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Obligatory long post of the week

What a great Sunday sports afternoon. The Colts barely beat the Titans. The T.O vs. the city of Philadelphia turned into a game between the Eagles and Cowboys. The Steelers lost their third game in a row and the Ravens look to remain amongst the undefeateds. The Bears are crazy good and the Saints could actually go to the playoffs.

But the most entertaining event wasn't football; it was the left-hand-turning-oval racing (i.e. NASCAR). On the last lap, the first (Dale Jr.), second (Jimmie Johnson) and third place (Brian Vickers) cars were running bumper to bumper. The trick at Talladega and Daytona is drafting. The cars have a restrictor plate on their engines making the horsepower on the engines the same for everyone. However, if you have a line of cars running together, that pack can go much faster than a car by itself. Johnson, on the backstretch of the final lap, pulled to the left of Jr. and Vickers followed behind. However, Vickers misjudged and hooked Johnson's car who hit Dale Earnhardt's car wiping them both out. Vickers went on to win his first NASCAR race. The best part of this is the back-story. I won't bore you with boring left-hand-turning-oval talk anymore; but that was by far the most entertaining event of the day.

Jay McDonnell at BengalsZone contends that Carson Palmer's struggles this season was the departure of Jon Kitna. I'll be honest; I haven't given Kitna a second thought since he left for mo-town. Sure, I see a highlight of him dropping the football or running around in the pocket with his head cut off and think, "hey, I know that guy." But Jay says:

"...I think the sudden increase in sacks and lost fumbles can be attributed to his pocket presence. It appears to be lacking. When the pocket appears to be collapsing, it looks like he is not stepping up into the pocket to avoid the rush. Plus, it appears that he is hanging onto the ball too long and down around his hips, allowing the defense to swat at the ball knocking it loose."

I'm not so sure we can attribute Palmer's struggles to Kitna's departure. While the in your face cross wearing cap was "best friends" with Palmer, I don't think Kitna provided basic technique instruction that a basic quarterback coach is paid to do. In our case, Ken Zampese is a one-time offensive coordinator at Northern Arizona and assistance coach at USC, Miami (OH) and San Diego.  He joined the NFL assistant coaching ranks in 1998 with the Eagles, Packers, Rams and now the Bengals. The guy is definitely qualified.

But I believe it's a stretch to blame Palmer's troubles on Kitna's departure. I don't even believe Palmer is in a "struggling" phase right now.

  • Against Kansas City, his first full game back from having his knee shredded, the weather conditions were bad and the Bengals led early. Palmer only threw 19 times.
  • Against the Browns, Palmer threw for 352 yards and two touchdowns.
  • Since 2004, Palmer hasn't been all that successful against the Steelers. However, this year, he had his best game against them tossing four touchdowns.
Personally, I have only remarked that Palmer's numbers are down this year. But I don't think he's struggling. It's hard to replicate last season's 101.1 passer rating after major reconstructive surgery, a banged up offensive line and multiple wide receivers out from injury or discipline. I hardly think Kitna is a reason for Palmer's "struggle" - if you even want to call it that. Want to talk struggle, let's look at the Bengals rush defense.

Did you know that Chad Johnson is changing his diet from McDonalds? Or Keiwan Ratliff has 22 tattoos? Or Deltha O'Neal lays down 50 towels before the game and lays on them? (wacko!). Read more from Chick Ludwig. (great stuff)

OK, well this post wasn't that long