bruce Arians was about to head into the locker room at halftime on Sunday, FOX sideline reporter Laura Okmin asked the Arizona Cardinals head coach what the problem seems to be with Arizona's offense. Arians, whose team was trailing 10-3 on the road to Indianapolis at the time, said simply two words.
At the end of the day, Carson Palmer and the struggling offense managed to outlast the Colts 16-13 in overtime, but you could tell the quarterback is beginning to feel a little sour at Arians' ongoing criticisms.
"I'm always trying to play better," he said. "I'm always looking to play better and improve."
Palmer was besieged by unpleasant words from his head coach a week ago during the Cardinals' season-opening 35-23 loss at Detroit, when the quarterback was picked off three times, including once for a touchdown. He was better this time around, passing for 322 yards and one score with only one pick, but Palmer couldn't get anything going early on against the Colts.
It's fair to point out, of course, that he was missing five starters on offense, including the team's best player, running back David Johnson, who might be out until Christmas following left wrist surgery. But the Cardinals were also playing without left tackle D.J. Humphries (sprained MCL), left guard Mike Iupati (triceps), speedy wide receiver John Brown (quadriceps) and tight end Jermaine Gresham (ribs).
Because of all the substitutions and changes to the game plan because of it, Palmer wasn't surprised that the offense struggled right off the bat in Indianapolis the way that it did.
"We were short on a couple personnel groups. We had to change some stuff at the last minute when we realized Jermaine wasn't going to play and we weren't really sure about (tight end) Troy (Niklas)," Palmer said, pointing out Niklas played with a sore hip that left him questionable entering the game.
With Gresham's injury and Niklas being somewhat hobbled, the Cardinals often stuck backup rookie tackle Will Holden at one of the tight-end spots to help block. That also changed the complexion of what the Cardinals' offense usually looks like and affected the play-calling.
"He has probably never done that in his life," Palmer said of Holden. "So there were some just very difficult situations we were in."
During his weekly radio appearance on the team's flagship station, Cardinals general manager Steve Keim said he felt Palmer "played like a lot of the guys on offense; I thought he played up and down."
"There's no doubt he made some critical mistakes," Keim said. "I know Carson, the competitor he is, he's hard on himself. ... But he also made some throws in that game that not many other guys can make. ... In the fourth quarter when we had to have it and come up with big plays, I thought Carson was right on point."
The bottom line in Palmer's eyes was that the Cardinals got a win, even if didn't come with any style points. A 1-1 record is a heck of a lot better than starting off 0-2 and then have the nation's eyes squarely on you this coming Monday night when Arizona hosts the Dallas Cowboys.
Iupati and Gresham should both be available for that game, which will help the Cardinals' offense a ton. With that good news on the horizon, Palmer said the offense "is really not a concern."
"Obviously, we'd like more production, more touchdowns," he said. "But I'm not down or concerned."