Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press
Carson Palmer might have to put the team on his back at times in 2014.
The Carson Palmer-led Cardinals were hard to gauge in 2013. One week, the offense would look horrific, and the next, it would look like it’s supposed to look under head coach Bruce Arians.
Palmer claims his offense looks much better than it did at this time last year. “There is zero comparison,” he said, via Kent Somers of AZCentral.com. “This was fun, this was enjoyable. You could see the development of certain guys. It jumped off the field at you.”
Could that mean the offense is ready to take the next step and carry the defense when it has to? There were games last season that the defense could not hold opposing offenses, and Palmer and Co. could not keep up.
Since moving to the Valley in 1988, the Cardinals have allowed at least 30 points in a game 114 times, according to Pro-Football-Reference.com. They are 9-105 (.079) in those games. Last season, Todd Bowles’ defense allowed 30-plus points four times, and the team went 1-3 in those games.
What’s troubling about that is two of the games came against the teams that finished ahead of them in the NFC West, the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers. The only win came in overtime at the Tennessee Titans after the defense inexplicably blew a 17-point fourth-quarter lead.
Given the Daryl Washington suspension, Palmer may sometimes have to carry the team this season. Though the defense improved in certain areas and should still be among the best in football, not having Washington or the money-hungry Karlos Dansby could hurt at times.
Palmer has a plethora of great targets with which to work, so as I wrote on Monday, there is no excuse for offensive failure this season.