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Cards plan to 'feed' Adrian Peterson with Palmer out

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The Arizona Cardinals' plan with Carson Palmer out is simple: "Feed the beast."

Offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin said he plans to ride Adrian Peterson early and often Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers.

"Feed the beast," Goodwin said, via the team's official website. "It's like an old stove. The more wood you put in it, the hotter it gets. We've just got to make sure we feed him the ball so he can get comfortable."

Peterson's response: "I'm all about that."

Drew Stanton has a 6-3 record in games started with the Cardinals since 2014, but the offense has struggled, earning just 18.3 points per game and 292.4 total yards per tilt, both well down from Palmer's numbers (26.1 and 377.4 since 2014).

Arizona has tended to shade more towards the running game with Stanton under center. With Palmer, the Cards average 38.5 run plays per game, but that number rises to 44.2 when Stanton starts.

The question heading into the back half of the season is whether Peterson can carry the load versus a stacked box. The veteran galloped for 134 yards in his first start with Arizona, averaging 5.2 yards per carry. He was stymied in his second, going for 21 yards and 1.9 yards per tote. Which performance is the real thing and which the aberration?

With Stanton under center, Peterson is more likely to see defenses key on the run game. The veteran has run tough in brief action this season and certainly looks like the Peterson we've come to know. If he can carry the load, the Cards offense will function much better.

"Drew, he's proven," Peterson said. "He's won many games for this organization. He's had a couple great days of practice. I remember looking out there today and I saw one ball. I was like, 'Wow.' It was just a beautiful pass. We're confident in him, but of course I want to do my job and make things easier for him."

If Peterson can't shoulder the offense, things could get ugly in Arizona.

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