The biggest question on the minds of players, fans, coaches, and rich millionaires, is will Carson Palmer be ready for the first game this season? Coaches speak optimistically and Palmer showed considerable progress during the summer's mini-camps. But as we head into training camp, the Bengals are sporting more quarterbacks than Adam Dunn is strikeouts (ok, that's a bit of an overstatement).
A few weekends ago, Kentucky Speedway held their annual NASCAR Busch series race. Palmer was the honorary starter -- guy that shows the green flag to start the race. When he was introduced, the crowd cheered enthusiastically; he's adorned here by 99% of the Cincinnati base.
Palmer's success in Cincinnati is evident in the team's success. Since becoming the starter in 2004, the Bengals are 19-13. A record Cincinnatians are thrilled to have considering the lack of success in previous seasons. He's shown leadership qualities, earned respect from his teammates and peers, and is noted as one of the most gifted quarterbacks in the league.
In 2005, Palmer led the NFL with 32 touchdowns and a 101.1 passer rating (2nd). His 3,836 passing yards ranked 4th and 67.8% efficency was best among quarterbacks that played the full season.
But all this is meaningless if Palmer can't return by the season's kickoff. What happens then?
AS THE OFF-SEASON wore on, Marvin Lewis reiterated when prompted, the team will look and find a veteran quarterback to replace the departing Jon Kitna. Did we get one?
I have to be honest. I didn't throw a party, nor jump for joy, when the team announced the signing of Anthony Wright. He played for Baltimore for a few years so we've seen him a few times. And I wasn't interested nor impressed.
But the question is, if Palmer isn't ready, can he lead? Will he play the conservative, don't make mistakes game? Or will he attack, attack, attack, like last season's passing philosophy. With Marvin Lewis declaring early (which in itself is mind blowing he'd say ANYTHING before it happens) that the team's offense will be more grounded, it logically concludes that Wright will be asked to "not lose the game". Isn't this the NFL trend today?
I have nothing against Wright. I really don't. He's career backup quarterback and he is being asked to do something only Carson Palmer could do with the Bengals; succeed.
I remember at one point this quarterback backed up the very over-rated Michael Vick. Since 2000, Johnson has only 11 career starts; eight in 2003. He didn't take a snap in 2005 and attempted only two passes in 2004. Talk about rust.
At best, Johnson is competing with Erik Meyer for the third string gig. But I honestly think Johnson will be the quarterback cut to trim the roster to three.
The rookie out of Eastern Washington (Big-Sky Division I-AA) enjoyed a tremendously successful college career. In a three year span, Meyer threw for 81 touchdowns against 17 interceptions. Meyer finished his senior season with 4,003 passing yards and compiled a passer rating of 150 or better in each of his three starting seasons.
If Meyer's potential shows in camps and pre-season, he could be a great backup quarterback for this team to groom.
What do you guys think?