PHOENIX - A year ago at this time, Carson Palmer should’ve been wearing floaties.
"Myself and other guys were out here just swimming," Palmer said of learning a brand new system sink-or-swim style. "Inside your head you're thinking about 80 different things. Today, I was thinking about one thing -- first progression, second progression, third progression."
That’s good news for a first practice session during organized team activities, especially since the Cardinals starting quarterback added that there’s “zero comparison” between the comfort level of the Cards offense now and the way it performed a year ago.
As Arians assessed, "Last year he was learning, now he's coaching."
Of course, Palmer and the Cards offense turned a corner midway through last season.
Over the first eight games, the Cards went 4-4 as Palmer completed 61.3 percent of his passes for 10 touchdowns with 14 interceptions.
However, in the last eight games, Arizona went 6-2 as Palmer posted a 65 percent completion rate for 2,361 yards and 14 TDs, with eight interceptions.
"The way we played the last eight games, I thought we were a playoff team," Arians said on Tuesday. "But the numbers (10-6) didn't add up and that was fine because we didn't play well enough the first eight games.
“If we could take the second half of the season and continue to build off of it, there's a lot of confidence in our locker room, there's a lot of camaraderie, and that's what it takes to win."
Palmer welcomed new left tackle Jared Veldheer, who happened to be his old left tackle during their days together in Oakland. But that’s not all that has the 34-year-old QB feeling at ease.
"We've got a ton of work to do, a long way to go," he said, "but it feels so good to be confident and be comfortable and know the guys around you know what they're doing. There's not a shadow of a doubt on certain plays like there was in the past."