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Monday, August 24, 2015, 8:11pm
Carson Palmer wanted it back, that deep ball he heaved down the sideline to wideout J.J. Nelson in the first quarter Saturday.
His rookie speedster had gained a step on cornerback Richard Crawford, but the veteran quarterback has thrown countless bombs in his career, and knows an overthrow when he lets one fly.
Except, this time, he was wrong. As the ball ended its descent, Nelson sat there waiting for it, actually slowing down in order to complete the 57-yard gain.
“I can’t wait to watch it on film,” Palmer said. “He must have hit the nitrous button because he took off.”
When the Cardinals selected Nelson in the fifth-round of the draft, they knew he had speed. The Alabama-Birmingham star had the fastest 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting combine and figured to come in and compete for kick and punt return duties immediately, the story said. His playing time at wideout was less certain, with Michael Floyd, Larry Fitzgerald and John Brown taking up the majority of the snaps and Jaron Brown and Brittan Golden battling Nelson for the fourth receiver spot. But with Floyd recovering from three dislocated fingers in his hand, it was Nelson who started alongside John Brown and Fitzgerald in a three-receiver set in the 22-19 preseason loss to the Chargers. Much like John Brown last year, Nelson could be a guy who comes out of no where on the Cards deep list of WRs.
Posted by Bob Harris
Tuesday, August 25, 2015 - 11:29pm
The Cardinals' fortunes are tied to the health of Carson Palmer's surgically-repaired knee. So far, so good. Palmer has been working without limitation (and performing well) since training camp opened. What could be in the works this season are more no-huddle looks as the Cardinals plan to push the tempo. That is a result of the players knowing the offense better, according to HC Bruce Arians, and that could lead to bigger passing numbers with Palmer having a strong trio of wide receivers in Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd and second-year speedster John Brown.
Palmer's knee will be worth watching as the exhibition season rolls on. Mobility has never been a big part of the 35-year-old's repertoire, which in the case of his knee injury means we aren't worried about his speed as much as we are his ability to avoid hits and evade opposing pass rushers (especially working behind an offensive line that has given up some hits already in August).
If Palmer is healthy and the offensive line holds up, he should top the 4,274 passing yards and 24 touchdowns he produced during his first season in the desert in 2013. The next big question is whether he will be able to keep a lid on the turnovers -- he had only four in six games last season after committing 25 the previous year. Expect him to outperform his ADP if he can stay healthy.
2015 Strength of Schedule - ARI
Schedule difficulty based on schedule-adjusted, positional defensive ranking. Top DEF = 1, bottom DEF = 32.
2014 Game Stats