By midseason, coach Bruce Arians felt compelled to defend his quarterback. Palmer was struggling behind an injury-ravaged offensive line while wideouts Michael Floyd and John Brown disappeared for long stretches. From Thanksgiving through the end of the season, though, Palmer had recaptured the form that had propelled him into the 2015 MVP race.
As it turns out, there was another reason for Palmer's early-season woes.
Appearing on The Rich Eisen Show last week, Arians revealed Palmer entered the season with fatigue in his throwing arm after overworking in the months leading up to September.
"He's one of the hardest working dudes I've ever been around, so we have to pull the reins back on him," Arians explained. "Last year, he came in to September, he had already wore his arm out by overthrowing all summer. We found a nice regimen, [and by] November and December he was playing as good as he's ever played."
Palmer acknowledged in May a new regimen was needed to adapt to his NFL twilight years.
"I don't think I've done a good job the last eight or nine years of my career," Palmer said at the time. "I've treated the last eight or nine years like I was 24, 25, 26, like the first eight or nine years of my career."
The regimen referenced by Arians included sitting out Wednesday practices down the stretch and curtailing Palmer's throwing in March and April.
If Palmer follows an impressive offseason with a bounce-back campaign during the regular season, perhaps he'll forego the retirement dance next February.
"Every year's going to be another question at the end of the season how he feels," Arians told Eisen. "Competitively, he'll never quit. His wife will probably have to tell him this is it."