Carson Palmer: 'You can't let one game define you'

When coach Bruce Arians was asked at the NFL Scouting Combine last month what he learned from the Cardinals' playoff loss to the Panthers, he quipped, "Play at home."

The Patriots learned the same lesson after Tom Brady was hit 23 times in Denver. While it's certainly easier to win at home in the postseason, Arizona's brass understands the problems went beyond playing at Carolina in January.

The Cardinals have already begun upgrading the talent supply, trading for Pro Bowl pass rusher Chandler Jones and signing All-Pro guard Evan Mathis.

While the roster is built for another postseason run, one lingering hangover remains: How will Carson Palmer overcome the setback of a ghastly six-turnover performance that sealed his team's 2015 fate?

"You just turn the page," Palmer said recently, via The Arizona Republic. "You have to. There is no dwelling. There is no feeling sorry for yourself. There is no locking yourself in a closet. I've played 150-something games. You can't let one game define you. You just have to move on."

It certainly helps that Palmer has the full backing of his head coach, who said in late January there is "no doubt" the veteran quarterback will "come back with more vengeance" than he has in returning from career-altering knee injuries.

Arians expanded on that sentiment at the NFL Scouting Combine in February, when asked what Palmer will take away from his performance at Carolina.

"Just the experience. Having failed," Arians explained. "Last year, the knee was the driving force. This year, he's already working like crazy because of the way it ended. ... As a coach, you don't have to say anything. It's just get going again and see if we can reach that pinnacle again and play better."

Palmer trained like a maniac to return from ACL surgery last offseason, actually improving his pocket movement at age 35 while authoring the finest season of his 12-year career. He's approaching this offseason with a similar mindset.

"You take it head on," Palmer continued. "You're honest and you take the heat and you move on. It is what it is. That's the position. That's the game. Nobody is safe (at the position), other than the one guy that wins the Super Bowl, and even Peyton (Manning) was getting picked apart this year. There's a lot of pressure. But it's a good pressure."

Palmer led the Cardinals franchise to its best regular season in nearly seven decades last year. With the additions of Jones and Mathis, the pressure will be on the quarterback to overcome his postseason disappointment and lead Arizona to the Super Bowl while he's still physically capable.

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