Wednesday, September 10, 2008

This Just In: Carson Palmer Headlining 2008 Backpedalpalooza!

I caught a bunch of negative email when I suggested that Carson Palmer doesn't receive the blame he deserves for the train wreck that is the Cincinnati Bengals. Then Baltimore happened, and I was validated, unfortunately. Or so I thought. After the Ravens game I received antagonizing email that shared a basic theme: "You see, it's not Palmer's fault - his line is garbage."

Which kind of makes my point. The Bengals' offensive line is garbage, but what about finding a way to make a momentum-swinging play when given the opportunity? And believe me, even if it didn't seem like it, there were opportunities.

Palmer spent the majority of the game backpedaling, which is understandable - after all, large mammals were chasing after him with hopes of wrestling him to Earth and/or injuring his spleen. But the spleen injury attempts didn't happen on every pass play, and if you disagree with me, you and I didn't watch the same game. I remember at least three times where Palmer dropped back to throw, had solid pass protection, and did one of two things:

1. Backpedaled for no reason and heaved an inaccurate duck over a somewhat open receiver, or...

2. Left the pocket before it broke down.

Again, my favorite Bengal did these things, and looked like a starry-eyed rookie in the process. And no matter how you spin it, there's simply no excuse for reacting this way. Sure, I get that Baltimore gave Palmer no time to breathe for the great majority of the game, and that he came to expect the heat, but shouldn't a (supposedly) great QB not worry about this kind of stuff? Shouldn't a (supposedly) great QB be able recognize when he's actually receiving solid protection? I mean, let's just say Palmer hurried his throw or prematurely escaped the pocket a total of three times...well, shouldn't a (supposedly) great QB have been able to make the most of those moments? I say yes. Carpe diem, yo!

Plain and simple: Palmer panicked on more than one occasion against Baltimore, where one big play meant the difference between losing and overtime. Call me stupid, but I'm guessing it's a bad sign when the 28-year-old, $100 million face of the franchise is visibly rattled by an above average pass rush.

Two years ago I thought Carson Palmer was the next Dan Marino. Ten months ago I regrettably drew comparisons between Palmer and Drew Bledsoe, which may end up being unfair to Bledsoe. Let's just hope I don't get a strong Daunte Culpepper vibe eight weeks from now?

Anyway, what the hell happened to this guy? And do you have faith he'll ever return to the heights of 2005?

-Brad Spieser (
9/11/08 (the 7th anniversary of when Mom had me stop, drop and rolling because terrorists were attacking Ohio)