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first_img Comments   Share   Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo TEMPE, Ariz. — For all of the things Carson Palmer has accomplished as an NFL quarterback — 83 wins, 40,036 yards, 259 touchdown passes, three Pro Bowls — one thing he has not done is win a playoff game.His postseason resume is quite short with just two starts, and neither went well for him as a member of the Cincinnati Bengals.His first came on Jan. 8, 2006, and his day ended with a torn ACL after completing a 66-yard pass on the second offensive play against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Without him, his team lost 31-17 at home. Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) looks over the Green Bay Packers defense during an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (Jeff Haynes/AP Images for Panini) When asked, Palmer has refused to buy into the idea that a win over the Packers and subsequent deep playoff run could mean as much for him as it could for his team and franchise. No doubt he’s aware of his standing, but his focus is where it has been all season, and that’s on trying to win as many games as possible and get his team to Super Bowl 50.“It would be awesome,” he said of the possibility of winning Saturday. “Having a chance to play next week in Carolina or back here at home would be phenomenal. I am focused on this game and not the ramifications of it.” Palmer’s second playoff game was four years later, and on Jan. 9, 2010, he completed just 18-of-36 passes for 146 yards with one touchdown and one interception in a 24-14 home loss to the New York Jets.For a while it seemed as though that might be it for Palmer’s postseason chances, as he languished with Cincinnati and then later the Oakland Raiders for a handful of seasons, most of which finished with losing records. His fortunes changed when he was traded to Arizona before the 2013 season, and after the Cardinals just missed a postseason berth in 2013, they seemed poise to not only make the playoffs but put together a deep run in 2014.Then Palmer tore his ACL and missed his team’s 26-14 loss to the Carolina Panthers.Needless to say, it would be understandable if he is just a little bit pumped as he prepares for Saturday’s Divisional Round matchup with the Green Bay Packers given how long it has been since he’s competed in a playoff game.“I don’t really think much about the time or the gap in time,” he said Tuesday. “I am excited about playing. I’m fired up and looking to pick up where we left off to see what areas we can improve on, what areas I can improve on.center_img A victory Saturday would put the Cardinals one win — or 60 minutes of football — away from Super Bowl 50. It would be a momentous accomplishment for the franchise, which has only once before played in a conference championship game.Like most quarterbacks, the team’s chances of advancing are largely dependent on how Palmer plays. That is as true now as it was six years ago in his last playoff game, and given how long it has taken to get back to the playoffs and his age, it is reasonable to assume the former No. 1 overall pick in the 2003 draft out of USC may feel some extra pressure to play well.Arians does not see it that way, though.“The pressure is only something you feel if you’re not prepared,” he said. “I’m betting he’s going to be really prepared, so I don’t think he’ll feel too much pressure.”But besides the obvious things a win would do for the team and its prospects, it would also help to elevate Palmer’s stature among the NFL’s best passers. To wit: Of the eight starting quarterbacks remaining in the postseason, he is the only one without a playoff victory. And the seven other passers — New England’s Tom Brady, Kansas City’s Alex Smith, Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger, Denver’s Peyton Manning, Carolina’s Cam Newton, Seattle’s Russell Wilson and Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers — have combined for nine Super Bowl championships with only Newton and Smith failing to contribute at least one title to the total. “As far as time between the playoff games, that is not an issue in my eyes.”Palmer heads into the playoffs playing arguably the best football of his career. The 36-year-old completed 63.7 percent of his passes for 4,671 yards and 35 touchdowns with just 11 interceptions. The yards and touchdowns were franchise records and career highs, and his presence is a big reason for why the Cardinals are viewed as a one of the best teams in the league.“He’s playing at an MVP level. We’re not where we are without him, that’s for sure,” Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said. “He’s obviously more than just a quarterback. He’s the leader of the football team and our guys rally around him. He’s a very calming player. Bad things happen, he goes to the next play better than anybody I’ve ever seen.”If the Cardinals are to avoid being upset Saturday they will need their quarterback to be on his game, and Arians said it will be his job to make sure Palmer doesn’t get too excited. Not that he sees it as much of a challenge.“With his preparation, it’ll just be the normal playoff nerves and excitement,” the coach said. “You want the guys to feel that. You don’t want them lull, you know what I mean? He’s a pro. His kids will keep him grounded.” Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Top Stories Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impactlast_img

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