The clock is striking midnight on the 2010 season within three weeks. For many Bengals fans, it is a welcome end to an endless season. For others, the mysteries of the offseason and the reaction of ownership is met with both curiosity and dread. Being a quarterback for a losing cause is like being a lightning rod in a thunderstorm in that like a lightning rod, the quarterback is going to get zapped over and over again.
Drafted first overall in the 2002 draft, Palmer emerged the fresh, confident, Heisman-winning USC Trojan quarterback who was expected to team up with newly anointed head coach Marvin Lewis in bringing professionalism to the Bengals organization.
After a year under the tutelage of Jon Kitna and Coach Lewis, the confident young Palmer would emerge as the starter in 2004. Though there were ups and downs, Palmer would finish the last three games of the 2004 season with a rating over 100 and optimism was slowly but surely creeping in.
In 2005, Palmer hit his stride, leading the team to an 11-5 season only to plateau with the horrific dismembering of his left knee.
Though Palmer would return in 2006, and would resume his passing success, he had every so slightly backed off the 2005 success.
The 2007 season would show further decline, and by 2008 Palmer would quickly accelerate into the injury abyss with a partial ligament and tendon tear in his throwing arm. Despite recommendations to undergo Tommy John surgery, Palmer would elect for naturally rehabilitating his elbow.
2009 would be a stellar year for the Bengals' defense and running game, covering up Palmer's increasing erratic throwing (the lowest rated year since his first starting in 2004), with only one game rated over 100 and a 58.3 rating in a humiliating playoff loss to the New York Jets.
Fast forward to the present, 2010 season, Palmer has become a mystery and an enigma wrapped in one. Eight games with an under-80 quarterback rating, three games over-100, and the rest in between seemingly masks the lack of quality in the Bengals' game. Five pick-sixes and a lack of zip outside of 30 yards throwing make it woefully apparent that something is wrong with Carson.
Yet, with all of the aforementioned being said, there are reasons for and against why Carson continuing as a Bengals quarterback is or is not needed.