Arizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim spoke about his team's 49-15 loss to the Carolina Panthers in the NFC Championship Game, most notably throwing his support behind quarterback Carson Palmer.
“There is nobody I respect and appreciate more than Carson Palmer,” Keim told the Doug and Wolf show on Arizona Sports 98.7, per Darren Urban of Cardinals.com. “In a league full of teams who are looking for a quarterback, I’m certainly proud he’s our guy.”
He added, “I don’t think he performed particularly well but I would say that goes for a lot of our players. You look at the big picture and some of our stars had a rough night. But make no mistake, we wouldn’t have been in the position we were in without Carson Palmer and his play this year.”
Palmer, 36, had the worst game of his season, finishing 23-of-40 for 235 yards. He threw a touchdown pass but was also intercepted four times and lost two fumbles.
"I kept digging us in a hole and we just couldn't come out of it," he acknowledged after the contest, per ESPN.
Nonetheless, Keim isn't doubting Palmer's ability to lead the team going forward.
“I feel strongly he will bounce back and be ready in 2016," the general manager said.
That was a major vote of confidence for the aging Palmer, who was mostly excellent during the 2015 season, throwing for 4,671 yards, 35 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He is also under contract for another three seasons, so while the Cardinals may begin the process of grooming his successor, they are financially committed to him for the near future.
So Keim and Co. are relying on Palmer to bounce back next season and lead the franchise once again. And ultimately, Sunday's loss was a total team effort, even if Palmer's performance was shockingly bad.
“It’s a bitter ending and the harsh reality of the NFL," Keim said. "2015 was a special year for all of us, yet at the end of the day there are 31 teams that end the season in disappointment and unfortunately we are one of them.”