TEMPE, Ariz. -- As the rest of the NFL continues with its last week of practice, Carson Palmer already is on summer vacation, plotting his course to revamp his footwork.
That’ll be his No. 1 priority this summer, followed closely by building strength in his arm in order to have it ready to go when the Arizona Cardinals report for training camp on July 21.
“I've got a ton of work to do this summer,” Palmer said. “Really looking forward to that work. The footwork stuff I have ahead of me is stuff I enjoy, but I still have to do it. It’s hard. It’s not easy, but I enjoy that part and look forward to do that and get ready for training camp.”
The most significant change will be in Palmer’s foot placement. The difference, he said, will be considered "pretty drastic in the quarterback world as quarterbacks see it." The next six weeks will be spent going through his drops, memorizing them to the point where the new versions feel as natural as the old ones. The goal, Palmer said, is for him not to think about his feet as he’s in the middle of a dropback.
In conjunction with his footwork, Palmer said he’ll also spend time working on his reads, progressions and calling his protections.
“There isn’t one area of work,” he said. “It’s always a number of areas.”
When Palmer approached coach Bruce Arians about the changes he wanted to make this offseason, Arians was on board.
“We always talk about it and hash it out,” Arians said. “I agreed with what he was trying to do. It was nothing elaborate. It does take a lot of work.”
Thus begins Palmer’s offseason.
He talked often about his love of practice. Yes, practice. So the next few weeks that he’ll spend refining, retuning and retweaking are a labor of love for him. Palmer doesn’t think his passion for practice is unique, especially among his age group of players.
“I think you have to enjoy [it] or you only do it for a handful of years,” said Palmer, a 15-year veteran. “If you’re fighting to do it or you’re forcing yourself to do it, you’re probably not in the right mindset to go out and play your best football.
“So I think most guys that have been around long enough enjoy that part and enjoy the grind.”