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Carson Palmer Helping Arizona Cardinals Become a Dangerous Team

March 18th, 2014 at 5:02 AM
By Steve Smith

'University of Phoenix Stadium' photo (c) 2009, Dyanna Hyde - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/
The Arizona Cardinals made significant strides in 2013.

The Red Birds improved five games from the previous season, finishing 10-6 and on the cusp of a NFL wild-card berth.

Quarterback Carson Palmer is one of the main reasons why. Palmer still has a very strong arm for a 33-year-old signal-caller.

Head coach Bruce Arians likes to throw the ball deep in his offensive scheme. He likes to be aggressive.

You would think it would be a match made in heaven but the reality is that Palmer was much more effective in the short passing game than when he threw deep in 2013. The numbers don't lie.

The USC product completed 71.6 percent of his passes of 10 yards or less compared to just a 24 percent completion rate on passes of 31 yards or more. It's natural to have a higher percentage on shorter routes but Palmer completed just six passes all season long of 31 or more yards. He also had just one TD pass and five interceptions in that mode.

On intermediate passes, Palmer connected on 57 percent of his tosses between 11-20 yards. Not bad.

When Palmer attempted pass plays between 21 and 30 yards long, his completion percentage was just 31 percent.

Palmer also fired 12 touchdown passes with seven interceptions on pass completions of 10 yards or fewer, his best ratio by far.

Overall, Palmer had an up and down season for the Red Birds but really came on in the second half and led Arizona to a 10-6 record. He was the offensive MVP of the team.

If his offensive line continues to improve and wide receiver Michael Floyd continues to develop into a real star, don't be surprised to see Palmer's "long-distance" numbers improve in 2014.

He still has a lot left in the tank.

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Tags: Arizona, Arizona Cardinals, Bruce Arians, Carson Palmer, Football, NFL

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