The Arizona Cardinals have gotten better at pass protection over the years. In 2013, Carson Palmer was sacked 41 times. In 2014, that number went down to 28 sacks allowed. In 2015, it was 27.Obviously, pass protection was better.
But it wasn't perfect and Palmer, despite a career season, could have gotten better protection. This is a stat you don't really want to see.
Which QBs were hit the most when throwing last season?— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) May 23, 2016
1. Carson Palmer
2. Cam Newton
3. Eli Manning
t-4. Jameis Winston
t-4. Tom Brady
Palmer was hit while throwing more than anyone else in the league.
There are many reasons for that. One is the offensive scheme, which is designed to get receivers down the field and the quarterback takes deeper drops. One is a veteran quarterback waiting for something to happen before delivering a ball to make a play. Palmer did that very well. Kurt Warner also did that well back in the day.
Of course, it also means the pass protection could be better.
Will 2016 be better? There will be a new center. Evan Mathis mans right guard. He is not considered to be a strong pass blocker, but considering the combined work of Jonathan Cooper and Ted Larsen, most would say he is an improvement still in that category. D.J. Humphries takes over for Bobby Massie. We don't know what he offers yet, although Massie could be beat.
Another is Palmer. I couldn't find the exact interview to quote, but I recall hearing on the radio from one of the show hosts how Palmer spent the offseason in part looking at film and realizing there were many times he should have gone with his hot read and made a quicker throw.
If he does this more, that number should go down.
Many worry about whether Palmer can stay healthy. He didn't miss a game last year and got hit while throwing more than anyone in the league. Let's not have him lead the league in that stat again -- hopefully Palmer and the line all make the necessary improvements.