Carson Palmer doesn’t know the meaning of the words “bye week”

TEMPE, Ariz. – There’s no such thing as a bye week for Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer. He’s got things to do in preparation for the second half of the season.

“I’ll zone out (on) Feb. 8 (day after Super Bowl 50),” Palmer said. “It’s (the) bye week, but we’re in here working. We’re going to continue to (work). Guys are going to be around working out, and getting healthy, and prepping for the road ahead.”

Over the last two days, Palmer says he’s watched film of the Saints, Bears and 49ers games, and he says he’ll finish the last five games before the team returns to practice on Tuesday.

Palmer threw four touchdown passes in the win over the Browns this past Sunday. Those four put him at 20 total on the season, which not only is a franchise record for touchdown passes in the first eight games of a season, but it also has him tied with Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for the most touchdown passes in the NFL.

When Palmer was asked to grade out his season thus far as the team is on their bye, his vocal inflection spoke more than he ever could when he said the words “it’s been good.” Just standing next to Palmer at his locker, you could tell just by looking at his face and hearing the way those words came out that he expected a whole lot more than what he’s given up to this point.

“You’re happy to be 6-2, but you can’t help but think about that 2 that’s hanging after the 6,” Palmer said. “I think it’s been good, but there’s a lot of room for a lot of improvement for everybody.”

Not a single soul in the locker room or in the front office is ever content with anything they do. This team may be high on all the national rankings, and they may be 6-2 and on top of the NFC West, and they might have the hottest offense and defense in the league, but, at the end of the day, there’s always another few rungs everyone can climb on that proverbial ladder to the top.

“You always want to do better,” Palmer said. “You always look at the film, and you never once walk away from watching film, and go, ‘Aww man, we hit everything perfect, and we didn’t leave any yards out there.’ You never have that feeling, and you can’t have that feeling. You can’t have that stagnant feeling of, ‘Alright, we got it figured out.’”

“We’ll look back at the first half of the season, and all the areas we can improve on, (and) not look at all the things we did good, and say, ‘We’re good at that stuff, let’s figure something else out,’” Palmer said. “We’re always looking for an edge, always looking for a way to get better, and score more points, be more productive on third down, (and) in the red zone; all those things.”

The prevailing theme throughout the first eight weeks of the season, and something head coach Bruce Arians has been a stickler for, is cutting down on mental errors. In talking to Arians, and every player in the locker room, they know that if they’re going to continue to win ball games, and make a deep run in the playoffs, which hopefully ends with them hoisting the Lombardi Trophy at Levi’s Stadium on Feb. 7, they’re going to have to get their minds in as great a shape as their bodies are in right now.

“We need to be more efficient,” Palmer said. “Even the plays that have been good, there’s more in those big gain plays. You want to run the ball for four yards an attempt, but we’ve have seven or eight yard runs where you want to be a little bit more efficient, (and) get that one last block, so it’s a big gainer like (running back) Chris (Johnson) can do. So really just be more efficient in every facet of the offense.”

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