• Is It All About Trust?

    Carson Palmer is a Heisman Trophy winning, 1st pick of the '03 draft talent that has been named MVP of an NFL Pro Bowl. In '09 the Bengals threw for a paltry 180 yards/game. The passing game had its moments including Andre Caldwell's TD catch with :14 to play to beat the Steelers 23-20. Two weeks later, Caldwell caught a 20 yard TD with :22 left to beat the Ravens on the road. Carson was 20/24 for 233 yards, with 5 TDs in a 45-10 blowout of the Bears. In a 27-24 road loss to the Chargers, Palmer was 27/40 for 314 yards and 2 TDs.

    However, inconsistency ruled for the Bengals passing game. Why? Quarterbacks expect receivers to be where they are supposed to be when they are supposed to be there. Receivers thrive when QBs put the ball in the proper spot on time. Trust between QBs and receivers is a must. There was not enough trust in the '09 Bengals passing attack. Big plays are made by "covered" receivers regularly because QBs trust in contested catch situations, if their receivers cannot make the play, the opponent surely cannot.

    The Bengals have added a whole set of tools to Carson Palmer's tool belt. Free agency delivered WR Antonio Bryant from the Bucs. He's still thought to be in his prime. Jermaine Gresham, TE out of Oklahoma, is a huge target that can run. WR Jordan Shipley's 248 catches are the most ever in Texas Football history. Kansas WR Dezmon Briscoe had 219 catches for 3240 yards and 31 TDs. The college draft picks combined for 90 receiving touchdowns. It's never too early to work on building the all important trust between QB and receivers.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Is It All About Trust? started by Dave Lapham View original post

    Comments 7 Comments
    1. Cris Collinsworth's Avatar
      Dave, you have seen all the Bengals games over the last few years, is it possible that Carson lost strength down the stretch due to the injury that ended his 08 season? I know that when you don't get a full off-season of strength and conditioning, it often shows up late in the following year. Was his off-season conditioning compromised at all? I have asked several people around the Bengals this question, and they all thought Carson was fine down the stretch physically. What did you think? Just a lack of weapons? Offense allowing the defense to take the lead, leading to a more conservative offensive style?
    1. scchamil's Avatar
      I'd be interested to know his thoughts too, because I'm not sure I buy the injury or fatigue argument (though the the thumb cast probably hindered play action). I think I've watched nearly every game of the Carson Palmer era with Bengals and its been a strange ride. A lot of locals claim he hasn't been the same since the 05 knee injury, but if you look back to the beginning of 06 (even his first pre-season game back) - he was making great throws. I think the answer is probably a combination of a lot of things - including changes in offensive philosophy and possibly the development of some minor bad habits in his motion, pocket awareness or footwork when he came back from injury (though from everything I hear he is perfect in practice). Its not a new problem though - Since late 06, he has just not been as accurate with his passes as he was when he intially came into the league. Don't know if the stats back that up, but if you look back at 06 and 07 when we were still considered a high powered offense to some degree - it just wasn't reality. We didn't put up the points.

      There were some positives last year. He played essentially a perfect game during that Chicago game Lapham mentioned (oddly a game that followed the "worst wam-up session of the year" according to his brother Jordan). The new emphasis on getting outside the pocket served him well and the late game heroics (and winning record) were obviously great to see. That said, we were a run-first time last year and it was clearly hard for Carson to turn it on when we needed him too (plus the WRs other than Ocho didn't seem to be getting a lot of seperation). I don't think its a coincidence that he was so comfortable with the no-huddle in 05 and that his best moments last year came in the two minute drill. I think tempo matters with him - if he's forced to pull the trigger he's usually a little better. It would be nice for Bratkowski to incorporate some no huddle back into the offense (even if just to change the pace). I think the team has put him in position to bounce back (with the new personel), but his career is definitely at a cross-road to some degree and, even as a local fan, it's a bit of a mystery as to why. Sorry for the rant.
    1. Andy Freeland's Avatar
      Don't apologize for a rant, this site was built to rant.

      I agree with the accuracy. I only noticed it starting in '08 with the elbow injury, I know he had major footwork problems coming back from the '05 knee injury. He wouldn't keep his front foot on the ground when there was any pressure at all in front of him. Maybe he developed bad habits that never got corrected.

      He also pulled the ball down and ran too much at the end of the year. He had a big run early (vs Browns in OT, I think) and was really effective pulling it down in the middle of the season. But by the end of the year he was doing it too much. He had career-highs with 39 carries, 93 yards and 3 TDs, and a lot of those carries were unnecessary.

      It was also obvious that he missed his security blanket Houshmandzadeh. Hopefully Gresham can fill some of that role.
    1. ScottDCP's Avatar

      I notice that your first line has nothing to do with real-game NFL performance. Also, it looks like you named a whole bunch of new receivers. Clearly, that group is taking the hit for performance.

      I think the truth lies somewhere in the middle - I think his throwing mechanics have changed - the ball flight is different now than it was five years ago, and not in a way that is consistently better - less oomph, more ehh. The running Andy mentioned, especially from a guy like that, indicates a lack of faith in SOMEbody. Either the line, the receivers, or both. And I think the biggest problem is the combined losses of Housh and Henry. Henry wasn't full time for a more than a year before his passing, and it hurt. Housh wasn't just a security blanket, he was a security blanket who got first downs.
    1. Wordsworth's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Andy Freeland View Post
      It was also obvious that he missed his security blanket Houshmandzadeh. Hopefully Gresham can fill some of that role.
      or maybe Jordan Shipley? :-P
    1. BayouBoys's Avatar
      He is obviously missing Houshmandzadeh. I think this upcoming season the timing will be there with practice and he'll bounce back for sure. I just don't see them lying down this year.

      But I do agree with Cris, they did become complacent at the end. At least, I thought so.
    1. Bengals1181's Avatar
      I think Carson's biggest issue is trust. Physically I think he's fine.

      Think about it. In the last 3 seasons he's lost an All-Pro RT, a Pro Bowl caliber LT and a rock solid veteran center.

      His trust in his oline has obviously been shaken. I think it will build back up this year with Whit, Cook and Smith as lynchpins on the oline.

      I do think he misses Housh, but I also think he relied on Housh too much. 2009 forced him to spread the ball around more and trust more receivers, which is good for the offense as a whole. Now he just needs to build that trust with Gresham, Coffman, Shipley, Bryant and Caldwell and he'll be the Golden Boy again.