Carson Palmer Press Conference

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Q: What's the latest on your elbow? CP:

Nothing's changed. Like I said last week, I prepare. I'm expecting to play. I'll be a little bit limited in practice, but getting as many reps as I can. It looks like it'll come down to a decision later in the week.

Q: With all the treatment you've had in the last four or five days, do you feel like it's getting better?CP:

Definitely. It's progressed day by day, and I keep my fingers crossed, keep praying and hope that it keeps progressing and that I'll be ready to roll.

Q: Is this a type of injury that you have to be careful, that if you push it too much it could become something more severe?CP:

Yeah. I mean, you don't want to over-stress what I've got going on, and when you do, that's when you start either getting tendinitis or start tearing things and requiring surgery later on down the road. So the training staff's going to take this thing as slow as possible and definitely have a long-term mindset, wanting to see some progression and making sure we're not pushing it too fast.

Q: Does that make it more difficult for you?CP:

Yes. I've been fortunate enough to not have many injuries like this that have kept me out of games, and I've practiced ever since I've been here, every single day, and haven't missed practices. So it's different watching and only doing the run plays and not getting to throw. It can be frustrating. But I just need to be patient, like I said, and trust the medical staff that they're doing the right thing.

Q: Did you ever have any elbow problems before?CP:

No.

Q: It is tough for Fitzpatrick to fit into the game plan?CP:

No. I don't think. You know, we do a lot of things very similarly. The biggest difference is his ability to run. He's virtually a tailback when he gets the ball in his hands. He's so fast and quick and can make so much happen in the running part of his game, and you've seen it last week. He's literally shaking people down in the middle of the field and breaking tackles and running around people. So aside from that, we're two very similar quarterbacks as far as the throws we can make and what we can do inside the pocket.

Q: Have you had a chance to meet Cedric Benson, and what do you think he means to this team?CP:

I met him very briefly. It's a good guy to have behind a guy like Chris (Perry) where he's got experience in this league. He's had reps, he's scored touchdowns, he's run for a number of yards, so he's had some success. And having a guy like that who's been in a complicated offense where he's got a lot of blitz pick-ups and a lot of protection issues, having a guy with his experience for an offense like ours where the running back's called on quite a bit for blocking, it's good. It's a big plus for us that. Like I said, he's had some experience. And with his experience, he's had some success and been to a Super Bowl and played in big games.

Q: Why do you think Ryan Fitzpatrick can succeed?CP:

He's proven it. He's come in since day one, excelled in our offense on the practice field. It won't be too big for him. It doesn't get too big for him when he has to carry stuff over from practice to games. When it's not there, he can take off and run with his feet. He can make all the throws. He's very calm and cool. There are times you worry about guys in practice because they look great and you wonder how they're going to do on game days. Is it going to be too big of a deal for them? Will they be able to settle down and relax? Ryan's not that way at all. He looks just like he does on game days as in practice. He competes day in and day out, and like I said, he can make all the throws.

Q: Why do you think he struggled last week?CP:

I think he just struggled early. Really, other than two throws, he did everything we asked of him. He got in a tough situation a couple of times, like every guy who hasn't played a ton. Every quarterback in the league makes a couple mistakes, throws balls that he wishes he would've thrown a little bit differently, or just wishes he would've pulled them down. But once he got settled in and got the feel of the game speed, he played phenomenal, brought us down and scored when we had to and did everything we asked him to do on offense.

Q: Chris Henry returns today; are you mostly just hoping he gets his life turned around?CP:

Yes. I've been around him a number of times, and from everything I can tell, he's doing a great job of blocking the right people out, the people who kind of brought him down, and has really just focused on his family and getting his life back together. I think a lot of the guys who have had a chance to spend time with him and talk to him have noticed it, and they're proud of him in that way. As far as getting back on the football field, it really just comes down to how long he's been out and how many adjustments he needs to make. 

If he gets out there and he needs to adjust to the speed of the ball coming out, the speed of defenders, it's going to take him a while. But if he gets out there and he's catching everything and he looks good, finding holes in zones, running routes, beating man coverage, he has his feet underneath him ... a lot of times when guys come back, they're slipping in and out of cuts and falling in and out of breaks ... really it just comes down to how he does in practice. If he can do it in practice, he can do it in games. We've seen him do it in games.

Q: It took so long to get in rhythm with Chad (Ocho Cinco) and T.J. (Houshmandzadeh); can Chris (Henry) really get back into the mix that soon?CP:

Like I said, if he's not doing it in practice and he looks sloppy running routes and doesn't look like he can adjust to the ball, then he's not ready. If he comes out and he's catching the ball, he's doing a good job beating man coverage, he's doing a good job in the zone, then he'll be fine.

Q: Comment on the job Antonio Chatman has done in that role (Henry's):CP:

Looked great. Antonio has gotten better from practice to practice and each week in games, made more plays in games. He really came alive two weeks ago in New York with some punt returns and getting the ball and beating guys one-on-one. Did it again last week; he caught a quick five- or 10-yard route and broke a tackle and ended up turning it into more. He's looked phenomenal. He knows the offense. He's a guy you can count on. He just needs to get more reps and get more balls thrown his way, because he's done a good job.

Q: Did you talk to Tony Romo at all during the combine?CP:

We bumped into each other like you bump into everybody.

Q: You're the typical quarterback, from a great school and a number one draft pick, and (Tony) Romo wasn't drafted. Talk about that:CP:

A lot of guys are recruited to places they shouldn't have been recruited by, and guys who should have been recruited by bigger schools don't get recruited by bigger schools. The quarterback position has got to be the toughest one to evaluate and grade at the college level, and then again at the pro level. There's a lot of guys who slip through the cracks, Tony's a guy who definitely slipped through the cracks. A lot of guys either made bad evaluations on him at high school to not offer him a scholarship or just didn't see him and didn't find him. Because it's such a difficult position to judge -- to say, 'This guy can play at the Division  I level or at the pro level' --  a lot of guys could have gotten better offers or gone to bigger programs.

Q: Is it tough to gauge a quarterback, like Tony Romo's skills in college?CP:

Yeah, it's a tough position to gauge, especially when you're coming from a small school. A guy like Ryan Fitzpatrick that can play at all levels and could have played at any level in college maybe doesn't get the big D-1 offers. When you're watching film and watching Harvard play, you can look and say he did great at Harvard, can he do it at the pro level? Just like Tony, he did great at the college level, can he do it at the pro level? And then you gauge guys like myself and other guys who go to big D-1 schools, you expect they can do it at the D-1 level, that they can do it in the NFL, and that doesn't always work out. 

Q: Dallas has always been "America's Team." Is there something more special about playing there?CP:

Definitely. Personally, I grew up a Cowboys fan. It's a place I've never been and I've always wanted to play. I've always wanted to see it. I'm excited to see the old stadium and I'd love to see the new stadium. It looks like it'll be a number of years before we get back there. But it's America's Team, it has a perception of being the classiest organization. A lot of guys won't admit it, but everybody wants to play for the Cowboys. Everyone wants to get drafted by the Cowboys, the way the organization is set up and the way they treat their players. Everybody in the NFL looks forward to this game. The fan base, it seems so large, that they have fans all over the country. It just seems like it's the big show, the Lakers of the NBA. It's an exciting game for our team. A lot of guys on our team have talked about the Cowboys and what it would be like to play there. It will be a big game for us because of all the attention they probably get and just who the Cowboys are.

Q: You liked (Troy) Aikman when you were a kid?CP:

I followed Aikman and (Michael) Irvin and all the Super Bowls they had. Like I said, in California, when they came out to training camp, it's like your home team when you don't really have a team that's close to you.

Q: Have you talked to Aikman?CP:

Not recently.
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