Anybody seen Carlson Palmer? I know he's still the Bengals quarterback, but the guy currently under center doesn't resemble the same person who threw for 32 touchdowns in 2005 and followed that up with 28 more in '06. Palmer slipped last season, throwing for 4,131 yards (a personal record), but also tossed 20 picks.
And now, two games into 2008, he's the worst-rated quarterback in the league. A league, I might add, that also includes Kyle Orton, Tarvaris Jackson and Brett Favre. And things don't look to get better anytime soon, at least according to Palmer. When asked how he's doing, he offered this:
"Not good at all. We're 0-2. Not where we want to be ... "
"It's been a combination of teams saying, 'We're not going to let Chad (Ocho Cinco) beat us, we're not going to let T.J. (Houshmandzadeh) beat us and also my fault ... I need to do a better job getting the ball to the guys when their shots are called. We need to keep running the ball, be aggressive in the run game. Not let a defense take a guy out of the box and put him on Chad and take Chad out of the game."
In theory, it sounds fixable. In practice, it seems a tad more daunting. Especially when you factor in Palmer's comments about the Bengals 2008 second-round pick, wide receiver Jerome Simpson, who was supposed to contribute immediately:
Palmer said he likes rookie wide receiver Jerome Simpson's skills, "but until he proves he can go out and be perfect with assignments, blocking, and line up in the right spot and always run the right route ... once that part of his game comes along, he can be a very effective player for us but it's still going to be a slow process."
Simpson was drafted to replace Ocho Cinco who, you may recall, spent all offseason demanding a trade. That didn't happen, but Cincinnati's offense is still a joke, and looking at their schedule, there's a very real chance they don't win more than six games this season. On the upside, there's a good chance Marvin Lewis goes out on a high note: the Bengals face the Chiefs in Week 17. So there's that.