Does Palmer see the Bengals better without Chad?

Is there any doubt that Carson Palmer is starting to finally accept his role as leader? Through all of Chad Johnson's complaints and disdain for the Bengals, demanding trades (or threatening retirement... right), Palmer is reiterating that the team is, well, a team. "There is no selfishness whatsoever and we haven't had that in along time and it's great to be a part of this. I like where we're at. Hopefully he comes in and fits in with what we've created here." Hint, hint.

Throughout most of the off-season, Palmer has been thrilled with the progress of Marcus Maxwell. After two seasons with San Francisco, mostly a practice squad player, the Bengals signed the Oregon receiver after the 49ers waived him August 28. The Bengals signed him to their practice squad on October 4 and then signed October 26 to the 53-man roster. He caught his first NFL pass against the Buffalo Bills; a five-yard reception on third-and-one with :19 seconds left in the game (Palmer's next pass, intended for Maxwell) was picked off by Kiwaukee Thomas.

With Maxwell, two modest rookies (Andre Caldwell, Jerome Simpson) and the reliable zig-zag route-god T.J. Houshmandzadeh, one has to ask themselves if Palmer actually sees this team better without Chad Johnson than with him.

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