Aren't we making a little too much hubbub of the comments that Carson Palmer made that the existing coaching staff can't lead a turn-around for this team?
Don't get me wrong. There's probably more substance of what he said then we really know. Furthermore, when Palmer speaks his mind, we listen. Why? Because he does it so rarely that when he does do it, we're both shocked and relieved. Especially against the positive appraisal of head coach Marvin Lewis regarding his staff. No, I don't think there's division. No, I don't think Palmer's comments were a bad thing. Yes, the comments could be stripped of their context and repackaged as any generalization and assumption that comes to mind. Again, that's not a bad thing. This team needs a kick in the butt. I just didn't expect it to come from Palmer. Which is, again, a good thing.
Is this the result of a bad season?
Palmer admitted this is his worst season playing sports... in his life. Yet, he still set the franchise's single-season passing numbers -- again. His two receivers are ranked high in major receiving categories. And while it would be uncharacteristic for Palmer to not take responsibility, he was quick to mention, multiple times, that he's just the quarterback.
"If I'm asked my opinion, I'll be more than happy to give it. I haven't been. This isn't my team."
While he's technically correct, this has always been my biggest complaint. What I expected, and what I wanted, of Palmer, when he became the everything to the Bengals, was leadership. This is his team. This team doesn't succeed without him. This team has no chance. Not with its current makeup. Take charge. This is your team. Make the change happen. Perhaps expressing concern over the coaching staff was the first step. Perhaps the frustrated season simply spilled over. Either way. The team in flux and your opportunity to become the leader we expected is here. Take it or leave it. Just don't miss it.
Admittedly, I was relieved to see Palmer speak up to deficiencies with this team that no one else would touch with a 20-yard stick. We can assume all we want about the problems with this team. Palmer, I believe, summed them up well. Coaches and players.
If you're on this team as a player or coach, then you deserve the blame. Not one or the other. Both parties took part. Palmer did it throughout the season -- mostly taking heat off of Chad Johnson. Lewis does it after each loss explaining the basic principles of team-work over individualism.
Or is this a context problem?
When Palmer says he doesn't think the coaches can turn it around, was he referring to the selfishness of the players? Have some players ego shot so far into the heavens that, no matter which coach is on this team, that it won't turn around? If that's the case, then he just verified what Lewis has been saying for the past two seasons that selfishness is rampant on this team. Though this point could be directly related to the coaches inability to control and give the team focus. Where is that line drawn that you look at the players or the coaches?
The Mythical Line
I believe that line is mythical. Doesn't exist. Though we believe it's there. The coaches did well adding fuel to the fan's fire when nearly every decision was justifiably questioned. The players fueled the fire by putting themselves in situations that made some believe that the lockerroom is basically a chaotic mess -- though I still don't believe that. Selfishness, yes. Anarchy at PBS, doubt it; though the thought won't escape us anytime soon.
You guys know me. I've said this before. If a team goes through the frustration of a losing season, then all parties should be accepting of blame. The coaches are the easiest to pick on -- and perhaps the most deserving in some cases. The players didn't perform either. How many incomplete passes on third down was a result of miscommunication between Palmer and Chad? How many blocks did the line miss? How many times did Chad just walk out of bounds preventing a tooth-jarring blow that could have converted a third down? How many times did we note that Rudi Johnson just can't break tackles, or fall forward, like he used to?
However. Of all the reports (i.e., rumors) and pieces that come out of the lockerroom, Palmer's assessment is probably the most credible. After all, he's the quarterback. Now do your part to turn it around.