It doesn’t take long to figure out why quarterback Carson Palmer was traded to the Cardinals this offseason.
You need only look at wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald’s statistics from last season to understand why the team dealt for Palmer. Fitzgerald had just 798 receiving yards, his lowest total since his rookie season, and he set career lows with 11.2 yards per catch and four touchdowns. It was a waste of a year for one of the league’s best receivers and Arizona wasn’t going to risk it happening again.
Hence the trade for Palmer, who said that Fitzgerald has been “exactly what I expected” after watching him play from afar in previous years. Both players agree that developing a rapport with one another over the offseason is vital, but Palmer is quick to point out that it won’t be enough to make the Cardinals a winner. Michael Floyd, Andre Roberts and other receivers will have to make plays when defenses sell out to stop Fitzgerald, which makes developing rapport with them another item on Palmer’s checklist.
“It’s of the utmost importance to be on the same page with Larry, but it’s of the utmost importance to be on the same page with every one of those guys because the ball can’t always go to him. I know that’s not what he wants to hear, but that’s the truth,” Palmer said, via the team’s website. “There will be teams that key on him and there will be games where he doesn’t have as many catches as other games. It’s that much more important I have that rhythm and timing down with Michael and Andre and whoever that third and fourth guy is going to be.”
It’s hard to overstate the importance of getting Fitzgerald back to his established heights, but it is just as hard to disagree with Palmer’s belief that winning is going to take much more than that.