Bruce Arians: Carson Palmer won't be as conservative against the Panthers

Last week against the Green Bay Packers, Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer did not play great. He had what was probably one of his worst games of the season, in fact. He had his fifth-lowest completion percentage and passer rating (out of 17 games) and his sixth-lowest yards per attempt. It was only the third time all year he was picked off multiple times in one game and he probably should have thrown at least one or two more interceptions.

Head coach Bruce Arians thinks some of those struggles were due to Palmer being more conservative than normal, even in his picking of the Cardinals' scripted plays to start the game.

“He picked a lot of shorter completions early instead of going for them like we normally do,” Arians said, per the team's official web site. “I think that was part of ‘I don’t want to screw this up.’ Now that we don’t have to worry about that anymore we can go back to being ourselves.”

Though the Cardinals offense is largely based on taking shots down the field, Arians still didn't try to talk Palmer out of the plan of shorter passes.

“It was a time to trust his feelings,” Arians said. “That’s one of those things that I know when to stop trying to talk him into a play, because he’s not going to do what I want on that play anyway.”

During the regular season, Arizona threw deep down the field more often than almost any other team. Per Pro Football Focus' tracking, 16 percent of Palmer's passes were thrown at least 20-plus yards down the field during the season. On Saturday against Green Bay, he threw deep only four times in 41 passes, less than 10 percent. Apparently, we can expect Palmer to get back to throwing it deep against Carolina in the NFC title game.

Carson Palmer wasn't his usual self on Saturday. (USATSI)
CBS Sports Writer

Jared Dubin is a New York lawyer and writer. He joined CBSSports.com in 2014 and has since spent far too much of his time watching film and working in spreadsheets. Full Bio

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