Posted by hobsonschoice1 on March 10, 2011 – 2:05 pm


The Carson Palmer Question is a lot like the negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement.


And no one seems to be going on the record, but anonymous sources keep driving the story.

Now that a lockout is looming in less than 30 hours, there are stories every 30 minutes because the deadline is getting crunched again. Deadlines in the NFL are crash dummies.

The CP Question isn’t as urgent with the CBA crisis freezing offseason workouts and trade talk. Once the Bengals get a report date for workouts, it will bubble again. The opening of the trading period, the start of May camp, the start of June camp, the start of training camp – if they exist this season – would also ignite an onslaught of No. 9 headlines.

But right now the CP Question seems to be about 2.5 stories per week. The story hasn’t moved much, except everybody and anybody without a name is saying Palmer is going to retire if the Bengals don’t trade him. Even though two weeks ago at the NFL scouting combine the Bengals said they believe him and are planning like he’s not going to be here this season, the stories keep coming as if the team needs convincing.

But the Bengals have offered all sorts of evidence they are headed that way. Reports have had the Bengals at the campus workouts of Cam Newton and Ryan Mallett and reported the Bengals are one of eight teams that are going to work out Newton privately.

And since the Bengals haven’t backed off the Jan. 24 Mobile Doctrine about not trading Palmer, it is what it is. That would mean if teams are calling now to say they’re interested, the Bengals would say, “No, thanks. If Palmer plays in 2011, it will be for us.”


But the Palmer Question not only mirrors the inertia of the CBA talks, it hinges on the talks. Even if they wanted, the Bengals can’t trade him. Not only that, they can’t bring in another quarterback to get him ready until the CBA is resolved.

The union wants to open all the books. The owners want to open some of the books. Palmer wants to close the book. And while the Bengals would like to keep Palmer at Paul Brown Publishing, that book doesn’t appear to have an ending yet.


In book stores today until…

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Will Bengals listen to Palmer offers?

Posted by hobsonschoice1 on March 1, 2011 – 12:12 am

The estimable Peter King of Sports Illustrated posted two Bengals notes of note Monday.

He said he talked to one Bengals official over the weekend and was surprised to hear that whenever trades are allowed after the signing of a new collective bargaining agreement, the team will listen to trade offers for Carson Palmer.

Maybe. All I know is that when the Bengals left for the NFL scouting combine last week, the word was that Palmer was going nowhere. So, maybe they’ll listen to offers. Maybe they’ll take the calls. But the clear sense was that they were adamant Palmer would not be traded. No question they are looking for his replacememt in the draft and maybe they can be  moved by the right price. But, at the moment, they aren’t looking to trade him.

King has the Bengals taking Auburn quarterback Cam Newton at No. 4, reasoning that Bengals president Mike Brown loves to draft quarterbacks and take gambles. Yeah, but that was before Akili Smith at No. 3 in 1999. After his performance at the combine on and off the field, Newton has to change some  minds not only in the Bengals’ room, but elsewhere. Anything can happen in two months, kids.

But with head coach Marvin Lewis wary of one-year wonders and new offensive coordinator Jay Gruden talking about accuracy and leadership, that doesn’t translate into the Bengals taking Newton right now. After his March 8 pro day, another campus visit or two, and Newton’s April visit to Paul Brown Stadium, maybe he can change some minds.

But it sure sounds like what the Bengals are looking for in Gruden’s system if Palmer retires is competence over flash. They want a guy that has a good enough arm to stretch the field, but above all is accurate and smart and is going to be protected by the running game. They don’t need a Heisman Trophy winner, but a quarterback. No. 4 looks too high for it right now.

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Harbaugh on West Coast invasion of AFC North

Posted by hobsonschoice1 on February 24, 2011 – 12:11 pm

INDIANAPOLIS – At least one AFC North head coach thinks Carson Palmer is going to be the Bengals quarterback in 2011. Although you couldn’t blame John Harbaugh if he hopes he’s not since Palmer is 9-4 against his Ravens.

The question came up here Thursday morning at the NFL scouting combine when Harbaugh was asked about the introduction of the West Coast offense in Cincinnati and Cleveland.

“Everybody around the league is doing it. It’s not something we haven’t seen before,” Harbaugh said. “But it’s a great offense. It’s a ball control offense. It expands on the running game. It has a controlled passing attack with what they call extended handoffs. That’s something we want to build into our offense. It will be a big challenge for us. (The Browns’) Colt McCoy is a good young quarterback and Carson Palmer, I think, is one of the best in the league. The Bengals have a team that’s very talented.”

If Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis and new offensive coordinator Jay Gruden are talking about getting the ball quickly out of the quarterback’s hand, so is Harbaugh. He says he wants to help out Joe Flacco by installing a better “quick game.”

But he also strenuously defended Flacco the day a great stat came out from via It reflects how long quarterbacks hold on to the ball before taking a sack. As the story points out, more than three seconds usually indicates the sacks are on the quarterback and Flacco led the NFL this past season with 25 of his 40 sacks coming after he held on to the ball for at least three seconds.

(Yes, the Steelers Ben Roethlisberger was second with 20.)

“He’s a creative playmaker,” Harbaugh said. “(Flacco) is a big, strong guy who shrugs off a lot of guys and he’s only going to get stronger. He’s way more athletic than you think. He made more of those plays down the stretch and we’re encouraging him to make those plays.”

Here may be a reason Lewis and Harbaugh want it out quickly: According to Fanhouse, Palmer had just four of his 26 sacks when he held it longer than three seconds.  Only two starters who played all 16 games – both Mannings – had less.  The other 22 sacks came when he held it for three seconds or less.

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Numbing numbers for Nine

Posted by hobsonschoice1 on December 13, 2010 – 12:50 pm

Take the 12 worst games of quarterback Carson Palmer‘s career via passer rating and there aren’t many surprises.


Sept. 7, 2008     at Baltimore                          35.3   L, 17-10

Nov. 25, 2010      at Jets                                    41.0    L, 26-10

Sept. 14, 2008    TENNESSSEE                        41.3    L, 24-7

Sept. 26, 2004      BALTIMORE                       43.4    L, 23-9

Dec. 23, 2007        CLEVELAND                      44.8   W, 19-14

Dec. 12, 2010        at Pittsburgh                      48.7    L, 23-7

Dec. 2, 2007           at Pittsburgh                     51.6    L, 24-10

Oct. 3, 2004            at Pittsburgh                     52.1    L, 28-17

Nov. 5, 2006           at Baltimore                     52.4    L, 26-20

Sept. 19, 2004        MIAMI                               53.3    W, 16-13

Dec. 11, 2005      CLEVELAND                        53.5    W, 23-20

Oct. 23, 2005      PITTSBURGH                       53.8    L, 27-13

If Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau tortures Chad Ochocinco (he’s never had a 100-yard game against him), he also puts Palmer on the rack. Four of his bottom 12 are against Pittsburgh with Sunday’s Troy Polamalu highlight film (48.7) the worst and sixth overall on the list.  Three are against Rex Ryan (two with Baltimore, one last month with the Jets). Half are on the road. Half at home. Nine are in the division housing two of the game’s best defenses. The Bengals lost all but three of them.

Maybe the most disturbing thing is that two of the games from this season, his seventh year as a starter, are on the list and both are worse than only one of his three rookie entrants.

See any common denominators? I was trying to tie into the loss of Palmer’s two Pro Bowl tackles from back in the day, the lack of a running game, weather, but the bad ones come from all over the spectrum.  Two games from the T.O. era and none from the Laveranues Coles era. I’d be interested to see what people say about the list.

But one thing is clear: You just can’t do what he did Sunday. Just give them two touchdowns. Not against that defense, that team, in that building.  There is no question Palmer is not playing as consistently as the quarterback he was. We all know that. That’s the issue. Tell me why he is so inconsistent. Has the scheme failed him? Has the revolving door of receivers eaten away at his confidence? Has the lack of a truly consistent 4.0 yard per rush running game overexposed him?

(I would say the rest of the league has caught up with the Bengals offensive line with three practice squad starters, but then I watched the Steelers on Sunday win their 10th game of the season with a bunch of guys and a good rookie up front and aren’t the Bengals as talented as that? Although they’ve got to figure out right tackle if they can’t count on Andre Smith.)

With the way the Bengals ran the ball last year, the play-action pass should be Palmer’s best weapon. Instead, despite the fake, LaMarr Woodley is running into pass coverage. He still has to see Woodley, but there is just no respect for the run. And how that can happen after last season is crazy.

Clearly Palmer’s confidence is shot and there’s no question his body is battered from this season. Woodley and Lawrence Timmons nearly broke him in half early on a 15-yard throw to The Ocho, but injury had nothing to do with Sunday’s three picks. And they’ve protected him pretty well in general the last two weeks. He played so well last Sunday against the Super Bowl champs and then this. The inconsistency makes you think it’s not all him.

(And the offense is healthy. It looks like safety Chinedum Ndukwe is going to become the 15th player to go on IR, and only one (Smith) is an offensive starter.)

I’m sure you guys read Peter King Monday morning urging Mike Brown to trade Palmer to the Niners for a second-round pick, so that tells you some things are churning somewhere and it’s not from the Bengals. Peter talks a lot about Palmer’s “misfiring,” which means he has a lot more confidence in the routes of the Bengals receivers than most observers.

The way Brown feels about Palmer and quarterbacks, I don’t see a trade. He might collect them, but he won’t give them away and he’s got no veteran QB in sight to bring along with a highly drafted rookie. Certainly with this offseason of discontent looming in Bengaldom, there is no time to rebuild.  They have to win quickly.

Some other thoughts:

» Tell me again why the Bengals didn’t draft DeSean Jackson?

» Speaking of the Eagles, when was the last time an Andy Reid team ran out the clock on the ground like they did Sunday night against the Cowboys?

» When old friend Jon Kitna flipped that big screen pass to Cowboys running back Felix Jones, all I could think about was Bernard Scott.

» The Ocho really goes through the emotions on Twitter. On the trip home Sunday, he offered some profane-laced frustration. Then on Monday morning he had some breaking news on OCNN: “Chad Ocho whatever the (bleep) his name is is the reason for the Bengals down season again, he sends his deepest apology.”

» Here’s a better reason. Time of possession. This year it is 30:31. Last year it was 31:59. That means their defense has been on the field an extra 20 minutes. It is an offensive league. They protect the offensive players and they design the rules for the offense. No matter how good your defense is, you have to limit their exposure. Those 20 minutes are showing up.

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