It seems most Arizona Cardinals fans were hoping for the return of their starting quarterback Carson Palmer this week, following the team's Week 4 bye. That might not be the case.
Palmer is still recovering from the nerve damage in his right shoulder, and it sounds like it's taking longer than expected.
"I was hoping to be throwing more than I am," Palmer said. "It's slowly improving. Nothing ever improves as fast as you want it to. I'll just continue to stay on what I have been doing and hopefully it continues to progress."
Backup Cardinals QB Drew Stanton has played well in Palmer's stead, completing 32-of-62 passes for 411 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions in victories over the Giants and 49ers, according to the Cardinals' official site. Palmer has praised the job done by Stanton but is still hoping for a quick return.
"I'm always optimistic," Palmer said. "I wish I could predict the future. I wish I knew exactly what was going to happen. Just have to continue to do the rehab, it continues to progress and hopefully there are no bumps in the road."
We'll know a lot more about Palmer's status based on how much he practices Wednesday and Thursday.
A top prospect steps in
The Cardinals are still waiting for their 2013 top draft pick to pay dividends, and Monday's development may be a metaphorical first step.
Jonathan Cooper, guard from UNC and 7th overall pick in 2013, saw some starting reps at left guard Monday after right guard Paul Fanaika sat out practice and Ted Larsen slid over to take his place. Cooper lost his rookie season to a broken leg and parts of preseason this year with turf toe; his recovery may finally be reaching its zenith.
"He's had two really good weeks of practice," coach Bruce Arians said. "There's very hardly any noticeable limp whatsoever, and he's playing much better."
Arians remains confident that Larsen and Fanaika will play vs. the Broncos, but this development bears watching. If the Cardinals o-line is struggling - and we believe they are - it makes sense to boost their ranks with one of the top OL prospects to come out of college in the past two years.