Three years ago, when Bruce Arians picked up Carson Palmer at an Oakland Raiders fire sale for a seventh-round pick and made him the Arizona Cardinals' starting quarterback, he warned people that it probably was going to take Palmer about half a season before the light went on.
Sure enough, Palmer struggled in the first seven games that season, throwing just eight touchdown passes and 13 interceptions. He was near the bottom of the league in passing with a 69.4 rating.
Then, just like that, everything started to click for him. In the Cardinals' final nine games that year, Palmer had a 94.5 passer rating. He threw 16 TD passes to nine interceptions. His completion percentage jumped from 60.5 to 65.6. His yards per attempt average in the final nine games was 8.3, nearly two yards more than the first seven games.
This year, after coming back from the second ACL injury of his career, Palmer is second in the league in passing and already has thrown 31 touchdown passes
Arians pointed to the night-and-day improvement last year of Giants quarterback Eli Manning once he finally got comfortable with offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo's west coast system.
"Just look at Eli," Arians said Wednesday in a conference call with the Philadelphia media. "It took him a while to get into the west coast system. Now he's playing very good and obviously feels very comfortable in that offense
"I think it just takes time for guys. Some it takes a little longer. Others, by the second part of the season, they should be flourishing."
Which, of course, brings us to Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford, who appears to be settling in to Chip Kelly's tempo offense.
In Bradford's last four starts, he has a 97.5 passer rating, a 65.2 completion percentage, five TD passes and just one interception, which, if referee Ed Hochuli had been wearing his glasses on Sunday, wouldn't have been an interception.
In his first seven starts this year after being traded for Nick Foles, Bradford had a 76.4 passer rating, nine TDs, 10 interceptions.
"It's not just getting healthy (for Bradford)," said Arians, whose 11-2 Cardinals will face the 6-7 Eagles at the Linc on Sunday night.
"It's finding your rhythm in that offense. Same thing with Carson here. As you're learning, you're playing slower. As you get a feel for it, the game slows down and your athletic ability can take over.
"And Sam is blessed with a ton of athletic ability. I had him rated as one of the best ever to come out. He just got unlucky with injuries. But he's beginning to flourish in that offense now."
Eagles coach Chip Kelly traded Foles for Bradford, who was coming off back-to-back ACL injuries, because he didn't think Foles could take the Eagles from good to great. He believed Bradford could. If his knee could stay in one piece. So far it has.
"That was a major decision to go away from Nick (Foles) and go with Sam," Arians said. "Those are decisions you make as a head coach."
Arians completely understands why Kelly made the ballsy move. He made it for the same reason he went out and got Palmer, albeit at a considerably cheaper price. Because without a top quarterback, you're doomed to failure in the NFL.
"You're tied to the hip of your quarterback no matter where you're a head coach," Arians said. "That relationship and how well that guys plays, your job pretty much depends on it.
"You can have the greatest defense, and you can run the ball. But if you don't have a quarterback, you're not going to go anywhere."