Coaches and players talk about the importance of head coach Bruce Arians’ family fundraiser at Top Golf in Gilbert. (Michael Chow/azcentral sports)
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How has free-agent QB Blaine Gabbert adjusted so far to the Arizona Cardinals? (Michael Chow/azcentral sports)
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azcentral sports’ Jay Dieffenbach and Dan Bickley discuss the NBA MVP, the Diamondbacks and the Dodgers and the Arizona Cardinals’ defensive backs.
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azcentral sports insiders Kent Somers and Bob McManaman react to the big news from the first day of Cardinals OTAs. Video: Rob Schumacher
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The NFLPA has released its 2017 Rising 50 list of players poised to break out and rank among next season’s top-sellers in officially licensed merchandise and the Cardinals running back is No. 1.
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Shot Clock: azcentral sports’ Jay Dieffenbach and Kent Somers discuss the latest on Arizona Cardinals’ Carson Palmer and the NBA playoffs.
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Shot Clock: Colin Kaepernick is better than Blaine Gabbert, right? So why did the Cardinals not sign him? Also, Zack Greinke has his Randy Johnson moment … what does it mean for Diamondbacks?
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With camp starting tomorrow, players reported today and reporter Kent Somers lays out the future and what the team hopes for it.
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Cardinals insider Kent Somers gives some insight into the releasing of Daryl Washington and why it was probably best for both team and player.
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Cardinals draft picks had some time to sit down and answer some questions about their experiences and expectations of the future on Thursday.
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azcentral’s Kent Somers and Dan Bickley talk about the Cardinals decision to release linebacker Daryl Washington.
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azcentral sports’ Jay Dieffenbach and Bob McManaman weigh in on the Cardinals’ signing of Blaine Gabbert.
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Cardinals insider Kent Somers talks with Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians about mini-camp, his excitement about undrafted rookies, LB Daryl Washington and QB Blaine Gabbert at Steak 44 on Wednesday. Michael Chow/azcentral sports
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Cardinals insider Kent Somers talks with Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians about Arians’ annual fundraiser at Steak 44 on Wednesday. Michael Chow/azcentral sports
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azcentral sports’ Jay Dieffenbach and Dan Bickley discuss Daryl Washington possibly returning to the Cardinals and how James Harden can’t beat the Spurs by himself.
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The Arizona Cardinals announced Thursday that former St. Louis Cardinals QB Jim Hart would be inducted into the team’s Ring of Honor this season.
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azcentral sports’ Jay Dieffenbach and Kent Somers discuss what to expect from the Cardinals’ 2017 NFL draft class.
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Jay Dieffenbach and Dan Bickley assess the Arizona Cardinals’ selection of Haason Reddick in Round 1 of the NFL draft and discuss the needs the team still has to address.
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Check out how Cardinals fans were feeling during the team’s 2017 NFL draft party.
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Cardinals insider Kent Somers reacts to the introductory press conference for Haason Reddick and what the Cardinals might do next.
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With plenty of defense options on the table and all the quarterbacks gone, the Cardinals elected to go linebacker and Kent and Bob break down the reasons why.
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The Cardinals have made 18 picks in the first round of the NFL draft since 2000. Take a look at the standouts.
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With the 13th overall pick in this year’s draft, can the Cardinals afford to repeat their strategy with their last two first-round picks?
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Shot Clock: azcentral sports’ Jay Dieffenbach and Kent Somers have the latest on the Cardinals draft and the reinstatement of Daryl Washington.
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The Cardinals are hosting draft parties Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at the Great Lawn outside of University of Phoenix Stadium.
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azcentral sports’ Kent Somers and Jay Dieffenbach discuss possible Cardinals strategy in the NFL draft, views on picking a quarterback and more.
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Bob McManaman ranks the top special teams players in the upcoming draft.
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Arizona Cardinals’ general manager Steve Keim and head coach Bruce Arians have found some of their best players in the third round.
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Arizona Cardinals Larry Fitzgerald and Chandler Jones discuss the importance of giving back and some bets amongst Cardinals players before the Larry Fitzgerald Celebrity Softball Game on Saturday at Salt River Fields. Patrick Breen/azcentral sports
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Cardinals GM Steve Keim has a tough task when it comes to finding quality talent and character to add to the team through the draft.
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azcentral sports Cardinals insider Kent Somers talks with Arizona Cardinals defensive tackle Fostee Rucker. || Video by Rob Schumacher/azcentral sports
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Cardinals defensive tackle Frostee Rucker discusses learning from last year’s expectations and adding Karlos Dansby and other veterans. Rob Schumacher/azcentral sports
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Breaking down the top three games of the Cardinals’ 2017 season.
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Shot Clock: azcentral sports’ Kent Somers and Bob McManaman discuss the Cardinals’ potential use (or overuse?) of running back David Johnson.
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Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians is ready for the 2017 NFL schedule to be announced.
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Cardinals General Manager Steve Keim talk about the upcoming NFL draft. || David Kadlubowski/azcentral.com
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azcentral sports’ Jay Dieffenbach and Dan Bickley discuss Carmelo, a dancer, and the Cards’ quiet, classy young superstar.
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azcentral sports’ Kent Somers and the Cardinals’ Larry Fitzgerald discuss Fitzgerald’s charity softball tournament on Saturday.
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The Cardinals’ Larry Fitzgerald joined azcentral sports’ Kent Somers to discuss the team and the upcoming season.
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USA TODAY Sports’ Tom Pelissero recaps the NFL owners meeting and the proposed league rule changes.
USA TODAY Sports
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Bob McManaman and Kent Somers at the NFL owners meetings on Wednesday, March 29, 2017. Bruce Arianas likes full-time officials, centralized replay and says there’s 1 QB in upcoming draft who’s plug-and-play. Video: Tom Tingle/azcentral sports
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Coaches of the National Football Conference take questions from the media in Phoenix on March 29, 2017. Tom Tingle/azcentral sports
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Cardinals insider Kent Somers and other reporters talk with Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians at the NFC coaches breakfast on Wednesday at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix. Video by Tom Tingle/azcentral sports
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Bob McManaman of azcentral sports talks to AFC coaches at the annual NFL owners meeting at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix, Tuesday, March 28, 2017. Tom Tingle/azcentral sports
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Bob McManaman and Kent Somers at the NFL owner’s meetings: Coaches of AFC teams meet the media at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix on Tuesday, March 28, 2017. Video: Tom Tingle/azcentral sports
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Cardinals coach Bruce Arians discusses free agency, quarterbacks and cornerbacks in the draft on Wednesday night. Kent Somers/azcentral sports
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Arians Family Foundation Fundraiser at Top Golf
Report card on Cardinals QB Blaine Gabbert
Watch out for Dodgers; Cards CBs apply for job
What Deone Bucannon’s injury means for Cardinals
David Johnson No. 1 on NFL Players Association list
No throws for Cards QB, cheap shot in NBA?
Kaepernick blackballed? Greinke now trade bait?
Kent Somers talks Cardinals rookies
Kent Somers talks Daryl Washington departure
Cardinals rookies take to the microphone
Cardinals release linebacker Daryl Washington: Somers and Bickley discuss
Shot Clock: Gabbert a terrible fit for Cards
Somers sits down with Arians on Cardinals’ offseason
Bruce Arians talks about his annual fundraisers
Daryl Washington-Cardinals meeting: What happened?
Jim Hart to be inducted into Cardinals Ring of Honor
Shot Clock: Cards picks make instant impact?
Shot Clock: Tap brakes on Haason Reddick pick?
Sights and sounds from Cardinals draft party
Somers talks Reddick and possible 2nd and 3rd round picks
Kent Somers and Bob McManaman talk Cardinals draft of Haason Reddick
Cardinals’ top first round NFL draft picks since 2000
Can Cardinals afford to be patient with another first-round pick?
Cards face choices with draft, Daryl Washington
What to know about the Cardinals’ draft party
Shot Clock: Cardinals trade up for QB?
Top 5 special teams players of 2017 NFL draft
Keim, Arians striking gold in draft’s third round
Larry Fitzgerald, Chandler Jones talk about Celebrity Softball Game
Cardinals looking for ‘football character’ in NFL draft
Kent Somers talks with Cardinals DT Frostee Rucker
Cardinals DT Frostee Rucker on expectations, adding Karlos Dansby
Top 3 games in Cardinals schedule
Cards playing dangerous game with RB Johnson?
Bruce Arians wants to know date of London game
Keim on Cardinals’ NFL draft prep
Shot Clock: New face of Cardinals franchise?
Larry Fitzgerald holding 7th annual charity softball tournament
Larry Fitzgerald 1-on-1 with Kent Somers
Goodell says he’ll be in New England for opener
NFL meetings in Phoenix: On Bruce Arians, new rules, the draft
NFC coaches take questions at NFL owners meeting
Kent Somers talks with Bruce Arians at NFC coaches breakfast
Bob McManaman talks to AFC coaches
At the NFL owner’s meetings: AFC head coaches meet the media
Cardinals’ Arians talks free agency and draft
Longevity is rare in the NFL. Those who endure are rewarded with experience, perspective and a wealth of friendships. It’s also given Carson Palmer something he never imagined.
He could be the most maligned, misunderstood quarterback in league history.
“As far as the outside chatter, no quarterback can listen to that,” Palmer said. “If you do, it’s a slippery slope. There are some that have (listened), and they don’t fare well or last very long.”
Palmer is entering his 14th season, returning for “one last shot.” That might be the admission of a last-gasp season with the Cardinals. Or maybe it’s just the mentality of any NFL player above the age of 35, where it’s impossible to envision a future beyond the next 16 games.
But Palmer doesn’t sound tired or disconnected. His exuberance belies the time he needed to reconcile his return. His words mock Vegas oddsmakers and the experts who envision another rough road for the Cardinals in 2017.
“I couldn’t be more excited,” said Palmer, who turns 38 in December. “Just from the last couple of weeks, seeing this group of guys work on the field, in the weight room, the attention to detail the guys have, this is a really special group. And the season can’t get here soon enough.”
Over the years, Palmer has been labeled a malcontent (in Cincinnati) and an MVP candidate (in Arizona). He’s been called aloof, which is beyond absurd. His offensive linemen love him. He invited a rookie wide receiver (John Brown) to spend part of the summer at his home in California. He gushes about his teammates publicly, but isn’t afraid to scold them in private settings.
“He’s made me a better person,” Brown said.
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Yet Palmer is still the subject of harsh criticism. His playoff record is spotty, especially his performance in the 2015 postseason. His ability to play high-stakes football in January is a valid conversation and burden of proof. But quarterbacks who aren’t clutch don’t win their past three starts in Seattle. Or throw five touchdown passes to win a state championship game in high school.
The idea that Palmer has hit the wall is equally stupid. His statistics dipped during the team’s fall from grace in 2016, but the numbers aren’t linear. Palmer was not effective in the first half of the season, and just like Diamondbacks ace Zack Greinke, he didn’t throw with his standard velocity.
But anyone who was paying attention marveled at how he finished the season, especially behind a makeshift offensive line. He threw 13 touchdown passes with just four interceptions in his final six games, once again resembling a top-tier quarterback in the NFL.
Bottom line: If Palmer was slipping down the mountain, he would’ve been stronger at the beginning, and weaker as the season progressed. His season looked exactly the opposite.
Palmer has regrets. A Week 1 loss to the Patriots lingered for a month, knocking the swagger out of a team that came into the season with too much confidence. He can’t hide the contempt he feels for the 1-3 start in 2016.
“To lose on ‘Sunday Night Football’ like we did, it just became more than it was,” Palmer said. “As a leader I cannot let that happen. I should not let that happen. But it did. It just slowed us up.”
Palmer loves the team’s 2017 schedule, which is affixed on a weight-room wall. He likes the idea of starting with consecutive road games on the East Coast and finishing with four home games in the final six weeks.
“There’s so much red on that schedule in the last month, it’s unbelievable,” Palmer said.
He also disputes the notion that the 2017 Cardinals have less talent than they did a year ago, a team diminished by the losses of Calais Campbell, Tony Jefferson and Michael Floyd. He says the development of Markus Golden gives the defense two premier pass rushers off the edge while the addition of Karlos Dansby brings powerful leadership. Offensively, he’s even more excited.
“Smokey (John Brown) is back, and it’s so good to see,” Palmer said. “David Johnson is David Johnson. The same with Larry Fitzgerald. But (former Patriots wide receiver) Aaron Dobson has had a great spring. He’s come in, learned the offense and looked really, really good. Brittan Golden has had a great camp. He’s caught every single thing thrown his way, and he’s one of the most consistent route runners we have. There’s a ton to be excited about. I could go on and on.”
Palmer feels tremendously blessed. He starred at USC and has made over $150 million playing professional football. But he hasn’t won a championship of any kind since capturing a state title in basketball as a high school senior, when he was the sixth man on a team full of overachievers.
“I was with my 12 best friends in high school,” he said. “None of us were great basketball players. And we were beating guys that were going to UCLA and USC and Auburn and Kentucky. We were a bunch of run around, great energy, play great defense kind of guys. And we were beating these blue-chip, No. 1 recruits in the country. It was an unbelievable run.”
Palmer relishes the purity of that moment, how a team full of great guys and great chemistry was far greater than the sum of its parts. He sees evidence that will also be the story of the 2017 Cardinals.
Let’s hope Palmer is right. There are players in the NFL who deserve a little poetic justice, and he’s one of them. And even though he doesn’t listen much to his critics, it would be nice to shut them up, once and for all.
More Cardinals: When Fitz retires, don’t expect a teary press conference
More Cardinals: Gabbert hoping Cardinals provide stability he’s never had
Reach Bickley at [email protected] or 602-444-8253. Follow him on twitter.com/dan.bickley. Listen to “Bickley and Marotta” weekdays from 12-2 p.m. on 98.7 Arizona’s Sports Station.