"Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer is under siege by fans and critics for whatever reason. Quarterbacks are judged by wins and losses. Last I checked, the Bengals beat Baltimore, 15-10, and now they go to Carolina."
Not that I've ever harped on Carson Palmer, fully aware that 2008 was a wash and 2009 was a team transition, shifting their philosophy to a power rushing offense because after Chad Ochocinco, they had several receivers that are either gone (Laveranues Coles) or completely forgotten about (Andre Caldwell) and their offensive line were more maulers than light-footed quarterback protection agents.
Still. I also get why people would be on Palmer's case. Along with averaging 4,000 yards between 2005 and 2007, Palmer averaged nearly 29 touchdowns in that four-year span. Many compared him to Peyton Manning and Tom Brady at one point. So would it be reasonable to say that a fan's expectation of Palmer, the same quarterback that was so awesome during a three-year span before his elbow injury in 2008, are justifiably high?
And if it's not about the betrayal of expectations, then look no further than the six-year $118.75 million contract he signed in 2005. Being one of the highest paid quarterbacks in the NFL also means you're one of the most productive quarterbacks in the league.
Like I've said, blaming Palmer, or criticizing him isn't something we've done often. Not because it's some mythological taboo subject. Nor are we apologists. There are things that's happens beyond his control, such as lack of personnel, always assaulted from the opposing pass rush. Though he does have control of overthrowing the deep pass or leading a receiver too much on a timing route.
Let's also face facts. It's not like Palmer is playing against the league's worst defenses. I mean, he's had to deal freaking New England and freaking Baltimore!
But if fans have complaints and choose to blame Palmer (stretching back to 2009), then one must see where those complaints are coming from. Ultimately, Ludwig is right about one thing. All that matters are wins. Palmer threw for 345 yards passing and two touchdowns, losing to New England. Palmer threw for 167 yards, completing less than 50% of his passes, yet won against Baltimore. Without saying the obvious answer of "both", which of the two would you prefer?