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Commentary: Palmer Never Had the Chance to Succeed

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Carson Palmer wants out of Cincinnati and has stated that if his demands aren't met, he'll retire. We all know that by now. Who can blame him? He was never given the opportunity to truly succeed here on a consistent basis anyways.

I don't blame Palmer for the Bengals performance during his tenure in the Queen City. To place all of the blame on Palmer for the Bengals failures would be preposterous. It takes an entire group of players for a team to succeed, not one athlete alone. One can look at all of the teams who constantly return to the playoffs and one thing to note is that those teams have a strong cast on both sides of the ball, unlike the Bengals. 

Palmer was never surrounded with an adequate supporting cast to help him lead the Bengals to the playoffs consistently. During his seven years of starting he led the orange and black to he playoffs twice. Two out of seven isn't bad, but at the same time it's far from being of an elite status. 

Yes, the quarterback is the head of the offense and elite quarterbacks like Tom Brady and Peyton Manning can make mediocre players Pro-Bowlers, but Palmer was never elite. He was a great quarterback who lacked the proper crew to allow him to reach the next step in the direction of being an elite quarterback.

Mike Brown made numerous questionable moves and others that have really benefited the team. With poor draft picks, free agent signings, and trades the Bengals have been unable to construct a formidable team that Palmer could lead to the playoffs.

Some of the moves that have back fired include drafting Chris Perry, signing wide receiver Antonio Bryant only to release him before he could even suit up for the Bengals, signing Laveranues Coles only to let him go after one season, and never finding a viable replacement for T.J. Houshmandzadeh. Perry only had one respectable season and that was as a third down back, and I'm pretty sure the Bengals didn't make him a first round choice to be a third down back.

As for wide receivers Chad Ochocinco has been on the decline for the past three seasons and no longer looks like the receiver he once was. And after that it's slim pickings as to who would be considered the number two. Terrell Owens was brought into the shuffle, but he seemed more like a distraction instead of a mentor and leader, who didn't see that coming. Lacking a proper group of receivers who are going to stay in Cincinnati has factored in the lack of success that Palmer and the Bengals have seen.

Ever since 2005 the Bengals haven't had a viable group of offensive linemen to protect Palmer from enormous defensive opponents. When a quarterback doesn't have the proper protection or wide receiver group then he is only being set up for failure.


It is widely speculated that the Bengals will draft a quarterback in the upcoming draft, but one problem is that the newcomer won't have a veteran quarterback to help break him in and teach him the ropes of being a professional athlete. When Palmer was drafted, he had Jon Kitna there to help along the away until it was time for Kitna to pass the torch to Plamer.

One scenario that would be a Hail Mary for both parties and probably won't occur is convincing and promising Palmer to remain in the jungle for one more season to be a mentor for the rookie and then in the following offseason trade him to a West coast team, since he lives on that side on the country.

But it would seem as if that scenario is unlikely and that Palmer will depart from Cincinnati leaving the Bengals high and dry at quarterback. It might seem like abandonment, but at the same time it can be viewed upon as simply as throwing in the towel on a team that has never been set up for continuing success. In the end I can't really blame Palmer for wanting out and having an opportunity elsewhere.