Bengals Move Onward — And Upward — Without Palmer

Maybe Bengals fans weren’t really booing Carson Palmer on Sunday.  Perhaps the sound that echoed throughout Paul Brown Stadium every time that the Raiders quarterback took the field was, “Thank yoooouuuu.”

Thanks for two AFC North titles.  Thanks for two Pro Bowl seasons.  And most of all, thanks for unintentionally helping the Bengals by leaving.

“Right now we’re a better team without him and that’s just point blank period,” said safety Chris Crocker.

Let’s consider where the Bengals are without Palmer.

Andy Dalton is seven years younger than his predecessor.  He’s scheduled to earn roughly $2.7 million dollars over the next two seasons while Palmer is set to make $28 million.  And following Sunday’s 34-10 win over the Raiders, Dalton’s career QB rating is identical to Palmer’s at 86.1.

“Andy’s played like a 10-year vet from the day that he stepped into this locker room,” said Crocker.

Additionally, Dalton’s regular season won/loss record as a starting quarterback is 15-13 (I give Dalton credit for a win in the Washington game when Mohamed Sanu officially started at QB).  Palmer’s record is 53-64, including 7-13 in Oakland.

The organization that Carson left is in the hunt to go the playoffs for the third time in four years, led by a defensive front four that pummeled him.  According to Brad Ellis, our stat man on the Bengals radio network, Cincinnati hit Palmer 13 times on Sunday.

“He didn’t have a chance,” said Crocker.  “Our guys up front really beat him up.  They hit him, they got around his feet, and it’s not easy to be a quarterback when you have to deal with that kind of duress.”

“Our front four is the best in the league,” said Manny Lawson.  “As a linebacker behind them, I’m rarely touched.”

The organization that Palmer currently plays for appears to be headed for its 8th double-digit loss season in the last 10 years.  Since their last playoff appearance following the 2002 season, the Raiders are 48-107 for a .310 winning percentage.  For sake of comparison, in the 1990s when the Bengals struggles were well-chronicled, their winning percentage was .327.

In exchange for Carson Palmer, the Bengals already have Dre Kirkpatrick and will receive Oakland’s second round pick in next year’s draft.  Through 11 games, the Raiders share the third-worst record in the NFL with Cleveland meaning it’s a decent bet that Cincinnati will end up with a selection near the top of the second round.

Here are a few of the players selected in the top five picks of the second round over the last five years:

Jordy Nelson, Brandon Flowers, Derek Wolfe, Colin Kaepernick, James Laurinatis, Courtney Upshaw, Brian Robiske, and Coby Fleener.

Oh yea, and Andy Dalton.

Palmer and Dalton had never talked to each other until Sunday.  Their first-ever conversation apparently did not last for very long.

“We talked for a little bit – nothing more than anybody else,” said Dalton.  “At least I can say that I’ve met him now.”

And outplayed him.

We all know that those “boos” weren’t really “thank yoooouuuus” on Sunday.  But maybe they’ve should have been.

I’d love to hear from you at Dan.Hoard@Bengals.nfl.net

If you Twitter, you can follow my tweets at http://twitter.com/Dan_Hoard

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