CINCINNATI OH - DECEMBER 05: Carson Palmer #9 of the Cincinnati Bengals throws a pass during the NFL game against the New Orleans Saints at Paul Brown Stadium on December 5 2010 in Cincinnati Ohio. The Saints won 34-30. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
We argued at the end of last year, Carson Palmer didn't have the weapons and therefore the passing offense struggled. That was as good as a reason as any, right? Not that we ever expected Mike Brown to fire a coach, considering that Bob Bratkowski had been around for nine seasons and he was only the third-most tenured coach on his staff. Running back coach Jim Anderson has been with the team for over 27 years with offensive line coach Paul Alexander having been hired in 1994. I was a freshman in high school. They don't fire coaches easily.
The team agreed in the offseason, they have to give Carson Palmer weapons. They signed Antonio Bryant to a big contract, allowing him to pass the physical (either because the medical staff missed it, or the front office ignored a result other than pass, we're not sure). Later, when Bryant's knee was discovered to be shot, the team signed Terrell Owens. In the meantime, they drafted Jordan Shipley and Jermaine Gresham.
Palmer had his weapons.
And thus, the Bengals lost ten-straight games during the season and declined by six games compared to 2009. Now, we're not willing to say it was all Palmer's fault. That's just short-sighted with a simplistic explanation. The defense struggled and the rushing offense was of no help whatsoever. Often Palmer had to put the team on his shoulders. Unfortunately, it didn't work out.
What's interesting is that if you breakdown Palmer's season in 2009, and project his numbers with the same number of attempts he threw the football in 2010, his numbers breakdown nearly identical in 2009.
So it makes sense. Even with new weapons, Palmer stayed relatively the same. This time, instead of new weapons, the Bengals give Palmer an entirely new system. Now the question is, does Palmer return?