The old saying “put up or shut up” comes to mind when it comes to Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer. The team returning for OTA’s today the MVP candidate stared down the microphones today answering the tough questions about his abysmal performance in the NFC championship game against the Carolina Panthers last year.
Palmer acknowledge his performance was not MVP caliber and for this team to make it to the next level he has to be the one key player to get them there. When asked, Palmer did not shy away from the challenge “There’s not much explaining to it,” Palmer said. “You can’t win the big game until you win it. We’ll revisit that when we get back to the NFC Championship. That’ll be that. Right now, I’m focused on today.”
That is the bottom line, but the question will be, can a 36-year-old quarterback come back and duplicate the same caliber season he had last year. When it’s not his normal, the percentages would say that it’s not possible. Although the Cardinals system does play a big factor in the success of Palmer. The main key being able to run the football will determine the outcome.
It’s not so much that Palmer has to be an MVP candidate again and throw for a lot of yards and touchdowns, the team has to be better in running and on defense to allow Palmer to realistically become and better game manager. The risky throws that cause crucial picks have to stop and he has to be smart. David Johnson, Chris Johnson, and Andre Ellington will have a better O-line in front of them and that 3 headed threat can take all of the pressure off of Palmer.
Carson Palmer is the x-factor, and his mental physic has not proved to be as strong as his words coming out his mouth in the past. But going forward he has the opportunity to take a hold of his career and perhaps change his reputation of not being able to win the big game in the crucial moments.
Palmer was able to get his first playoff win last year in a struggled victory over the Packers, and getting that off his chest should help, but he still has to prove himself and time is running out. Can he do it, can he get the Cardinals to the next level and win a Super Bowl? Well, on paper they have the talent and the scheme, but the head of the beast has to lead the way.