QBs in Focus: Carson Palmer

Carson Palmer's 2013 season is broken down in Steve Palazzolo's latest installment.

| 3 years ago

QBs in Focus: Carson Palmer

qb-month-palmerThough we certainly miss football during the offseason, it’s always a good time to take a step back and analyze our plethora of data.

We’re often so busy grading and collecting data during the season that we’re unable to put a lot of the information to good use. With that said, we’ve decided to declare June as “QB Month” as we break down NFL quarterbacks every which way.

We’re going to examine quarterbacks from a number of situations before looking at each of them individually. The grades and numbers should reveal each quarterback’s strengths and weaknesses from the 2013 season.

As we go through this series, it’s important to understand the relationship between QB Rating (NFL’s version) and PFF Grade.

While QB Rating is obviously supposed to be a QB statistic, it’s actually a better gauge of what the entire offense did in a given situation. This is the type of information that is actually extremely valuable to our NFL team customers as their game planning efforts must go towards stopping an entire passing offense, not just the quarterback.

If the quarterback throws an easy dump off pass to the RB who then weaves through the defense for the touchdown, it’s certainly not a great indicator of quarterbacking skill as it is the running back and defense accounting for the majority of the work on the play. Of course the QB Rating will look quite shiny in that situation.

On the other hand, PFF Grade is a good indicator of how well the quarterback actually performed in a given situation. Whether they throw an accurate pass that was dropped, or perhaps an inaccurate one that should have been intercepted and the defense dropped, the PFF grade will account for those situations with a positive and a negative grade respectively while QB Rating will simply reflect the 0-for-1 passing.

It’s important to distinguish between QB Rating and PFF grade, though there’s a good chance they’ll match up in most situations.

After taking a look at the entire league in various situations, it’s time to break down each quarterback individually.

Carson Palmer

Carson Palmer

Carson Palmer (2)

Carson Palmer (3)

All categories with a * are normalized so that the league average is 0.0.


•  Graded at +5.3 on third downs, including +4.6 on 3rd-and-long
•  Threw well outside the numbers to the left (+5.5).
•  Sixth-highest grade from a clean pocket (+22.7).
•  Fared well when blitzed (+7.2).
•  Showed well on 4-to-6-yard drop-backs (+3.4).
•  Graded at +4.3 on passes in the 2.1-to-2.5-second range.
•  Graded at +5.5 on passes to tight ends, including a +5.2 grade to inline tight ends.
•  Among the league’s best on out routes (+6.6), and ranked fifth with a +8.2 grade on post routes.


•  Graded at -2.1 on second downs.
•  Struggled on passes thrown at least 20 yards in the air (-10.5), including a -7.0 grade in the 21-to-30-yard range and a -4.2 grade in the 31-40-yard range.
•  League’s lowest grade when pressured (-19.8), including a -14.0 grade when pressured from a traditional rush.
•  Overall, graded at -4.3 against a traditional rush.
•  Graded at -1.7 on 7-to-8-yard drop-backs.
•  Graded at -3.4 on passes in the 2.6-to-3.0-second range.
•  Ranked last with a -8.7 grade on go routes.


•  Led the league with 42.4% of drop-backs coming from under center.
•  Threw 60.1% of passes in between the numbers; fifth-highest in the league.
•  Faced pressure 40.3% of the time; eighth-highest in the league.
•  Faced pressure that came in less than two seconds on 15.0% of drop-backs; highest in the league.
•  Second-lowest percentage of drop-backs that lasted at least 3.6 seconds (8.1%).
•  Led the league with 3.9% of drop-backs in the 1-to-3-yard range.
•  Only used play action 15.4% of the time; ninth-lowest in the league.
•  Only 0.6% of attempts were running back screens; lowest in the league.
•  Threw the highest percentage of post routes (11.5%).
•  Faced five or more defensive backs only 62.6% of his drop-backs; below the league average of 70.0%.


For the entire set of “Quarterbacks in Focus” posts, click here.


Follow Steve on Twitter.

| Senior Analyst

Steve is a senior analyst at Pro Football Focus. His work has been featured on ESPN Insider, NBC Sports, and 120 Sports.

  • Bill Doerr

    Carson Palmer is one of the best (Ranked as the 6th best passer +22.7 when he had a clean pocket) pure passing QBs in the NFL when he has a clean pocket. Palmer is seriously going to benefit from Arizonas vastly improved offensive line with the additions of a pro bowl quality LT & 2013 1st round 7th overall pick LG J. Cooper who was highly regarded as the best OG produced in the last 2 decades. Having him back 100% healthy after losing him to a broken leg for the entire season is huge. 6″6 320 Pound RT Bobby Massie is taking over at RT now that he has mastered his role in the offense. Pro Football Focus ranked him a top 3 OT over the 2nd half of the 2012 season after he gave up ZERO SACKS the last 9 games of the season.He should be a very solid above average RT. Arizonas massively improved Offensive Line will be huge for Arizonas offense & Palmer considering Arizonas offense IS STACKED with quality high caliber weapons. Palmer now has very, very good TE group who are excellent receivers & 3 excel at blocking. Palmer now has much needed big, tall red zone & 3rd down targets in 6″5 TE John Carlson, wildly talented 2nd round rookie 6″7 270 Pound Troy Niklas, & 6″6 260 pound now 100% healthy Jake Ballard who actually has the luxury of learning n developing in tbe offense. Ballard is a very good complete TE who is a very good receiver as well. Arizona added to speedster vertical threat WRs with elite speed who can really stretch the field in rookie WR John Brown who will be a special extremely talented WR, and Ted Ginn Jr who has improved vastly the last few years, is now a very crisp route runner n only dropped 3 passes last year catching 36 passes, 556 yards, a 15.5YD/AVG per reception, 5TDs & he also vastly upgrades Arizonas K/P return game w/his speed & elusivnes n he ranks as top 5 return specialist. Rookie WR Walt Powell is very quick n shifty with great hands, projects to be a good starting NFL slot receiver as welll with 4.4 40 speed n a 6.8 second 3 cone shows how easily he gains seperation. He will just develop this year but should be very good in the near future. Michael Floyd is a ascending WR who will only continue getting better & should easily break the top 10 WR Rankins at the end of the season just like he broke the top 20WRs in 201e in year 2 of his career with 65 receptions for 1041 yards n 5TDs. Now 100% healthy Larry Fitzgerald is primed to have a 1300+ yard , 10-12+ TD season now that he is healthy and throughly knows the offense inside n out , so he wont be dealing with growing pains and him and Palmer have excellent timing and chemistry , now healthy he is going to blow up this year.