Considering what I thought of the Bengals before the season, I think it was a great year with some room for improvement for sure. The Offensive and Defensive line play was better than I've seen in years. The Defense was altogether a monster this season compared to years past. They suffered significant injuries to key players and didn't let it destroy their season.
What I'd like to see for next season: Zimmer extended, Brat gone, new QB coach for Palmer as well (I think he needs a fresh set of eyes working with him on his mechanics), better receivers and tight ends, the guys they lost to injury this year come back healthy next season. Of course none of that will likely happen, but I'm not going to stress over it now. There's golf to be played and tennis to be served.
Burn down the disco. Hang the blessed DJ. Because the music that he constantly plays, it says nothing to me about my life.
It's hard to fault Zimmer after the defense carried the ball for the entire season but today's gameplan was just odd.
There was no rush all day on Sanchez. Not because the blitzes were picked up but because there were almost no blitzes. You have a rookie quarterback and you're afraid to rush him?
When people say that I don’t know what I’m talking about when it comes to sports or writing, I think: Man, you should see me in the rest of my life.
I was actually more optimistic with the 2005 team because we had a young nucleus in place that contributed. David Pollack, Odell Thurman, and Chris Henry highlighting a rookie draft class. Carson Palmer started clicking with Chad Johnson and TJ Houshmanzadeh. Rudi Johnson became a feature back and Chris Perry leading the league in receptions for a running back.
In 2005 I worried about defense, in 2010 I am now more worried about offense. Carson Palmer does not look the same. We have Cedric Benson who is our franchise back by far. Ochocinco is being covered to where we can't get the ball to him. TJ and Henry (RIP) are gone and the replacements haven't exactly stepped up.
Looking to the offseason, we need weapons. I would be thrilled if no picks in the first three rounds are spent on defense, and I would rarely say that. We need any type of receiver, whether it be a wideout or a TE. Maybe some depth on the offensive line and if somebody slips into round 2, a possible successor to Palmer.
As for Zimmer, I realize this is a pipe dream, but I would actually be happy to see Marvin and Brat both let go and promote Zimmer to head coach. With any other team, Marvin would likely have felt the heat for wasting two challenges, especially with the Ochocinco catch late in the game ruled incomplete.
I saw on Nick Brunker's blog at 1530 that Willie Anderson is already trumpeting Hue Jackson (QB coach for the Ravens) to be the OC next year.
I don't care what Carson says, there is something wrong with his elbow. He was a much more accurate passer before his elbow injury.
Graham's FG misses were devastating. Kickers are a dime a dozen in the NFL. Go get a new one.
Pay attention to the open sky
*sigh* I guess I don't have to worry about following the playoffs when I'm on vacation later this week. That was a tough game to watch and I didn't even watch it for the whole game.
It sucks that the season ended this way but these guys should be proud of themselves for overcoming so much heartache this year, winning the AFC North, and getting to the playoffs. It's probably hard for them to look at it that way right now but they totally turned the team around from last year's disaster and with a lot of young talent on the team, they could easily make another run next year if they get the right pieces. I would love to see the Bengals somehow get Mardy Gilyard in the draft because I think he could be a nice deep threat in their passing game. They've missed that with the loss of Chris Henry. They also need to keep Zimmer no matter what, either get Shayne G. a head doctor or give him his walking papers, and get a new OC to help the offense.
"I tried to play golf, but I found out I wasn't very good." -Joey Votto on his offseason hobby search
An MLB.com reporter asked what one thing Votto couldn’t do. “I can’t skate or play hockey,” Votto said. “Well, I can skate ... but I can’t stop.”
Well this sucks. I was looking forward to a Bengals - Colts playoff game. On top of that I really didn't want the Colts to have to play the Jets.
I'm extremely concerned for Carson Palmer. I hope what's wrong with him is fixable and he is able to come close to regaining at least somewhat near his pre-Kimo mugging ability level. His accuracy was woefully bad today.
The Bengals also need a new offensive coordinator, better WRs, and a legitimate NFL TE. Can one year of seasoning/growth lead to Chase Coffman becoming that guy? How is he progressing? IS he progressing?
I can't believe I'm typing it, but the Bengals must think about their future at quarterback. I really hope Carson can get himself fixed. I want him to be our quarterback.
Why do so many seem to think that there is something wrong physically with Palmer because he had a sub-par year? I"m personally not buying it.
Love notion of No. 9 as elite QB -- but Palmer simply isn't
CINCINNATI -- Carson Palmer is not the quarterback you want him to be.
He's not the same player he was in 2005, the last time the Bengals won the AFC North, when he completed 67.8 percent of his passes for 3,836 yards, 32 touchdowns and just 12 interceptions. He's not the same guy he was in 2006 and 2007 when he threw for more than 4,000 yards a season. He's not the elite signal-caller you remember.
He's not the quarterback you want him to be. He can't be. Not in this run-heavy, run-first, run-Cedric-Benson-nearly-all-the-time offense. Not with this coaching staff and where it wants to take the team. Not at this point in his career. It's just not possible.
You want proof? Ask him that, assuming the Bengals continue to use this type of offensive scheme, if he can still be the All-Pro quarterback who recorded the gaudy statistics and made Pro Bowl rosters.
"No, other teams are throwing the ball a lot more and you can't keep up," Palmer said following the Bengals' 24-14 playoff loss to the Jets on Saturday. "The top three or four guys are in passing offenses that throw the ball a lot. It's statistically impossible. I can definitely do better and compete better and throw the ball better. But there are two or three teams in the league that throw the ball a lot more than they run it, and we run it a lot more than we throw it."
That wasn't the case Saturday, when the Bengals didn't run more often than they passed -- they just ran it a lot more successfully. But for the season, Cincinnati ran 505 times and threw 477; compare that to Peyton Manning's Colts, who threw 601 times and ran 366.
So, put the thought of Palmer as an elite quarterback out of your mind. Assuming the offensive coaches keep this same philosophy, Palmer won't be the top guy in the league. Or even close to a top guy.
That's not what's most disconcerting, though. What's really alarming is how Palmer performs when he actually takes his drops and looks to fling the ball down the field. He's just ... well, he's rather ordinary.
On Saturday, he completed 18 of 36 passes for 146 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He threw behind his receivers, he threw five feet over their heads. On one throw late in the game as Palmer tried to hit Chad Ochocinco on a corner route, the ball was so badly thrown that Ochocinco gave up on the play. And Ochocinco never gives up when he has a chance to make a highlight-reel catch.
It wasn't just Palmer's performance Saturday, though. His regular-season stats look like this: a 60.5 completion percentage, 3,094 yards (the lowest 16-game total he's ever produced), 21 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He had one 300-yard passing game and was 1 of 11 for no yards in the regular-season finale against the Jets.
You know who he was comparable to this year? Washington's Jason Campbell. You know who had better statistics overall? Jacksonville's David Garrard.
This is not to say Palmer isn't a good teammate, because he most certainly is. He's a good leader. A tough guy who dives for first downs, knowing a linebacker is about to pop him. He's polite and unfailingly nice. He's the type of guy who holds the door open for others, even if you're 15 feet away. I like him as a person, we all like him.
And Saturday's dreadful Bengals performance wasn't all his fault. The coaching staff mismanaged the challenges. The defense couldn't stop the big run and couldn't get pressure on a rookie quarterback playing his first playoff game in a hostile environment with a wind chill of 9 degrees. Palmer didn't get much help from his receivers -- Ochocinco couldn't escape the clutches of Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis while Andre Caldwell and Laveranues Coles and Daniel Coats had a tough time hanging on to balls that should have been caught.
But is Palmer an elite quarterback, the kind of quarterback who's taken No. 1 in the draft? Is he worth the $118.75 million extension he received at the end of 2005?
Not if he's playing in this system.
"He took what we tried to do with the running game, the play-action and manage it and get us into good running situations," offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski said. "I'm very pleased with that aspect of it. I don't know that it was a big adjustment for him, but it was something he grasped, and as a leader, he took it. He got us into this situation. We fell short, but through what he did and how he did in concert with other guys, he helped us win the division."
But he couldn't win Saturday's first-round playoff game. Afterward, Palmer was asked if he preferred to switch back to a pass-heavy attack that utilized his throwing talents (if they are, in fact, still there).
"I prefer what wins," he said. "If the coaches go back to the drawing board and say what's going to win for us is throwing the ball more, that's great. If they think what's going to win is running the ball and playing defense, that's great. It's so much more complicated than saying, 'We're just going to throw it.' That's the simple answer. It's so much more in depth than that. There are a number of things we need to figure out as a team and decide what's best for us."
That's the kind of guy Palmer is. Team first, and he really means it. But at some point, this team needs a quarterback who's better than David Garrard and Jason Campbell, especially if ownership is paying him nine figures.
"I've seen better out of Palmer," was the pronouncement of Revis after the game.
But the question is this: Does that Palmer -- the elite quarterback and the quarterback you want him to be; the quarterback to whom Revis was referring -- still exist?
"panic" only comes from having real expectations
Palmer is a pretty average QB by NFL standards. He's 30 and probably past the half-way point of his career. I had notions last off-season about trading him to SF or OAK for draft picks and offering Baltimore a 3rd or 4th rounder for Troy Smith and then also drafting a QB.
I think now I would explore the idea of trading him to Oakland.
If you can't trade him, you better figure something out. Get a better pass blocking O-line and a DeSean Jackson kind of gamebreaking WR in the draft. Oh yes, that DeSean Jackson, the one they passed on wheh they drafted Jerome Simpson two years ago. Ouch!
I hope this isn't an apples to oranges comparison, but Ken Anderson was just about written off right before he won MVP.
Help stamp out, eliminate, and do away with redundancy.