QB Carson Palmer. Photo by Tony Gonzales
Q:What do you see in Miami's defense? They're playing really well these last four weeks, what are they doing really well on defense?
*Palmer: *They're doing everything well right now. They had a hot streak going; they won three in a row and played Dallas really good all they way up until the very end of the game. But they do everything well - they can rush the passer, they force turnovers, they play a ton of different coverages, they bring pressure, they draw back and sit in zone, they read eyes with the quarterback and stop the run and limit big plays in the running game. So it's a very good defense and a very underrated defense and it's going to take our best effort in Miami.
Q:Have you played them much recently?
Palmer:I've played them probably every other year for the last handful of years and it's always a very physical group. They're offensive line is always very physical it seems and they run the ball really well especially when they had Ronnie Brown and that wild cat deal going. But definitely playing the best defense I've seen them play in a long time.
Q:Hue [Jackson] made a big deal about the hurdle scoring in the fourth quarter and you guys finally got over that; is that something that you guys as players were aware of and just important getting that?
Palmer:Yes, I was definitely aware of it, especially in that game we needed that score. But we need more and we need to find ways to get more points and generate more points in the red zone but also just in the fourth quarter in general. At this point in the year, especially at some of the games we have coming up we need to generate more points in the second half.
Q:What do you see this game in terms of incremental steps for this team? As you said, a really big one out there, but to go across country and get this one on the road, how big would that be?
Palmer:Huge; 8-4 is a good number to be at this time of the year. A good number to be at in the race that were in, in this division. But going all the way across the country, playing against a good team that's turned their season around and has found a way to win some big games and really beat people physically. The games haven't been close that they won. So it's big for us, getting to 8-4 and then having another road game, two road games, back to back road games that are far trips. It's going to be a tough two weeks for us, but I think this team is ready for it.
Q:You've been in these situations before. How do you avoid looking past Miami and looking at a team like Green Bay that's undefeated and playing in their place?
Palmer:I haven't thought about Green Bay once. Miami is too good. We haven't looked at their record or thought about their record. You just put on the film and there is no other team that you can think about. You see Cameron Wake in your sleep at night. Yeremiah Bell is playing as good as safety as anybody in the league. Both their corners are good, very good. Karlos Dansby's been a great linebacker since his first year in the league. It's a good group and on the other side of the ball they're finding ways to score points. So, this team is not looking at any other game.
Q:Have you ever been around a situation where a punter is such a leader on the team and addresses the team in the locker room after the game?
Palmer:No, there might not be another one in the league. I think he's definitely the best punter in the league, but just as far as a teammate, a leader, a veteran, a professional, he does everything right, he says the right things, he doesn't act like a kicker. I wouldn't put him in that mold; he's just a great teammate.
Q:What about Sebastian [Janikowski]?
Palmer:They're both different in their own rights but Seabass is a great teammate just not as vocal. But for Seabass to do what he did the last couple of weeks playing, I don't think anybody has ever played as injured as he's played. He's playing at about 60% maybe 50%. That doesn't happen, and for him just to suck it up and go out there, take two steps on a kickoff and just try not to tear his hamstring in half and get his team in the right position and get his defense set up with a short or longer field. For him to do that for the team; guys recognize that and they appreciate it.
Q:The offense is kind of like that too in a sense that the next one up is playing for some very injured playmakers out there. What's that say about this offense that you've been able to with the parts you have out there go out there and get it done, but when you get some guys back like [Denarius] Moore, [Jacoby] Ford, [Darren] McFadden, what can this offense do?
Palmer:Well, it's been kind of a mismatch – just we've had different guys have to step up. Stefen Wisineski, for a rookie to have to play center midway thru the season, midway through a game, twice, and then start a game at center, that doesn't happen very often. You don't find many guys that can do that. Denarius Moore has been great all year, then he goes down and we got to find whether it's Chaz [Schilens] or Darrius Heyward-Bey has to come up with some plays. Or Brandon Myers - his load jumped up quite a bit and he was forced to play a little bit more. Marcel Reece was forced to play a little bit more, so it's just kind of – it doesn't matter what the situation is what the personal group is, wen your number's called you got to run out there on the field and do your job. There's no complaints. I don't even think it's something that's talked about. I said something to Stefen after the Minnesota game for him to go in and play that well on that game in a loud stadium and play that position, there aren't many centers – there aren't any centers that can do that.
Q:When you first got here, Marcel was a little dinged up. Are we just scratching the surface of what he can do for you?
Palmer: I just met him. I've loved everything I've seen and I hope to see more. So we'll see, but he's been a very pleasant surprise. He looks like a fullback but he runs like a receiver, once the balls in his hands he looks like a tailback. So he's kind of a chameleon, whatever we ask him to do whether it's line up in the back field, get in that three point stance or line up as a receiver, he'll do it. He can do anything that's asked of him.
Q:Does that help the versatility of guys like Marcel helped with the other skill position guys injured?
Palmer:Oh yeah. I mean, we were down three receivers at one point and for him to come in and play receiver just it doesn't shut down your offense, it doesn't make you so one-dimensional. It gives you the ability to line up in different formations and create different mismatches in different ways than you normally would. So it hasn't been a negative thing, it's been a positive thing and it's been great for Marcel.
Q:Are you, as the quarterback, salivating wondering what the offense could potentially look like when you get McFadden, when you get Ford, and Denarius you know, every single weapon at your disposal?
Palmer:Yes, I haven't. I've been so busy and focused on so many other things, but it's exciting to kind of play around with when you think about when we have McFadden and Bush on the field at the same time with Denarius and Jacoby and Darrius Heyward-Bey. There's a lot of speed and two real physical fast guys. I mean there's a ton of different combinations we can get to, but I'll start thinking about that and the coaches will start getting into those type of schemes and those types of plays when those guys are available, but just been too busy to really think too much about it.
Q:Some of the guys have said you like to keep it light in the huddle, is that something you've found important over the years? Keep things kind of a joke here and there?
Palmer:Yeah, I don't know. I guess I don't really realize it, but you have to, especially on a Wednesday practice. You know you're playing against a team that's had ten days rest. We're beat up, tired and your doing group install and you have pads on and offensive linemen hitting and I'm not getting touched. You have to find ways to make guys smile and realize that it's not just work, it's fun, you know, this is a game.