Through four games of the 2017 NFL season, Carson Palmer is a bit of an enigma.
He has thrown for 1,282 yards (on pace for 5,128 for the season), but he also has as many interceptions as he does touchdown passes.
There are many ways we can break down Palmer’s performance so far. For me, the word perseverance comes to mind. He has been sacked 17 times (most in the NFL) and continues to stand tall in the pocket and make throws downfield. To be honest, it is extremely impressive. But can that level of success continue?
If he keeps taking these hits, he may not last the season to get past the 5,000 passing yards mark. Some of the hits he has taken have been worse than others (see Elvis Dumervil’s brutal tackle from last week’s game against the San Francisco 49ers), but with his injury history and the fact that he is set to turn 38 at the end of the year, one hit could send him to the IR.
Not only has the offensive line been overall poor in protecting Palmer, but the receivers haven’t been a ton of help to him either. It seems Palmer is having trouble finding receivers able to get separation from defenders, which leads to sacks or interceptions from trying to throw into windows that are too tight. David Johnson being hurt is absolutely partly to blame, as defenses are now able to drop back more without as great of a threat in the running game.
Do I think Palmer will keep up his pace in terms of yardage thrown? No. But I do think we will see an uptick in touchdown passes thrown. Larry Fitzgerald needs to remain a big part of that equation, as he is still the only big bodied receiver the team has that can be relied upon to make contested catches.
What do you think Cardinals fans? Can Palmer continue on this path and throw for 5,000 yards or more this season?