When a solider comes home from war, the scars of battle are apparent. Not only do they show on the surface, but they linger underneath and live in the mind.
No one question’s the solider. It is implied that he or she has gone through hell and thus has earned the right to walk through life shell-shocked. With professional athletes, we’re looking at another story entirely.
Take the Bengals’ QB Carson Palmer as an example.
Pre-injury 2006, Palmer was one of the league’s best quarterbacks, commanding respect and acting as an on-field general alongside other mighty NFL presences such as Manning and Brady.
In 2005, Carson led Cincinnati to a record of 11-5 and a division win – the first playoff appearance since 1990. In the team’s playoff round against the Steelers, Carson was injured – his knee demolished with anterior and medial collateral tears as well as meniscus and cartilage damage. And some say he’s never been the same since.
In the 2008 season, Palmer played only 4 games and was shelved for the entire season to undergo Tommy John surgery on his elbow.
He recovered from that injury and had a great year last year, leading the team to a 10-6 record and a first-round bid against the New York Jets – with the Jets coming out victorious.
This season Palmer started fresh and healthy, and with a new addition to his core of wide receivers, none other than Mr. Hot-Shot himself, Terrell Owens.
But something’s not right with the Bengals this year. Carson is slowly declining. His accuracy, his pocket presence, his arm strength – everything seems to be on a downward slide.
In a year the Bengals should be competing, they’re dead last in the AFC North, holding a record of 2-9 and even sitting 2 games behind the Cleveland Browns.
If it’s not Carson, at least partly, then what exactly is it?
In his 7th NFL season, after 2 big injuries and at 31 years of age, the odds of Carson coming back and having a great year in 2011 are slim. We’re looking at 12:1 for Palmer to even finish as well as this year’s stats (to date) with 19 TDs and 15 INTs.
If you were the gambling type, you might stake some money on a Carson comeback. Realistically, no one would fault you for it. After all, he’s done it before. But this go ‘round, you might want to seek out the best online casino bonus and avoid the sportsbook; Carson’s tools are also aging and slowing down.
TO might have 65 catches, over 900 yards and 8 TDs, but the Team Obliterator is also 36 years old and no long able to beat even “average” cornerbacks, as he’s shown with the self-dug holes he’s lied down in.
Ochocinco might be younger by 4 years, but his stats are only half as good as TO’s. Chad has fallen off the cliff and is showing no will to climb his way back up.
The good news for Carson is that Cincinnati is his team to win or lose with. They’ll stomach this abysmal season and start looking for answers come January. Most likely, Marvin Lewis will bear the brunt, and the team will do what it needs to plug the holes around Palmer and give him one more chance to prove he’s worth their time.
Pay a visit to those top 10 online casinos and sportsbooks out there and you’ll probably see that the betting world has lost faith in Carson and the Bengals altogether. And it’s not without reason. Palmer has stunk the place up this year.
No one knows if Palmer’s skills are on the decline except Palmer. From the outside, they appear to be. But he could prove everyone wrong with a few good performances. The Bengals are unlikely to grace us with such for the remainder of this season, but here’s looking toward the future.
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