Carson Palmer used to be one of the best quarterbacks in football. Those days are long gone but he proved last year that he can still be a productive quarterback compiling over 4,000 yards and 22 touchdowns.
This year, he's been up and down. Last year he had 14 interceptions. This year, he already has 15. Last week's game against the Jaguars was his first game without an interception. When it comes to turning the ball over, Palmer has been one of the worst quarterbacks in the NFL this season in that regard.
He gets overly aggressive and in Bruce Arians' vertical offense, taking too many shots will lead to turnovers. Turnovers have even costed them in a few games.
In terms of turnovers, this is Palmer's worst season in the NFL. He's tied for third in the NFL in interceptions. So, he grades out at about a C for ball security.
Despite all the turnovers, this guy has had an impact on this team and is a pretty big reason why they are 6-4. He especially played a big part in the Texans and Buccaneers games where he threw the game winning touchdowns.
With the exception of their Week 3 loss to the Saints, Palmer has also thrown a touchdown in every one of his games and has a passer rating of 80. Despite the turnovers, it's obvious that he's the best quarterback they've had in years. This was a team that was a quarterback away from the playoffs, or at least knocking on the door. They may have found the guy who pushed them over the top. Palmer gets a B- for impact in games.
In terms of understand and playing in this offense, he knows it very well and is very familiar with a vertical offense. In Cincinnati, he was the centerpiece of maybe the best vertical offense in the NFL with Chad Johnson and TJ Houshmandzadeh. Palmer knows the offense well and although his decision making is off at times, he's comfortable and knows what he's doing. He gets an A- for comfort in the offense.
Now, we should ask the question, how does he grade overall, and does he have enough to take this team to the playoffs? Overall, he's been good and bad. He's done the job, but he's also made quite a few mistakes, too much for a quarterback. If he reduces the number of turnovers, he can be the perfect quarterback for them and they'll be a force in the NFC. That hasn't happened and that's why they're only in the hunt. He's better than what they had, but he's far from perfect, and has left some games out there. Because of this, he gets a C+ overall.
Can he lead this team to the playoffs? They are currently tied with the 49ers for the No. 6 seed in the NFC. When looking at their schedule, they play the Colts, Eagles, 49ers and Seahawks before the end of the year, which is very hard for Carson Palmer.
Palmer will need to be almost flawless for them to get to the playoffs, and considering how he's been the last several weeks, the odds of that happening are pretty slim against those teams. Because of that, I think the chances of Carson Palmer leading the Cardinals to the playoffs are slim.