Monday was an easy day for Palmer to soak in the here and now. The Cardinals began Phase II of their offseason workout program, which allowed the players to take the field and run plays for the first time. Palmer was right in the mix, participating with the first-team offense in all of the drills.
He not only handed the ball off to the running backs, but zipped short, intermediate and deep throws to his receivers. While the action wasn’t close to replicating game-like conditions, Palmer said joining the rest of the team on the field was a big mental boost after missing the last eight games of the 2014 season.
"Unfortunately I’m not going to be able to do everything once OTAs start, but I’ll be able to do just about everything."
Palmer looks like a man possessed. His rehab is ongoing, spending extra time doing footwork drills with Drew Stanton and finishing up with a plethora of knee-strengthening activities in a near-empty weight room.
“I’m always competing against other quarterbacks in the league in my head, and there are a lot of guys not coming off injuries,” Palmer said. “I have to work that much harder, spend that much more time on it. But that part’s easy for me. I like the work. I like the feeling I have when I go home, just knowing, ‘Man, I’m done. I couldn’t have done any more reps today. I don’t even want my kids to tackle me when I walk in the door today because I’m so tired.’ I enjoy that feeling. That part’s not an issue for me.”
Palmer averaged 271 yards, 1.8 touchdowns and 0.5 interceptions in six 2014 starts, or 17.2 fantasy points per game. Those are fringe QB1 numbers, so if Palmer is good to go for 2015, he'll be on the radar as a late-round value for those owners looking to stream or form a committee at the position. His presence is also huge for Larry Fitzgerald, who averaged 5.3 catches for 81 yards and 0.33 TD in six games with a healthy Palmer under center.