When in came to 2015 most people fall into one of two camps when it comes to Carson Palmer. Camp one is that he had a career year, he is in a renaissance for his career and he can continue to put the Arizona Cardinals in a place to win.
Camp two though, is the camp that seems to believe that what happened in the playoffs defines Carson Palmer the quarterback and they are not sure he is anything more than that.
Mike Sando released his yearly quarterback tiers, here is the key to how he arrives at the quarterback rankings:
The voting panel for our third annual NFL QB Tier Rankings consisted of 42 league insiders -- 10 general managers, five head coaches, seven offensive coordinators, five defensive coordinators, eight personnel evaluators and seven other position coaches/executives.
I polled coaches and evaluators on 33 QBs, asking them to place each player into one of five tiers, with Tier 1 reserved for the very best and Tier 5 reserved for the very worst:
Tier 1: Can carry his team each week. Team wins because of him.
Tier 2: Can carry team sometimes but not as consistently.
Tier 3: Legit starter but needs heavy run game/defense to win.
Tier 4: Might not want this guy starting all 16 games.
Tier 5: Do not think this guy should be starting.
Palmer improved from 15th in 2015 to 10th in 2016, but some of the comments were harsh:
How could Palmer get more third-tier votes (six) than first-tier votes (two) after leading the NFL in Total QBR and earning one MVP vote for a 13-3 team that ranked second scoring? Here is how: Palmer's shaky postseason play strengthened his reputation within the league for shrinking in the big moments, while amplifying fears he is nearing the end physically.
"If you look at the playoff game last year, why did they lose?" a GM said. "You tell me."
"When I watched that Carolina game, I could see it on his face right from the get-go," a head coach said. "Sometimes you think, 'This might be my only shot, I have to make a play,' and you tense up."
Carson Palmer had his greatest season of his career, and yet is thought of by many to be a good starter, but he needs a lot of help. In the end Sando got enough votes to put him as a tier 2 quarterback, which is probably where he belongs.
The issue lingers though, maybe it is more about the system than the player as one offensive coordinator thinks Palmer is a great player, but for how long?
"I don't think the Cardinals have anywhere near the success without him," a different offensive coordinator said. "This guy makes some unbelievable throws. I think he is a 1. Unfortunately, Bruce Arians' style of offense is going to catch up to him because putting all those guys out and not protecting, Carson is going to get hit and I just don't think he is going to make it through the year."
The offensive coordinator realizes the importance that Palmer plays in the Arizona Cardinals success, but questions how much longer he can hold up in Bruce Arians offense.
Carson Palmer is doing a good job of silencing his doubters, but there are still some very vocal ones out there.
Where would you put Palmer?