As all NFL eyes seem fixated on the ongoing CBA drama, here in the land of Stripes we maintain an equally close stakeout on another circus-like spectacle: Carson Watch 2011.
As the Number Nine Whine moves into its second month, we here at the Gab are getting an opportunity to further analyze Palmer’s motives and scrutinize his actions. We made the point last week that in retrospect his leadership skills are not on par with the best in the business and his mental toughness-once unquestioned-is now up for a healthy debate.
After all, Palmer’s legitimate complaints about the back asswards ways of the Brown family aside, he is still a starting NFL quarterback. There are only 32 of those jobs, they are in high demand, pay a mint, and come with them a huge amount of responsibility and power. To cast such a unique opportunity aside—one that takes a lifetime of effort to attain—without a spoken word and with such apparent nonchalance is disturbing.
We chewed over his long-standing reputation for being “calm” and “level-headed,” and while that attribute has been generally lauded by the “experts” it can be argued that it is not a desirable trait in one of those 32 jobs.
And it’s become obvious that he is not the right man for the job. I for one don’t want the other ten warriors in my huddle to be directed by a man too calm and too “humble” to do things leaders do. Things like coming in early and leaving late, picking young players up when they’re down, inspiring veterans to achieve their physical limits and beyond, and perhaps most importantly, chewing on asses and barking angrily when others fail to meet his championship expectations.
Others are noticing this same apparent weakness. We absolutely loved this article by CBSSports columnist Gregg Doyel in which he says all the same things we’ve been feeling and preaching as of late:
Palmer isn’t retiring from football so much as he’s giving up on the Bengals. There’s a difference, and it’s not subtle. It’s not semantics. Palmer was the Bengals’ quarterback, their leader — he had the power to reign in the malcontents in his huddle, idiots like Ochocinco and T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Owens — but he passed the buck. Palmer pretended he was just one cog in the machine instead of acknowledging that his position and salary made him as powerful as anyone in the building, including coach Marvin Lewis.
Bingo. Palmer is blaming the organization for failures he must take some responsibility for, and he’s doing so without having the courage to say it publicly from his own lips. He’s hiding in Cali, in the 80-degree sunshine on his golf courses, letting others do the talking for him like a coward. He’s hoping that this strategy will allow him to get the escape he so desperately needs without the fight he so rightfully deserves. He wants a K.O. without stepping into the ring.
Nonetheless, that is exactly what the team should do. So I beg you Mr. Brown: Give this child what he wants. Grant him the freedom to go play in a more comfortable sandbox.
Championship teams are built on the backs of men not boys. Lombardis are hoisted by hardy gladiators and are earned by the back-breaking work and sweaty brows of mentally tough warriors. It’s a tough job with tough qualifications.
Acutely sensitive and thin-skinned “quiet types” need not apply.
It should be clear to Brown by now that Palmer is simply not strong enough for this job. He may have the size, the stature, the arm strength, but not the moxie. He lacks the killer instinct and alpha-male confidence a quarterback has to have.
And it seems plausible that part of this whole issue may be the result of Marvin Lewis recognizing this very fact.
In reviewing Joe Reedy’s chat with Bengal fans on Cincinnati.com earlier today, I found this specific exchange intensely interesting:
[Comment from Tom]-For years a friend of mine who is close to Marvin has told me that Marvin thinks Carson is soft and not the type of leader than can win it all. Also that Marvin let Carson know that and there has been a rift between them. At the time she told me that I pushed back on her and did not believe it. In hindsight it looks like it may be true. Based on what you have seen over the years do you believe this to be true?
Joe Reedy: There are a thousand theories and different rumors out there
Reedy’s short, quasi-dismissive answer is a function of the lack of quality information available on what actually has happened to the Palmer-Bengals relationship. He’s right that there are no facts to refute or substantiate the rumor, or confirm Tom’s sources. And as stated, Palmer isn’t talking.
But we find this scenario to be entirely plausible. Try this on and see if it fits:
It seems reasonable that in doing a complete postmortem on the season—what went well and what didn’t and why—Lewis came to grips with the fact that his team is not lead by a leader. Remembering Palmer’s dejected looks and the efforts he made to appease rather than rein in the likes of T.O. and Ocho had to have been obvious. It seems reasonable that Lewis gave Palmer feedback to that effect, and it stands to reason that Palmer would feel betrayed and slighted by that feedback. Then when Brown didn’t let Lewis go as many expected, Palmer’s situation in Cincinnati became untenable.
Thus the question would be whether Palmer would fight for what he had earned, or as Doyel put it, take his ball and go home. We all now know the answer.
So I say it again: let him go, old man. Don’t let your stubborn old school sensibilities get in the way. I know it just doesn’t seem right, but be pragmatic. Get a first round pick for him if possible, and retool (not rebuild) this team behind somebody with some hair on his chest; somebody who’s a little less Jon Cryer and a little more Charlie Sheen. After all, he’s an F-18 with tiger blood on his fangs.
Those qualities are what it takes to win a Super Bowl.
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