Last week, the Arizona Cardinals' offensive line didn’t give quarterback Carson Palmer much time to throw the ball. It didn’t matter. In his first outing as a Cardinal, he threw for 327 yards, completing 26 of 40 passes at St. Louis.
According to Pro Football Focus, Palmer had an average of 2.23 seconds to throw the ball. Unless the offensive line can figure out an answer for Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley before Sunday’s game against the visiting Detroit Lions, that number won’t get any higher.
But Palmer doesn’t mind.
If given the choice between max protection with fewer options to throw to and less time to throw but more options, Palmer didn’t hesitate.
“More options, less time,” he said. “If they are going to bring more pressure, somebody else is open. That’s the kind of mentality that (coach Bruce Arians) has and I have.”
Earlier this week, Arians discussed stacking the box with blockers -- a short-term solution to a long-term problem. Arians has used the tactic he calls "button up" before, and it’s helped block specific targets, but his quarterback was still sacked.
That’s not what Palmer wants. He doesn’t mind making decisions quickly, and he’s proven throughout his 11-year career that he’s capable of being accurate in small windows.
Palmer would especially prefer “more options, less time” on third downs, when most defenses bring the house. At the same time, the Cardinals will spread the field on third down and pass it. On 13 of their 14 third-down plays -- all passes -- in Week 1 against the Rams, the Cardinals lined up three or four receivers.
“If they are going to spread it and they are going to try to cover us, you have to try to find the guy that is one-on-one,” Palmer said. “If we are going to spread it out and they are going to try to pressure us, you have to try to find the guy that is open from the blitzers.
“You might take some hits, but you shouldn’t get sacked more. It’s football, you’re going to get sacked every once in a while.”
When the blitz came Sunday, Palmer was 7-for-17 for 103 yards, according to Pro Football Focus, but was 19-for-23 for 224 yards, two touchdowns and an interception when not blitzed.
“When you do spread a defense out, it’s your job as a quarterback to get rid of the ball and take the hit,” Palmer said. “But make sure you get the ball out.”