The Cincinnati Bengals looked horrible in their 34-3 loss to the Detroit Lions in Week 1 of the NFL preseason. The offense couldn't get anything together under rookie quarterback Andy Dalton and the defense couldn't stop anyone.
It was a sad effort that doesn't inspire a lot of confidence for the 2011 season.
The Bengals are in this position thanks in large part to quarterback Carson Palmer's "retirement."
Palmer retired because the Bengals wouldn't trade him. Either way, the Bengals weren't going to have Palmer under center in 2011, and that's what is costing them dearly right now.
Dalton shouldn't be forced to be the starter right off the bat. He should have a year to learn the offense and watch a guy like Palmer perform.
The Bengals have Bruce Gradkowski on the roster, but Dalton isn't going to learn anything positive by watching him flounder away at quarterback.
It also hurts rookie wide receiver A.J. Green's effectiveness.
Green would benefit from having a quarterback like Palmer throwing to him during his rookie campaign. Having Dalton overthrow him and underthrow him as he tries to adjust to the speed of the NFL isn't going to help anyone.
If he starts running lazy routes and looking like he doesn't care, it's because he's frustrated with the quarterback play.
Palmer's retirement is also going to hurt the running game.
No defensive secondary is going to worry too much about Dalton. They are going to stack the box at will and it's going to be a long year for Bengals running backs.
Now, to be fair, Palmer isn't responsible for the defensive ineptitude. If your defense can't stop anyone, it's not going to be pretty.
But without Palmer, the defense will have to be on the field a lot more because the offense won't be able to hold onto the ball for very long.
All in all, though, Palmer's childish reaction to adversity is embarrassing for both him and the Bengals.
It's embarrassing for Palmer's professionalism (or lack thereof) and it's embarrassing for the Bengals because of the product they are going to have to put on the field.
I wouldn't expect them to improve on their 4-12 finish from last season.
Fans are not going to be happy with the Bengals in 2011 (not that they were in 2010, either). It's going to be a long rebuilding process in Cincy.
Expect boos aplenty from the fans this year.