Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians is known for his affinity of the deep ball. He brags about having six bullets in his gun every game that he wants to be empty at the end of every game. He wants to take any deep shot that is possible.
How did the Arizona Cardinals do with the deep ball?
There were 38 quarterbacks who took at least one quarter of the team's offensive snaps. In terms of Pro Football Focus' "real accuracy" (counting receiver drops as accurate throws), Palmer ranked 16th with an accuracy rating of 41.9 percent. Stanton was 20th with a rate of 40.5 percent.
Between the two of them, they threw eight touchdowns and zero interceptions. WIth the eight deep ball TDs, that accounted for 44 percent of their touchdowns.
According to Pro Football Spot's Jonathan Kinsley, Stanton was the league's most efficient deep ball scorer. Of the seven touchdown passes Stanton threw, five were on deep throws. Pro Football Focus gave him four deep throw TDs, so there is a discrepancy. In any case, using Kinsley's numbers, 71.4 percent of Stanton's TDs came on deep balls, which was by far the best in the league. Using PFF's numbers, it would be 57.1 percent. Either would still put him at the top. The next player on the list was Nick Foles, who threw six deep ball TDs and 13 overall -- 46.2 percent of his TDs.
Stanton was much more likely to throw it down the field than Palmer. Palmer attempted 31 deep throws of his 224 attempts (13.8 percent). Stanton attempted 42 of his 240 throws -- 17.5 percent. Stanton was fourth in the league among QBs taking at least 25 percent of the team's snaps in deep throw percentage. Nick Foles led the league, throwing the deep ball 18.9 percent of the time.
Palmer was 11th.
Ryan Lindley actually threw a higher rate of deep balls than both Palmer and Stanton. His 18 deep throws were 19.4 percent of his throws. He completed five of those passes and had one dropped, so his "real accuracy" rate was 33 percent.
Palmer was a much better deep ball thrower in 2014. He was 11/31 for 371 yards and three scores. Two of those throws were drops. Palmer was 23/74 for 737 yards, seven touchdowns and eight interceptions. In terms of attempts, he was a little less likely to make a deep throw in 2014 (13.8 percent in 2014 and 12.9 percent in 2013).
His real accuracy went from 31.1 percent in 2013 to 41.9 percent.
The bigger story is the turnovers. He went from throwing eight picks on deep balls to zero, and the Cardinals overall went from seven scores and eight picks to 11 TDs and two interceptions (Ryan Lindley threw two other scores and interceptions, while Logan Thomas had one TD).
Can we expect an even better season in 2015 with the deep ball? Palmer will have had another year in the system and the offensive line has been upgraded. John Brown is a year older and the QB situation should hopefully be stable.
What are your expectations?