Offseason already ? Unfortunately yes. I would think that the first thing that an organization would do on day 1 of the offseason is evaluate the Quarterback position. In the NFL, it all starts with and ends with the Quarterback position. In the Cardinals case, they will need to start with Carson Palmer.
Carson Palmer: 6' 5" and 235 Pounds of mind numbing interceptions, excellent leadership and great toughness.
Given what we now know about Palmer though; it would be very difficult to replace him in the draft or in free agency this offseason. With that in mind, I think the Cards will need to move forward with the expectation that Palmer will be the quarterback for the Cards in 2014 and we will get the Palmer we seen in the last half of the season; not the first half. I do have to say that Palmers leadership and toughness have been his most admirable qualities in his game this year. A reflection of the coaching staff ?
Playing behind Palmer is Drew Stanton. Remember the guy everyone wanted to replace Palmer in the first half of the season ? Stanton is an interesting situation. We don't know a lot about him as it relates to on field performance but if you look behind the scenes a bit, you get a feel for what type of quarterback he could be. Stanton was the 43rd overall pick in the 2007 NFL draft by the Detroit Lions. He went to Michigan State and actually finished with a better passer rating than that of the great Tom Brady. Stanton has only played in 12 games as a professional quarterback in the NFL, during his 7 year career. His best game as a pro came against the Tampa Bay Bucs, posting a 62% completion rate for 252 yards, 1 TD and 0 INT's. Stanton has been stuck playing behind Matt Stafford, Andrew Luck and now Carson Palmer but BA thought enough of him to bring him to Arizona from Indianapolis and proclaim his confidence in Stanton as a potential 2013 starter. Stanton appears to be one of those old school quarterbacks that have spent years on the sideline developing and I don't think that happens unless you have what it takes to be an NFL quarterback. I went to most of the training camp practices at UofP this year and what I saw I liked in Stanton. I thought that he actually outplayed Palmer in TC. Knowing BA's offense from their time together in Indy could have had a lot to do with that though.
Ryan Lindley: 6' 4" and 230 pounds of big arm, inaccuracy, inexperience and excellent work ethic.
The 3rd quarterback on the Cardinals roster is Ryan Lindley, who we saw struggle when he was thrown into the fire as rookie by the previous regime. I was actually surprised that they kept Lindley on the roster but I guess they just weren't ready to give up yet on the young quarterback. I think for some good reason as well. Lindley certainly has an NFL arm and NFL body. Lindley has a great work ethic as well. I worked across from the Cardinals training facility in Tempe and always saw Lindley there, more than any other player, during the offseason. While I was still very unimpressed with Lindley's accuracy in training camp, I was extremely surprised and impressed with his performance in the 2013 preseason game against Denver. He showed me in that game, that he has a chance at being a starting quality quarterback in the NFL.
The Cards might actually know what they are doing in developing quarterbacks this time around. The owner and GM put an emphasis on the desire to develop that position. They hired BA as head coach and Tom Moore as assistant head coach; both who have been labeled as quarterback gurus within NFL circles. Steve Keim mentioned that they decided to forgo the drafting of a quarterback in 2013 because they felt the signing of Drew Stanton was that guy to develop. Also to their credit, they found a way to keep Lindley on the roster when most ( including myself ) had already thrown in the towel on that draft pick. They have setup the quarterback group quite well actually with an Experienced quarterback in Palmer leading the charge for a couple years while the sideline experienced Drew Stanton continues to mature and the late round draft pick develops under two of the best quarterback gurus in the NFL.
I think it's going to be very tough for a 2014 quarterback draft pick to crack the top 3 currently in the locker room and unless there is an extremely talented QB that falls past the 3rd round; I see that the Cardinals are likely satisfied with how they have structured their quarterback room and development program. You can see how Stanton could follow Palmer in 2015 and Lindley follow Stanton 4 or 5 years later. If the coaching staff can work their magic, we may be more stable at quarterback than ever before.
Given BA's statements before the season "we have one of the best quarterback rooms in the league"; do you agree with him ? Do you still think the Cards HAVE TO draft a quarterback this year or can it wait ?