Just when things were going so well for Carson Palmer and the Arizona Cardinals, the quarterback tore his ACL on his right knee, effectively ending his season while the Arizona Cardinals were sporting the best record in the NFL.
Palmer was sacked by Mark Barron in the win over the St. Louis Rams, which was capped off by Drew Stanton coming on to throw a touchdown and then enjoy two return touchdowns by the defense. He stepped up as Barron ran by him and then felt the turf under his foot give away. He said he immediately heard his ACL pop, and knew what had happened before the doctors had a chance to diagnose the injury.
The Cardinals will start Stanton instead of Palmer, but will also be looking for another quarterback to add. They signed Dennis Dixon when Palmer went down with an injury earlier this season.
History tells us that giving Carson Palmer huge extensions is followed by massive disappointment and injuries. In 2006 he tore his left ACL 10 days after signing a huge $118 million extension with the Cincinnati Bengals. This torn ACL, this time on his right knee, comes three days after signing a three-year, $50 million extension with the Cardinals. Now it remains to be seen how quickly he’ll bounce back to try and prove his value.
There’s no doubt about the fight Palmer has in him. He has come back from injuries, played through injuries and has carved a nice little slice of NFL success for himself through 12 NFL seasons, beginning in 2003 with the Bengals. But this year was different: The Cardinals have the best record in the NFL despite playing in the very tough NFC West. They might not have the most exciting and productive of offenses, but they’re still looking like the team to beat at the moment in the league.
With Drew Stanton at quarterback they’ve won some games, with Palmer already going down for a few games earlier in the season, but there’s no doubt which quarterback gives them a better chance of competing and winning. The least successful franchise in NFL history seems to be on the right path, going 10-6 last season and still missing the playoffs, building on that success and miss-out to be even better this year. Palmer going to surgery and not being able to play again this season derails all of those plans and expectations.