Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians and general manager Steve Keim have just gushed about Carson Palmer's ability to throw the deep ball. In 2012, the Arizona Cardinals were awful at it. A recent ESPN fantasy football roundtable cited a terrible stat -- the Cardinals had the lowest completion percentage for passes thrown over 20 yards, and that Larry Fitzgerald had a total of two (TWO) catchable passes thrown at him over 20 yards.
So what has Palmer done? In 2012, he was 14/60 for 551 yards, five touchdowns and three interceptions, a passer rating of 72.3. In 2011, He was 20/50 for 701 yards, seven TDs and four picks, a passer rating of 93.8.
The collection of the Cards QBs last year combined for 11/60 for 352 yards, three scores and four picks. That is a passer rating of 40.4.
In contrast, the Indianapolis Colts took a lot of shots down the field. Andrew Luck was 36/98 for 1136 yards, nine TDs and six picks, good for a passer rating of 86.1. (Side note -- Arians said once that he goes into a game with six bullets and will use them all. Luck threw the ball deep 98 times, which is an average of 6.1 times per game. Interesting.)
For Palmer, there was a dropoff last year from 2011. This seems to support what critics are saying -- his skills have diminished; that he no longer has the arm strength to run Arians' offense.
However, considering who his receivers were, it makes it hard to judge.
The question remains -- will he be able to be productive down the field? He has the weapons. He should get plenty of shots (think at least six times a game). Will he be more like his 2012 deep passing, or more like 2011, or will he be more like how Andrew Luck performed in 2012?
The numbers confirm the concerns. The team leadership is saying the tape says otherwise. Which will prove to be correct?
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