1. It may not be fair to say he “quit” on the Bengals.
Money can be leverage, but – in the NFL – it makes sense to let your quarterback have input on the offense. Don’t get too hyped from the 4-2 record the Bengals have. Their rookie QB has been shaky at times and they have four games left vs. the Steelers and Ravens. The Bengals had the worst facilities in the NFL and an owner-GM who clearly didn’t get along with the star quarterback.
2. He sometimes looks tentative.
He takes command of the huddle, has the right temperament to handle rough situations but – in several games I saw in the last three seasons – he threw the ball away unnecessarily when there was pressure. I don’t know if he was afraid of getting injured or if maybe he lost some competitive fire because he understood how futile and frustrating it was to fake the idea that you have something to play for when you know your team is headed nowhere. The truth is, Peyton Manning does this due to a combination of being a slow runner and knowing he can convert it on the next down.
3. He will throw interceptions.
While interceptions can be the result of being behind a lot or a receiver not running the right route, some of his interceptions were errant throws last season. Something I believe would limit his interceptions – and this is true for Jay Cutler, Mark Sanchez and others – would be having a wide receiver who will make adjustments and dominate corners when the ball is in the air. Carson Palmer’s INT rate has been 4.2, 2.3, 2.5, 3.5, he was hurt most of 2008, 2.8, and 3.4 since he got into the NFL.
4. He’s probably the closest thing to a franchise quarterback that Raiders have had since the 80?s.
All apologies to Jason Campbell, who rose above his bad circumstances and became a pretty good quarterback when many were sure that would never happen. That said, Campbell’s never had a season near what Palmer had in 2005 and 2006, and has a career 60.8% completion and 6.8 yards per attempt. Palmer’s size – 6’5? and 230 lbs. – and football acumen are believed by many to be prototypical for a quarterback. Hue Jackson obviously sees Palmer as the guy who could lead them to a Super Bowl while , and the 1st round pick and 2nd round pick are evidence of it.
5. His last game – with no Ochocinco or Owens – was tremendous, plus it was vs. the Chargers.
Ultimately, the Raiders’ entire season will come down to those games against the Chargers. Win both, you’re in. Lose both, you will have to earn a Wild Card. Split, and you’ve earned yourself a shot at the title. Carson threw touchdowns to Jerome Simpson and Jordan Shipley, 4 total TD throws, and kept the Chargers out of the playoffs.
Finally, it’s worth noting that former Bengals T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Terrell Owens have been working out with Carson Palmer. The Raiders’ “Win One For Al” moves might not be complete.
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