Carson Palmer is no longer among the NFL elite like he once was. Injury, indifference and the perils of playing for the Cincinnati Bengals have all contributed in Palmer’s declining production.
Before this turns into another Carson bitch sessions let’s also point out that on Palmer’s worst day he’s still better than 50% of the stiffs that call signals in the NFL (just don’t tell that to Ron Jaworski).
With Palmer there are certain allowances that must be made. Just take a look at his performance against Denver last season. In that game you pretty much saw all that Palmer has to offer. From his unreal TD toss to Marcel Reece to his overthrow of a wide open Denarius Moore it was all on display – the good and the bad of Palmer.
Palmer’s good is still good enough to border on great. That’s the good news.
The bad news is his bad is bordering on Rex Grossman awful.
Somewhere in between is where Dennis Allen needs his QB to be this season.
Unlike Jason Campbell, Palmer is completely unafraid of taking risks. That’s a great thing when you’ve got the weapons Palmer has around him. As much as I loved JC his paint-by-numbers approach just didn’t allow Oakland’s offense to be all it could. With Palmer pushing the pedal to the metal you feel like this team is on the verge of becoming a top 5 offense.
Of course with that mentality also comes some Favre-ian moments. Palmer’s placement of his high risk passes isn’t always the best and when your margin for error is none then…well…you just can’t err at all. That goes without saying.
So the real question now is how will Greg Knapp’s play calling get the most out of Palmer while also minimizing his tendency to try and do the impossible?
The reality is no matter Knapp’s play calling if Palmer sees a window to throw into then he’s going to make like a paperboy on a Friday and throw it without thinking twice.
That’s why Allen, Knapp and Raider Nation as a whole will just have to accept the good and bad of Palmer. The hope is simply that the good outweighs the bad. He might not be in the Aaron Rodgers category but he’s not anywhere near the Charlie Frye zone. Somewhere in between is a quarterback capable of leading a highly productive offense. The key is getting him to take calculated risks while also knowing when to just toss it out of bounds, take a sack or (God forbid) check it down.