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Byron Leftwich will call plays for Cardinals in preseason game vs. Raiders

Carson Palmer is 18 days older than his quarterbacks coach, Byron Leftwich.

NFL: Washington Redskins at Arizona Cardinals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Former NFL quarterback Byron Leftwich is the quarterbacks coach for the Arizona Cardinals now, and Bruce Arians has been impressed enough with his tenure to turn over play-calling duties this weekend.

Arians told the media Wednesday that Leftwich will be the play caller for the Cardinals in the team’s second preseason game against the Oakland Raiders. Earlier in the offseason, Arians told reporters that Leftwich will “be a head coach early and fast” in his coaching career.

Leftwich, 37, played nine seasons in the NFL, beginning as a starter for the Jacksonville Jaguars for four seasons before becoming a backup for the Falcons, Steelers and Buccaneers. He was taken with the No. 7 overall selection in the 2003 NFL draft, six picks after the Cincinnati Bengals took Carson Palmer at No. 1.

Palmer told reporters Wednesday that he hadn’t even realized until a few days prior that he’s older than Leftwich by 18 days.

Leftwich first joined the Cardinals as a coaching intern in May 2016, but was promoted to quarterbacks coach in January. Freddie Kitchens held the position for four seasons for the Cardinals, but was moved to running backs coach, allowing Leftwich to take over.

Palmer and Drew Stanton didn’t play in the Hall of Fame Game, and Blaine Gabbert instead played the entire first half. The Cardinals haven’t yet announced plans for the second preseason game against the Raiders, but it appears likely that Palmer will take some snaps.

If he does, he’ll have one of his former draft day peers calling the shots for the Cardinals offense.