In his last 21 starts, Carson Palmer is 7-14. Question of the Day: Is Carson Palmer still an elite NFL quarterback or is he a victim of circumstance?

We're not here to pile on Carson Palmer. We still believe that he gives the Bengals offense the best chance to succeed. As Jake points out in his morning briefing, Bengals.com beat writer Geoff Hobson wrote "Not only is Palmer is 7-17 in his last 24 starts, but when is it going to get any better?" Lance McAlister implied the same thing, jotting down Palmer's last ten starts. Paul Daugherty writes, "Feel free to wonder if C. Palmer will ever be the guy he was in '05 and '06."

Let me make this disclaimer right now: Palmer is far from the problem on this offense; everything added up equates to a single problem; the inability to score points (Bengals have scored 30 or more points, four times since 2007). His performance against the Denver Broncos, while solid in the mind's of game managers, could be attributed to less-than-stellar blocking, penalties and dropped passes and he wasn't without his own criticisms. For instance, Palmer completed only five of 12 passes on third down for 67 yards passing and an interception (25.3 passer rating). On the other hand, four of those incomplete passes were attributed to drops by Laveranues Coles. So the disclaimer applies. While we could focus on one thing, you have to acknowledge everything else.

So we're fully aware. Palmer is 1/11th part of the issue here.

However, I did want to take a look at Palmer's recent performances, based on the question if Palmer is the same quarterback since his 2005 and 2006 glory years; as prompted by the above links. Or is that too simplified, without pointing out that the offensive line in 2005 and 2006 was far superior than the offensive line we've had since -- aka, having Eric Steinbach, Rich Braham (in 2005) and Levi Jones and Willie Anderson playing at the top of their game. I won't argue against that -- and I believe that any doesn't acknowledge the above while implying their criticisms is doing a disservice to Palmer. Would you hate me if we discarded all of that and simply looked at Palmer's performances?

Since 2007.

Date Opp Result Att Comp Yard TD INT Rating
9.13.09 Denver L, 7-12 33 21 247 0 2 61.0
10.5.08 Dallas L, 22-31 39 23 217 2 1 80.8
9.21.08 NY Giants L, 23-26 39 27 286 1 0 98.9
9.14.08 Tennessee L, 7-24 27 16 134 0 2 41.3
9.7.08 Baltimore L, 10-17 9 24 94 0 1 32.3
12.30.07 Miami W, 38-25 32 23 316 3 1 121.4
12.23.07 Cleveland W, 19-14 21 11 115 1 2 44.8
12.15.07 San Francisco L, 13-20 31 19 252 1 0 97.8
12.9.07 St. Louis W, 19-10 29 21 189 0 2 60.8
12.2.07 Pittsburgh L, 10-24 44 17 183 0 0 51.6
11.25.07 Tennessee W, 35-6 38 32 283 3 1 113.0
11.18.07 Arizona L, 27-35 52 37 329 2 4 68.5
11.11.07 Baltimore W, 21-7 34 23 271 0 0 91.7
11.4.07 Buffalo L, 21-33 39 26 271 2 1 93.0
10.28.07 Pittsburgh L, 13-24 31 23 205 1 0 102.2
10.21.07 NY Jets W, 38-31 21 14 226 1 1 98.5
10.14.07 Kansas City L, 20-27 43 26 320 2 2 79.6
10.1.07 New England L, 13-34 35 21 234 1 2 65.7
9.23.07 Seattle L, 21-24 43 27 342 1 2 75.9
9.16.07 Cleveland L, 45-51 50 33 401 6 2 113.4
9.10.07 Baltimore W, 27-20 32 20 194 2 0 100.3
      722 484 5,109 29 26 85.8
      34.4 23.0 243.3 1.4 1.2 85.8

The one thing that jumps out at you immediately is that the Bengals are 7-14 in the last 21 games that Palmer has started; including only one stretch of back-to-back wins -- one of those games was against the 1-14 Miami Dolphins. You have to go all the way back to week 13 and 14 in 2006 to find the next back-to-back wins by the Bengals when Palmer starts. Of Palmer's 21 most recent starts, he's recorded five games with a passer rating of 100 points or more -- his most recent triple-digit passer rating came on December 30, 2007. He's failed to record a touchdown pass in five of his past ten starts -- thrown a pick in seven of his past ten.

Again. I'm not piling on. I believe that Palmer's recent performances are within a larger view of the problems the Cincinnati offense is having; not just Palmer, but everyone. For example, let's examine the team's rushing performance in games that Palmer starts.

Date Opp Result Att Yards Avg/Att TDs
9.13.09 Denver L, 7-12 27 86 3.2 1
10.5.08 Dallas L, 22-31 23 61 2.7 0
9.21.08 NY Giants L, 23-26 27 102 3.8 1
9.14.08 Tennessee L, 7-24 27 88 3.1 1
9.7.08 Baltimore L, 10-17 24 70 2.9 0
12.30.07 Miami W, 38-25 24 77 3.2 1
12.23.07 Cleveland W, 19-14 33 155 4.7 1
12.15.07 San Francisco L, 13-20 19 61 3.2 0
12.9.07 St. Louis W, 19-10 36 192 5.3 1
12.2.07 Pittsburgh L, 10-24 23 74 3.2 1
11.25.07 Tennessee W, 35-6 36 148 4.1 2
11.18.07 Arizona L, 27-35 20 72 3.6 0
11.11.07 Baltimore W, 21-7 34 70 2.1 0
11.4.07 Buffalo L, 21-33 17 28 1.6 0
10.28.07 Pittsburgh L, 13-24 21 91 4.3 0
10.21.07 NY Jets W, 38-31 41 177 4.3 3
10.14.07 Kansas City L, 20-27 18 78 4.3 0
10.1.07 New England L, 13-34 15 57 3.8 0
9.23.07 Seattle L, 21-24 30 84 2.8 1
9.16.07 Cleveland L, 45-51 26 137 5.3 0
9.10.07 Baltimore W, 27-20 23 55 2.4 0
      544 1,963 3.61 13
      25.9 93.5 3.61 0.62

In Palmer's last 21 starts, the Bengals rushing offense eclipsed the 100-yard mark six times. They haven't achieved a rushing average of more than four yards-per-rush since beating Cleveland on December 23, 2007.

So the question of the day is: What do you think about Carson Palmer? Has he lost it since his glory days in 2005? Or is he the victim of a cast of characters that degraded around him? If I'm answering the question (which I am), I believe that Palmer is a victim of bad circumstance; injury; lack of supporting personnel, etc.. I believe that if Palmer of today played with the team in 2005, he'd be just as good if not better.

I want to know your impressions.

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