Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer has his detractors.
Those people will point to his career playoff record (or lack thereof) as fuel to lump Palmer into a category below the elite signal-callers in the NFL. Others will point to his 17 interceptions on the season as a negative.
The fact is, Palmer's critics have been very quiet as of late. In his last seven games, Palmer has completed 69 percent of his passes (160-of-232) for 1,948 yards and 13 touchdowns while only throwing four interceptions. Not surprisingly, the Cardinals have gone 6-1 in that stretch to keep their NFC playoff chances alive.
As impressive as his numbers have been, Palmer has impressed Cardinals general manager Steve Keim in other ways.
"The one thing I've grown to admire more and more each day is Carson Palmer's toughness," Keim told Doug and Wolf Monday on Arizona Sports 620. "Not only mentally, but his physical toughness.
"Here's a guy that several weeks ago against the Philadelphia Eagles on the first play of the game, gets his elbow and his arm injured and doesn't complain, plays through it."
Not only did Palmer play through the pain, he threw for 302 yards and a season-high three touchdown passes in the three-point loss.
Palmer played in pain again Sunday in the win over Tennessee. Titans defensive lineman Kamerion Wimbley hit Palmer late on Arizona's second possession of the game and rolled into the quarterback's left leg. Wimbley was flagged for roughing the passer and Rashard Mendenhall scored on a 1-yard run on the next play.
Palmer played the remainder of the game with the ankle heavily taped.
"Just looking at it from the TV copy, he got rolled up pretty good. At first, I thought 'I hope that's not his ACL'," Keim said. "Sure enough, he got it taped up, didn't say a word and got in there and fought through it."
According to ProFootballFocus.com, the veteran has played 954 of a possible 957 snaps on offense. The other three quarterback snaps went to either Patrick Peterson or Andre Ellington in Wildcat formation plays.