Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer was sacked 40 times last season. In order to make sure the 37-year-old stays in one piece, the team must to a better job of protecting its franchise quarterback.
This isn’t lost on offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin, who spelled out an ultimatum to his offensive linemen.
“Either you protect him or I’m not going to protect you,” offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin said this week per Craig Grialou of Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. “We got to do a better job because we know (Palmer) makes us go. Without him, it’s an uphill battle. With him, the sky’s the limit.”
Last year saw only four starting quarterbacks — Tyrod Taylor, Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson and Andy Dalton — endure more sacks than Palmer. Taylor received 42 and the others were sacked 41 times.
Even worse, the Cardinals allowed 127 quarterback hits, which marked the third-highest in 2016, per the report.
Enough is enough if Palmer is going to help the Cardinals return to the playoffs in 2017. The Cardinals missed the boat to the postseason last year after Palmer’s overall performance regressed. He threw nine fewer touchdowns and 438 fewer yards than his 2015 campaign.
And, it’s no wonder. Throughout 2016, the team made multiple changes to its offensive line. Palmer had five right guards, three right and left tackles and two different left guards according to the report.
“We can’t have a whole bunch of rotations going in week-in and week-out. The more you play together, the better you get,” Goodwin said. “I think they understand the urgency.”
As for Palmer, he has committed to just one more season with the Cardinals at this time. The way the following year plays out, and how well his offensive line protects him, will be determining factors beyond 2017.