A nice change of pace is seeing Rudi Johnson listed as probable with the likelihood that he'll get the start. While many will demand Kenny Watson get the bulk of the carries, he too is listed as probable after suffering a concussion against the Steelers last Sunday. This team is at its best when Kenny Watson is available on third downs. He blocks, catches and powers through the line of scrimmage on draws. Of all the crap this season with the Bengals, Watson has been a bright spot. Even winning a FedEx Player of the Week award. With all that said, Bengals head coach, Marvin Lewis, acknowledged that Rudi, Kenny and DeDe Dorsey will split time as a committee.
The complete status report for Sunday's game against the Bills.
Out: T Willie Anderson (knee), LB Ahmad Brooks (groin), LB Caleb Miller (back)
Questionable: DT John Thornton (neck)
Probable: WR Chad Johnson (ankle), RB Rudi Johnson (hamstring), S Herana-Daze Jones (shoulder), DE Justin Smith (hamstring), RB Kenny Watson (head)
Doubtful: QB Trent Edwards (right wrist), LB Leon Joe (back)
Questionable: WR Sam Aiken (hamstring), DE Ryan Denney (foot), S Jim Leonhard (calf), TE Ryan Neufeld (thigh), CB Ashton Youboty (ankle)
We asked several questions this week. If anything, to generate debate.
We asked if we should lower our expectations of Palmer. And I got plenty of emails calling me crazy, cuckoo, loco, nuts, screwy, lunatic, maniac, wacky, disordered, disoriented, bonkers, with one lawyer calling me non compos mentis. My reasoning is that for the past three plus seasons, I gave Palmer the "godly" tag -- he can do no wrong. Man to man, I thought Palmer went uncompared. But that argument is quickly lost because the Bengals do not win games with any level of consistency. Take out 11-5, the Bengals are 26-29. And no, I never blamed Palmer for this -- which many thought I did.
My point was about winning. Palmer does a great job quarterbacking this team. He puts the offense in position to score. My content is that he hasn't become that player to strap his team onto his back winning football games. How many games were lost on last-drive interceptions?
There's also things you have to take note and, perhaps, become concerned about. Palmer is ranked 15th in the AFC converting only 39% of his third down pass attempts. On third and three-seven, Palmer has converted only 10 first downs on 26 pass attempts (38.5%, 15th in AFC). He's converted nine first downs on 26 pass attempts (34.6%, 8th in AFC) on third down and eight or more.
I also understand that T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Chad Johnson combined for eight passes dropped -- four each, tied for second most in AFC. I also understand that there's little consistency with the line's personnel -- even though Palmer has been sacked only 3.8% (10/265) of his drop backs. Of quarterbacks with 200 pass attempts or more, Palmer's sack/pass attempt ratio is 6th best in the NFL.
I also agree Palmer is hampered by questionable play calling, lack of a rushing offense and an absent #3 wide receiver. The excuses are there to why the Bengals aren't winning and Palmer is hardly to blame. Still, the team doesn't win and we're still lacking that one guy to rise up and win games for this team.
Yes, it's a team game. Others aren't performing. But quarterback isn't like any other position. Quarterbacks are gifted, or cursed, with a huge percentage of the team's fate. Brett Favre, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning are three examples (two of whom that sport less than successful rushing offenses) that if you remove them, then their respective teams are average. That significant drop doesn't happen at any other position. Their quarterback's performances are every bit the reason why they're winning, convincingly. Conversely, unsuccessful quarterbacks doom their teams more times than not -- several exceptions apply, obviously.
I also asked, do you have problems with teams running up the score -- in response to the Patriots.