Disclaimer: I’m putting on my full fanboy forcefield for this column.
Carson Palmer is getting creamed. Crushed. Skewered. Seared. And deep down, I hope he’s stoking a fire and fine-tuning an approach that will have all of his critics eating their words by the end of the season. I’ve always been quick to defend Carson over the years. He’s been the level-headed, do-right ringmaster for a Cincinnati circus featuring Mike Brown, Chad Ochocinco and T.J. Houshmanzadeh among others. Through all the tight-fisted pockets, dropped passes, wrong routes, and off the field antics, Carson has said and done the right things. He deserves many moments of glory.
But right now, he’s catching bullets. Lots of them. Joe Reedy has a nice roundup of the criticism. Adam Schein says Cincinnati needs to move on (that is insane in my mind). Everyone else is simply suggesting he’s washed up.
I’m still holding out hope. Palmer’s skills have seemed to deteriorate a bit over the last few years, but I still think he’s good enough to win a Super Bowl if everything around him is clicking. That means receivers are running the right routes, catching clutch passes, and the offensive line is giving him enough protection. You can’t say that all those things have been happening consistently this season. So it seems silly to look at Carson Palmer in a vacuum. Yes, he’s not been very good.
But neither has the rest of his team.