Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Mad At Carson? Maybe...

It's almost impossible to get mad at Carson Palmer.  He's a respectful guy and never gets agitated when dealing with the media.  But as a Cincinnati kind of guy, the more I think about his trade demand, the more I could find myself getting mad at number 9.  While the initial reaction is to blame the Bengals entirely and ask "who wouldn't want out of that organization?", now that the dust is settling I'm a little miffed it's come to this.  The internal argument goes something like this:
The Bengals have paid Carson a lot of money for a lot of years, instead of being part of a continuing problem, Carson should try to be part of the solution.  On the other hand, maybe he has tried hard to be part of the solution, talked with Mike Brown in the past about things that need to change, and it hasn't happened.  Obviously the guy is out of patience.

Carson is a quarterback and with that position comes the responsibility of leadership, and leaders don't walk out on their team.  On the other hand, it's hard to lead when management and coaches allow other issues and personalities to overshadow the team concept.

Carson's game has slipped in recent years so who the heck is he to start demanding a trade when his play clearly cost the Bengals, the final game of the season against the Ravens was a prime example.  On the other hand, Carson has been battered and taken a lot of lumps for this team so maybe the only way to recapture the glory is a fresh start somewhere else.

This is the worst possible time for Carson to pull this stunt because there is no "qb in waiting" on the Bengals roster.  On the other hand, that is not Carson's problem and maybe this is his way to get his younger brother a starting gig in the NFL.  I'm at least half-kidding about this paragraph.

But these are the things that have crept in my mind since the initial "Mike Brown has done it again and this franchise is such a mess it will never get it right" reaction.  I know Carson probably believes it isn't his place, but I would love to see him release a list of things he thinks the team should change to become competitive with the rest of the NFL.  From the number of trainers and equipment guys to practice facilities to the way players can communicate issues to the front office.  Players in the league talk among each other all the time, so the players on the Bengals are aware how things work in Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, and New England.  Tedy Bruschi said on ESPN that when he was a player there was no way he would ever consider coming to Cincinnati because the organization is not committed to winning.  He mentioned the lack of an indoor practice facility.  It was disheartening to hear yet a confirmation of what we already knew.  I remember back in the dark ages of the 90's a player told me the same thing.  The Bengals tried to close the gap when they moved into the new stadium, but they didn't go far enough. 

So with all of that as a backdrop, it's almost impossible to get mad at Palmer for his trade demand.  But the Bengals?  Now that's easy.

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