Should we lower our expectations of Carson Palmer?

I have simple classifications for quarterbacks. You have bad quarterbacks that spend most of their time shouting "knock it off". You have the average quarterback that's specifically told, "do not lose the game". You have the good quarterbacks that put up pretty numbers -- and a lot of game ending picks. You have the great quarterbacks that win games and perhaps, a Super Bowl. Then you have the legendary quarterback that does what very few people have ever done in recorded NFL history.

It's a simple classification system that doesn't include the headache of understanding metrics or the overwhelming homerism that puts a player far beyond the landscape that he deserves.

I wanted to examine Palmer's numbers compared to his contemporaries in the AFC North -- minus the Baltimore Ravens because of McNair's injuries.

  Rating Yards Pct. TDs INT
B. Roethlisberger 102.2 1,533 64.6% (124-192) 15 6
D. Anderson 95.5 1,744 54.9% (119-209) 17 8
C. Palmer 90.7 1,922 64.3% (164-255) 14 9

Take away Palmer's Cleveland performance and his touchdown/interception ratio drops to eight touchdowns and seven interceptions. Just for comparisons sake, recently demoted Chad Pennington had nine touchdowns and seven picks. Just under half of his season-total touchdowns were scored in one game. A losing effort no less.

I'm not here to blame Palmer. Way off if that's your impression. I was one of the bandwagon members that quickly gave Palmer his "great" tag. His fourth season on the field, I've since degraded his tag to "good". Why? Well, he puts up pretty numbers. But he's not the quarterback that hog-ties his team around his back and leads them towards victory -- no matter the variables involved here.

If you're quick to find excuses, then that should automatically remove any chance towards the "great" tag. Right? Maybe not. For the sake of argument, without anything else other than the quarterback involved, has Carson Palmer lowered your expectation of him? Is the data still incomplete? Or do you think he's the reincarnation of Joe Montana?

Where does Carson Palmer fit? Is he good, great, legendary, bad or average? I'm very aware arguments like this avoid basic variables -- supporting staff, offensive system, injuries and suspensions. Since this season is going to drag out a little, I wanted to get a basic feeling of people's impressions of him at this point. A report card of sorts. Thoughts?

And don't worry. Just so you know, I'm not picking on Palmer here. If the season drags out like this, then we'll be examining the entire roster.

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