The Arizona Cardinals head coach is not getting the big plays down the field that we wants. At least as of now. Will that change Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers?
That won't be easy to do against a defense like the Niners.
According to profootballfocus.com (PFF), the Red Birds and Palmer have thrown 22 passes this season of at least 20 yards in the air — an average of 4.4 attempts per contest. However, the 33-year-old Palmer has only been able to complete five of them, or an average of just one a game. Three of those — a 24-yard TD toss to Larry Fitzgerald, a 36-yard TD pass to running back Andre Ellington against Detroit and a 13-yard scoring aerial to Fitzgerald in Tampa Bay — have gone for scores. PFF counts all passes that cover 20 yards and do not stop at the goal line — so in charting that Fitz was seven yards deep in the end zone when he caught the ball, that qualified as a 20-yard-in-the-air pass.
The flip side is that three of Palmer's pass attempts of 20 yards or more have been intercepted. Palmer is tied for 10th in the NFL in deep attempts, but he’s tied for just 20th in completions. Palmer has accumulated just 139 yards via the air of those throws. In contrast, rookie signal-caller Geno Smith of the New York Jets has 500 yards through the air.
Obviously there is room for improvement. In order for Palmer to be successful, the offensive line needs to protect him better and Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd, Andre Roberts and company need to gain better separation.
In what should be tight defensive battle, a big play on offense could spell the difference between winning and losing on Sunday.
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