Entering 2013, after the Arizona Cardinals traded for quarterback Carson Palmer, ESPN analyst ranked the NFL starting quarterbacks and had Palmer ranked as the 19th best starting QB.
It is 2014 and Jaws' quarterback rankings are out again. Palmer dropped a spot to number 20.
Palmer remains a tremendous anticipation thrower and has a really good feel for the passing game. He will throw it into man coverage and give his guys a chance. But even though he knows where to go with the football, he still made too many mistakes for a veteran quarterback; there were some games where I didn't know where he was throwing the football. He needs to improve his decision-making, as his nine third-down interceptions were the most in the NFC. I think he will improve in his second year working with Bruce Arians.
Jaws is on point with his description. He throws the ball very well. He can put it in the right spots. He can throw players open. If you see him practice, you see a guy that is clearly the best quarterback on the roster...by a lot.
But he has been this way his entire career. He makes questionable decisions and makes you wonder what the heck he is doing at times. He should be better this season, as many of his issues last year came because his offensive skill players were not where they should have been. He tries to make throws he feels he can make because of the confidence he has in himself, but he just shouldn't do. Rarely do you see a throw that just is badly thrown. What you get are throws where you wonder why he went there. They end up being poor decisions, rather than poorly thrown balls.
At the same time, he was so even-keeled. When he made a mistake, he didn't let it bother him. That's how, after four interceptions in Seattle, he was able to make the game-winning throw to Michael Floyd. He did that on many occasions, recovering from early mistakes.
Now the question is whether he should be ranked higher. It's hard to put him any higher, really. Palmer is what he is -- he is a top-10 QB in terms of talent, but he makes enough mistakes that you can't keep him there. He is a very good player that can win with pieces around him, but hasn't yet really elevated the talent around him to greatness.
Luckily, the Cardinals are a talented enough team that you can with with him. Will it happen in 2014? It really does depend on Palmer.
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