Is Carson Palmer the problem?

The Bengals aren’t having the season like many were expecting and there’s a lot of finger pointing going on in Cincinnati. One of the people centered around this blame is QB Carson Palmer but is he the problem? He’s part of it but the Bengals, as a team, are playing bad. They commit too many stupid mistakes and penalties to be a playoff team. Not to mention Cedric Benson’s having a rough season and they have a lot of key guys in the secondary hurt. It’s unfair to put the blame for the Bengals 2-6 record on Palmer’s shoulders but you have to wonder how the Bengals are going to do in future season with him. While Palmer’s not the entire reason for the Bengals problems, I don’t see them going anywhere further than the first round in the playoffs (at the highest) with him at QB.

I’ve had the chance to watch a lot of Bengals games this year and I just haven’t been impressed with Palmer and watching him lead potential game winning drives is just brutal. I know he has good numbers right now but whenever I watch him, I see a QB with absolutely no mobility and a weak arm. If you’re going to be a pocket passer, that’s fine but you have to have a better arm than Palmer does. The injuries have definitely taken a toll on him. Many Bengals fans were saying this would be a “make or break” year for him with having so many weapons around him now. It’s kind of hard to use them when you just sit in the pocket the whole time.

As I said earlier, Palmer’s numbers aren’t bad, in fact they look pretty good on paper. 2103 yards, 59.7 completion percentage and 14 touchdowns. However, the best games Palmer’s had this year are when he’s played from behind, meaning the team would be passing the ball most of the time. Let’s look at some of them.

Vs. New England: 34/50 345 yards, 2 TDs, INT

The Bengals were trailing 31-3 at one point in this game and Palmer’s stats look inflated because he was trying to engineer a comeback and the Pats likely had their 2nd team defense in. He was also averaging only 6.4 yards per completion.

Vs. Baltimore 16/35 167 yards

Cincinnati won this game but Palmer was awful. I watched this game and Palmer was off-target on so many passes it’s not even funny. He overthrew Ochocinco on what would have been a TD pass.

Vs. Tampa Bay 21/36 209 yards 2 TD 3 INT

Showed Palmer try to lead a game winning drive and he ended up throwing an interception.

Vs. Miami 17/38 156 yards 2TD 1 INT

He should have had two picks but one of his passes went off Chris Clemons hands and into TO’s for the touchdown. He was just terrible in this game. He was brutal under pressure and it ended up with him throwing an incerception which lost the game for the Bengals.

Vs. Pittsburgh 22/36 248 yards 2 TD, INT

Again, Palmer couldn’t lead a game winning drive and he had cement feet in the pocket for the whole game. One of his TD passes looked like he just heaved it up for Owens and hoped for the best and it worked a couple times but overall it wasn’t enough.

Anyway, where I’m going with this is that while Palmer isn’t exactly killing the Bengals, I don’t think they will be able to go that far with him at QB. He’s good at putting points on the board when the team is behind but not much more than that. His best outings this year are when the team was battling from huge deficits. Should the Bengals look for new options at QB? In a perfect world, yes but his contract prevents him from being traded. Why? Because it’s way too much for any team to take on.

Details:

2010: $10.5 million, 2011-2012: $11.5 million, 2013: $13 million, 2014: $14 million, 2015: Free Agent

What team is going to want that? However, if the Bengals really do tank this year (I’m talking 5-11) bad, then Palmer might be cut because it’s an uncapped year and the Bengals wont have to take any cap penalty. The Bengals would look pretty bad since Palmer’s having a good season number wise but with how much money they have invested in him and how weak his arm his, this is a really good chance to take his salary off the books. Who will they turn to after him? Beats me. I just know that Palmer while not the problem of the Bengals, definitely isn’t the solution for future seasons. 

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