Q: How are you feeling about the way things are going?
Carson Palmer: Can’t wait for camp. We got a lot of good work in, and you never know what to expect as you’re coming out of this last mini-camp, after the OTAs and off-season workouts. I can’t speak for everybody, but I’m definitely pleasantly surprised with where we are. We got a lot done. We put in a lot. We executed very well. There weren’t a lot of middle mistakes. There were some young guys and rookie guys that need to catch up. But for a new offense, a new system, really a new regime, we’re in a good place with this time we have coming off to get ready for training camp.
Q: How comfortable are you now with the scheme?
Carson Palmer: Very comfortable, considering we just put it in, in six weeks, but I still have a long way to go. I have a lot of work to do this next couple of weeks before camp. I have a lot of preparation to do before training camp. But I’m very comfortable with what our mindset’s going to be and what’s expected of our offense and what’s expected of different positions, obviously including mine - but just very, very excited about the future and this upcoming year.
Q: So what will you do these next six or seven weeks?
Carson Palmer: Really go back through everything, starting with protections. Everything starts with protections. He fired everything at us, there really wasn’t a time to sit back and absorb little things here and there; little nuances of the running game, little nuances of redirection protections and two-minute and all of these different situations. Really kind of break it down, starting with protections, and then go on through all of the run game responsibilities on the quarterback because that’s where we’re going to really set the tone of games - with our running game.
Q: Will you just study everything or will you throw…?
Carson Palmer: Oh yeah, lots of throwing and just working out and running. Doing all of those things. Probably more than ever, just with the new offense in the off-season, really more than ever, studying the playbook and getting my feet really comfortable in our footwork and the running game and pass game and just getting my mind right for that.
Q: You looked pretty comfortable in a lot of these rollouts and half-rolls and reverse rolls and all the stuff that you did earlier in your career but maybe haven’t done a lot of the last few years. How stimulating is to sort of reshape your game at this time of year, to expand it, do different things?
Carson Palmer: It’s just new. It’s a completely new offense. There’s really no similarities to anything I’ve done before, but I love all the boots and play actions, the nakeds and the keepers and all those things. I’m excited to do that and those are things that are really going to help the running game. So the more the running game moves the chains and the better the running game is, the better everybody else is on the entire team.
Q: What is the toughest adjustment for you right now?
Carson Palmer: The toughest thing is probably we’re not game planning for our defense and our defense does a ton of different stuff. When you go into a game you have a game plan for what they are on third down, what they are in the red zone. Our defense has everything - every possible coverage, every alignment, so just getting to know our offense and then how to execute against every look in the book, every look that you can possibly see from every defense across the entire NFL. So that’s probably been the biggest adjustment for everybody, is our defense does a lot.
Q: How do things look with the offensive line? You’ve got Cooper [Carlisle] on the left side and Mike [Brisiel] is new at right, Wiz [Stefan Wisniewski] is out. You like what you see so far?
Carson Palmer: Really good. You’ve got Wiz who started last year, who didn’t get a rep, who’s recovering. You’ve got Joe Barksdale who’s another guy who can play. It’s a deep group. There’s a lot of competition at every position. The receiver group is another big competitive group. But offensive line, there’s a lot of guys that can play and trying to fight for that spot, it’s going to be interesting to see how it plays out.
Q: You look at Houston’s offense through the last few years, and I know people use that as almost sort of a blueprint for what you guys are doing with Greg [Knapp] being there and you see the damage that their tight ends have done, and a lot of the stuff that your tight ends have done these last three days, including guys like [Richard] Gordon who we hadn’t seen catch a lot of balls. That position, Dennis Allen mentioned the other day, is a position we thought might be a weakness and now it’s a strength. Do you see a lot of talent there at that position? Could you see that position produce a lot during regular season?
Carson Palmer: I think so. That position produces a lot in Houston. Our offense is similar to Houston, but it’s not the same. You have a good feel that
Q: Is it different than Houston’s because you have more speed in the outside, what’s the difference?
Carson Palmer: Just we’re not doing everything that they’ve done. There’s nothing on film, and some of the red zone stuff we’ve been putting in are basically first and second down stuff. There’s definitely some similarities, it is its own scheme, but we have a lot of concepts that I haven’t seen on film from them. I always ask [Greg] Knapp, where can I find this concept, he says, ‘They don’t do this, they don’t do this, they don’t do this.’ So we’re putting in a lot of stuff that they don’t do, and I’m sure there’s a lot of stuff they’re doing that we’re not doing. So it’s similar, but it’s not the same.
Q: Before reporting to Napa, Carson, you’ll just be in L.A. working out, different guys coming in, similar to what you were doing before OTAs…?
Carson Palmer: Yeah. We’ve got four or five weeks off. It’s just a chance to get a little bit of rest and then get back to work. We’ve got guys that are hungry and want to catch balls, and we’re going to be throwing, working out together, and just getting ready.