TEMPE, Arizona — A major part of Carson Palmer's long-anticipated return to full practice Tuesday was the Arizona Cardinals quarterback's return to being hard on himself for his performance.
Palmer is back from a season-ending torn ACL suffered in a game last November. He took snaps and made throws in 11-on-11 drills on Tuesday, the first day of the team's three-day June mini-camp.
When practice ended Palmer was asked if he felt he accomplished something.
"No," Palmer said. "This is just one of the many steps in a long road. This was the goal from the get-go, from Nov. 18 on, and it's just one goal achieved. There's a lot bigger goals and a number of goals still to go."
Palmer admitted to feeling rusty, though he did make some strong and accurate deep throws. He felt the long layoff in his footwork, particularly on running plays, and facing pass rush pressure and coverage.
"You have these surgeries and you start the walking process, the jogging process, the running process. You reteach the foot, the knee, the leg the technique of each of those steps," Palmer said. "I've got a long ways to go, a lot of work to do, but I'm where I expected to be."
Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said Palmer looked strong, and likes the fact Palmer was critical of himself.
"Of the 100 balls he threw, he only had one bad one," the NFL's coach of the year said. "I thought his movement in the pocket, there was no hesitation in him.
"I hope he's never happy, and I don't think he ever will be until he hoists that Lombardi Trophy."
Palmer said things he felt Tuesday in practice were similar to what he dealt with in coming back from a left ACL injury he suffered in a 2006 playoff game against Pittsburgh. That was a positive.
"I think that's why I'm in such a better place now, because I know what to expect," Palmer said. "I'm not disappointed. I accept the challenge."
The Cardinals went 11-5 last season and made the playoffs, but with Palmer as the starter they were 6-0. The knee injury came in a non-contact situation in the fourth quarter of a home game against the St. Louis Rams.
Palmer had surgery and worked his way back to limited action in organized team activities last month. On Tuesday, the "training wheels" came off, as Arians labeled it.
"As fast as he can go now. He's ready to roll," Arians said. "He's really been practicing. This was the first time for team red zones and team third downs that he's gotten."
The mental side of returning to action is something Palmer already was addressing long before Tuesday. He's done a lot of film studying at the team facility and at home in the offseason to stay sharp.
Palmer said he didn't sleep well Monday night, eager as he was to get back on the field.
"There's nothing like it," Palmer said. "When you do get injured and you have it taken away, it gives you a different perspective."
NOTES: Arians said WR Michael Floyd has a minor hamstring injury that kept him out of practice as a precaution. . RB Andre Ellington is running at full speed in practice after dealing with a number of injuries last season, Arians said. . CB Patrick Peterson looked quick and confident on a punt return, Arians said, and didn't rule out the possibility of him doing that this season.