Carson Palmer:A Middle Tier Sheep in Franchise Wolf Clothing

Derek TalibContributor IIINovember 4, 2010

CINCINNATI - OCTOBER 31:  Carson Palmer #9 of  the Cincinnati Bengals gives instructions to his team during the NFL game against the Miami Dolphins at Paul Brown Stadium on October 31, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Cincinnati Bengals have everything in place to be an upper echelon team in the NFL, but like the Cowboys, Chargers, and Vikings, they have not lived up to their potential.  The Cincinnati Bengals believe they have a franchise quarterback in Carson Palmer, and have built a team around him, but instead they have a middle of the pack quarterback that is bathed in mediocrity.

Carson Palmer, like many of the recent USC quarterbacks rolled into the NFL, on the white horse that carries its Spartan into the coliseum before every home game. Scouts said he has the size, arm strength and intangibles to be a franchise quarterback. He has the bravado to make anyone believe that he is one of the best quarterbacks in the league, but his numbers say he is a middle of the road talent.

So far in 2010, Carson Palmer's quarterback rating is 83.00, which places him 20th among active quarterbacks. An 83.00 passer rating is nothing to be ashamed of, but on a team with Cedric Benson, Chad Ochocinco, Terrell Owens, Jordan Shipley, and Jermaine Gresham, the Bengals should be lighting up the score board like the EAS Madden game on Rookie level.

There is entirely too much talent on that team for them to be wallowing in mediocrity. The Bengals are like watching a concert where multiple stars get on the stage and perform one song at the same time. Individually, they may perform the song great but together, the music has no clear direction or flow. Carson Palmer is the band leader, but his direction is clearly not creating beautiful music in Cincinnati.

Palmer is not the only reason that the Bengals are under achieving. Poor defense, and lack of consistent route running by those great receivers is also an issue. There are times when Palmer throws the ball where the receiver is supposed to be only to find them not synced up with him.  

The Bengals are in the playoffs right now but do not realize it. They are 2-5 and can only afford to lose one game and hope to make the playoffs. If it already has not taken place, it is time for a closed door player’s only meeting. The master of ceremonies should be Carson Palmer and he should be letting the entire team know the urgency of their situation. For Terrell Owens, Carson Palmer, Chad Ochocinco, and some veteran defenders, this may be their last bite at the apple before the team is dismantled.

Cincinnati is dangerously close to being a team that should start heading in another direction, and that means coaches and players alike. If this group does not make the playoffs this year, look for the team to cut loose some dead weight and see if they can recoup some value for them.

Carson Palmer is not going anywhere anytime soon, but the Bengals might entertain bringing in real competition for his position. They might even consider signing a quarterback not related to their starter. If the Bengals continue their slide into obscurity, there might be an opportunity for the Bengals to draft high enough to bring in a legit contender at the (quarterback) position.

The league is full of starters turned solid backups and Carson Palmer could easily turn into Charlie Batch, Kerry Collins, Byron Leftwich, or Jake Delhomme. Somewhere in college, there is a quarterback willing to lead the Cincinnati Bengals if Carson Palmer does not want to step up his game. The sand in Carson Palmer's hourglass is slowly slipping through.