QB Carson Palmer. Photo by Tony Gonzales
Q: Carson, this defense you're facing is not ranked very high against the pass, but the turnovers it's forcing is really up there, and it has been traditionally since Lovie Smith got there. What type of defense are you facing?
Palmer: Very good, very experienced, very physical. I don't pay a whole lot of attention to the rankings, I never really have. You can see what you need to figure out and see what you need to know going into a game on film. In watching them on film, they've had some big plays here and there, but it's a physical group. They can rush the passer, they're big up front; they go after the ball – everyone on defense - corners, safeties, linebackers. Probably the best linebacker tandem in the league with Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher. So just very good, very disciplined. I don't know how many guys on that team have played in a Super Bowl, but there's a handful of guys, even Peppers when he was in Carolina, so there are a lot of guys with experience, who have played a lot of games. It's a good defense.
Q: A lot of wide receivers on the 'did not participate' list today. If you don't have two or three of those guys, how do you prepare for this game?
Palmer: It makes it difficult. You don't get the same guys on the field from the week before. That rhythm and timing thing slows down a little bit. So we have our work cut out for us. We're playing against a good group, like I said, and we're not going to have all of our guys. But we have guys that have been waiting for their opportunity and looking for a chance to step up and help this team and guys are going to have to do that this week.
Q: You guys have played well on the road, but not that well at home. What is the key to getting that because you go into the year thinking you're going to win six, seven, eight at home, but that hasn't happened yet. How critical is it to get to that point here at home?
Palmer: Yeah, I mean, you have to win at home. You have to protect your field. And we have to do a better job keeping our crowd in it. We've fallen behind and not gotten off to fast starts, so I think that's a huge key for us is starting quickly and getting some points on the board and getting our defense a chance to rest on the sideline early in that first quarter and throughout the first half. But we need to play better, top to bottom. It comes down to finding ways to win and a lot of times that comes to execution. We have to execute better at home.
Q: What has the running game meant for you as part of your transition in getting acclimated to this team?
Palmer: It's been my best friend so far. Any time you can run the ball and have teams that come in to play you scared of the run game, it helps out the pass game tremendously and gets you in third and shorter situations. Any time you are in third-and-10 plus, it makes it difficult. We've avoided a lot of those situations because we've run the ball well on first and second down and it's been great.
Q: When you got here, is that one of the first things that stood out to you about the team when you watched them, the way you're able to run the ball?
Palmer: Yeah, I've known about Michael Bush for a long time. I've known about [Darren] McFadden for awhile. But I didn't know how well this offensive line and the fullback play – I didn't know how good those guys were. Until I was here and witnessed it firsthand, I didn't realize that they were that dominant up front and that powerful up front. It's been a pleasant surprise.
Q: What is it about this receiver group? Normally you have to have some chemistry to throw the ball up and let them go get it. What is it about this group that makes you feel like you can just throw it up and they'll go get it?
Palmer: They do it. I see it happen in practice. It happened three or four times today in practice just running by people. We've got speed; we've got fast guys that people know about, but there's other guys that you know – guys don't really know about Chaz Schilens and Louis Murphy. Both guys are fast. I mean, Chaz is 6'5" and once he opens up his stride, he's as fast as any of them. Louis Murphy is a 4.3 guy. There's guys other than Jacoby [Ford] that can run at the receiver position here. We practice it. We work on it a lot.
Q: Coach Jackson was talking about finishing and, as a quarterback, do you think the offense, once you get a lead, do you think the offense changes a little bit in the second half?
Palmer: I think you have to. If you're in a situation like that, you need to be smart. If you have a lead going into the 4th quarter, you need to try to wear that clock out and keep their offense off the field. But you have to score points in the 4th quarter and you have to execute and that's something we haven't done a very good job of. It's something we talked about a lot since Sunday and on Sunday in the locker room after the game. It's something we're going to focus on. As the season goes on and you get closer and closer to the playoffs, big division games come up and you have to score in the 4th quarter to seal wins, to come from behind, whatever the situation is. We need to execute better in the 4th quarter.
Q: You played in Baltimore, Pittsburg, and you guys are considered bullies here on the west coast. Have you talked to this team about how physical this game is going to be?
Palmer: I think it goes without being said. When you talk about the NFC North, it's a cold weather, running style, running football division in the past. Obviously, Green Bay has changed some of that and Detroit is doing it a little bit different now, but for as long as these guys on this team have been in the league, when you think of the NFC North, you think of a physical, running football game. These guys can run the ball as good as anybody. They have one of the best backs in the game. They can stop the run. So we know we have our work cut out for us and we're used to – that's one of the things we use going into games is our physical nature, our physical style of play. It's going to be physical versus physical and we expect to come out with a win.
Q: You personally have now gone into two hostile environments and won two difficult games. How do you feel since joining the team and how comfortable are you now?
Palmer: I get more comfortable every chance I get to practice or play. Really starting to get more comfortable, especially when I compare myself today to three weeks or four weeks ago. Just look forward to getting chances to practice and get on the field with these guys.
Q: It's pretty amazing to have no pre-snap penalties last week at Minnesota as loud as that crowd was. How comfortable do you feel with the playbook and calling plays?
Palmer: Very comfortable and these guys are comfortable with me and my cadence. We did a great job up front not jumping. We drew them offsides a couple of times in a place that's difficult to do that so I think that says a lot about the maturity and the years and the experience the guys up front have.
Q: You guys are using more no-huddle since you got here; is that a seamless transition for you guys and gone pretty smoothly as far as you coming in and the guys getting it?
Palmer: Yeah, everybody has picked it up. There's been some changes, but for the most part, they've been doing no huddle since before I got here. It was a package that they had practiced a lot. I know they talked a lot about it during training camp and worked on it a lot in training camp and just didn't really get a chance to kind of dust it off and use it in games and we've used it a couple times thus far.
Q: Have you always felt comfortable, is it a strength of yours, always enjoyed it?
Palmer: I enjoy it. I enjoy what works and it's worked for us and it's something we worked on quite a bit and we'll continue to do.