8 Reasons Andy Dalton Is a Better Quarterback Than Carson Palmer
The Dalton Palmer compare and contrast sessions have been burning up the wires since the NFL draft concluded in April.
Palmer received the consummate endorsement of success from his college days forward — a Heisman Trophy and a the overall number one pick of the 2003 NFL draft.
Dalton individual accolades were far less accomplished. Though an All-American, two-time conference MVP, and three-time bowl game MVP, Dalton was seen as more as a part of the team with average skills in comparison to his peers.
Yet the one more looks at the tangibles versus intangibles — separating the media from expert opinions — Dalton emerges a better quarterback than Carson Palmer.
Photos: The Associated Press, Getty Images and The Cincinnati Enquirer.
Mobility: Dalton Moves and Groves, Palmer Stumbles and Bumbles
Coming out of college where being elusive was as important simply moving forward, Dalton made himself a threat not only through the air but on the ground compiling 1,611 yards on 413 attempts for 22 rushing touchdowns.
Palmer — by contrast — was a statue rushing 249 times for negative 149 yards and 9 touchdowns. It was this lack of mobility which would spell disaster later on.
Being a double threat with the ability to move out of the pocket is necessary to survive in the hard hitting NFL. Dalton clearly beats out Palmer on the ground.
Durability: Dalton Bounces Back, Palmer Lays Down
Missing only two games as a four-year starter, Dalton excelled beyond any college coaches wildest dreams. In the preseason he showed remarkable durability, taking a massive hit from Detroit's Ndamukong Suh and jumping right back up.
Palmer certainly was strong but as his mobility lacked decisively, so too did his ability to avoid the big hit multiple times, shortening his career and durability.
Passing: Dalton Has the Arm Slinging Cannon over Overrated Palmer
While the media has been quick to judge Dalton as a spread offense runner with marginal arm strength, the experts see an above average arm with great accuracy and anticipation. Over a four year collegiate career, Dalton had a 140.7 quarterback rating, 812 completions for a 61.7% completion percentage, 10,314 yards with 12.7 yards per catch leading to 71 passing touchdowns and only 30 interceptions.
By contrast, Palmer threw more (912 completions over 1,543 attempts for a 59.1% completion percentage, playing for five years — 3 of which were considered mediocre — with 72 passing touchdowns to go along with 49 interceptions. Palmer was up and down on the quarterback rating scale, finishing with a 131.7 rating along with an equivalent average yards per completion at 12.79.
In no season was Dalton less than 118.5 quarterback rating (his freshman year) and in every season Andy decisively threw for more touchdowns than interceptions. Palmer went up and down throughout his career and was never quite accomplished until his senior season — far from consistent.
Ball Control: Dalton Protects the Ball While Palmer Flubs It Away
Dalton has shown a more natural ability to protect the ball on the move, with a natural tuck-and-run style. Despite his rude welcome to the NFL preseason, Dalton has shown the fundamental skills prior in throwing accurately and effectively, causing very few turnovers.
Palmer never quite showed good protection, running like a typical quarterback — as if the pigskin caused an allergic reaction. While 2010 may have seemed to be Palmer's worst passing year with 20 interceptions, 2007 was equally as bad with 20 interceptions as well.
Dalton has showed poise control and though many have said that he seems to force the pass under pressure at times, Palmer showed less ball control throughout his career — on the run and through the air.
Poise and Control: Dalton Has More of Both
Dalton stepped in immediately as a leader and starter. From the outset the coaches, media, and experts have been able to agree on one thing — Andy Dalton is a born leader.
While Palmer was a commander and Marvin Lewis has made excuses for why he did not throw Palmer into the starting role immediately, it is apparent that Dalton's leadership for all four years in college, gives him a step up over Carson in the command-control department.
Winner: Dalton Has Won When It Truly Counted
...not so for Carson Palmer. Yes, an injury knocked him out of his first playoff game against the Steelers. Yet after that season which held so much promise, Palmer has never looked the same. Against the Jets in 2009, Palmer was a non-factor and could muster no production through the air.
Dalton led a TCU team that came out of a weaker conference to a 13-0 record in 2010, culminating in a decisive Rose Bowl victory over a great Wisconsin team. The experts are still debating if TCU should have been the national champion and at least should have had a shot to play in the BCS championship game.
For Dalton, three bowl games and three victories in the post-season. Palmer won only one bowl game in college (losing another) and has only two losses to show in the NFL post-season. Dalton was MVP of all three bowl games (including offensive MVP of the 2011 Rose Bowl - which awards a defensive and offensive MVP only), Palmer was the MVP of the 2003 Orange Bowl — and that was all for Carson's post-season.
Community and Family: Dalton Participates More
While Carson stayed out of the Cincinnati public eye, bolting for the West coast at the end of each season, Dalton has already made himself and his wife very much part of the public eye.
The me-first mentality showed with little community contribution by Carson Palmer in a market where athletes are prized for as much as who they are with what they bring to the table.
Known as a leader off the field, Dalton has been involved in church groups as a prayer group leader. The choir boy with red hair brings charisma, enthusiasm, and a sense of family to a team needing as much.
The fans need a leader to rally around and Dalton is clearly playing for Cincinnati as a city as well as team.
Team: Andy Dalton Is a Team Player, Carson Palmer Is Not
Andy Dalton is the consummate teammate. He eagerly participated in off-season strike practices organized by fellow teammates. Dalton's enthusiasm is infectious.
While Palmer could lead the charge at times, Carson certainly never displayed the true team-first mentality needed to be a Peyton Manning or Drew Brees. Palmer bolted on the team at first sign of public distaste (coincidentally going silent after unknown individuals dumped garbage on his yard at his former Cincinnati home). This was never more apparent to this past off-season when Palmer compramised his teammates, his brother's, and the city of Cincinnati for his own needs. The Bengals made moves that pointed to supporting Carson more in the future. To Palmer, it was too little, too late. Talented yes, teammate no.
Sometimes it is easy to shoulder the blame and lead by stoic confidence. For the Bengals, a leader needs not only to lead by example but lead by keeping the team together.