Carson Palmer is going to surprise a lot of people this year. Probably including himself.
Not only does Palmer have good long run statistics, he plays at a consistently high level, and has for years, he is FAST (click to read the stats).
One of the most significant statistic for Arizona about Palmer is how fast he gets the ball out. His average time is tied for 4th fastest in the NFL, and it is the quickest in the ENTIRE NFC.
Fractions of a second matter in football. Fractions of a second give the defence extra time to react to the offence, and time to rush the QB. They mean the O line have to pass protect for longer.
A faster QB means the following things
- MORE pressure of the oppositions defence
- LESS time the O line has to pass protect for a good pass
- LESS pressure on the QB from sacks
Palmer is also relatively consistent regardless of when he gets the ball out - including those deeper passes we will be expecting this year.
There are some interesting pieces of information in that PFF article, such as the average time Kolb had last season before a sack was 2.3 seconds. Kolb's average release time was 2.84 seconds. So that meant on average that for Kolb to not get owned, the O line would need to protect for an additional >= .54 seconds than they were already capable of to give him a good chance to get the ball out.
What this means is that Arizona's O-line doesn't need to improve to 4+ seconds of pass protection per snap. With Carson Palmer, we only need to improve from 2.3 seconds to around 2.6 seconds.
In other words, if the O line can go from bad to average, we should still have a great season.
Now there are a lot of other factors, such as the playbook and calls, ability to run the ball, what happens when boots are actually on the field etc. But I believe this quality of our QB has been overlooked, and it will definitely help the offence this year.