No breaking news of any kind, but a nice article about Carson from NFLPlayers.Com.
Carson Palmer - Ready For The Next Step
After his first full season as an NFL starter, Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer is ready to take the next step and lead the team to the playoffs.
The big question of who would be the first selection in the 2005 NFL Draft was settled last month when the 49ers picked Utah quarterback Alex Smith. Now the question becomes which route San Francisco will take with his development. Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer, the first-overall choice in the 2003 draft, had a year on the sidelines to adjust to life in the NFL and feels it helped him last season when he became the starter.
Palmer didn't see a regular-season snap during his rookie year in Cincinnati. He spent seven games as the backup to veteran Jon Kitna and nine games as the designated third quarterback. "It definitely helped to have the year to watch from the sidelines," he said. "There are some quarterbacks that are thrown into the fire during their first year in the league and they can struggle. It's a learning experience."
After spending 2003 on the sidelines watching Kitna direct the offense with good success, Head Coach Marvin Lewis named Palmer the starter. The move, which essentially benched a veteran who had been quite efficient and productive, was met with some surprise. But Palmer had the support of his teammates on which to build as he adjusted to the role. "We have a great group of guys that are very accepting and made it easy on me," he offered. "They knew I would make some mistakes and struggle a little bit at first calling plays and going through protections and things like that. They took it easy on me. It just takes a couple of weeks and you have to get used to it."
Even with the support of his teammates, Palmer had little time to prepare himself for becoming a starter despite his success as a collegiate quarterback at the University of Southern California (USC). "Things happen so fast in this league – guys are so much faster and holes close up so quickly – that you automatically speed up your timing and thought process," he offered.
Palmer, who won the Heisman Trophy as a senior at USC, started the first 13 games for Cincinnati last season before a knee injury forced him out of the lineup. In his last six starts, the team was 4-2 and his numbers were among the NFL's best at his position during that stretch. He completed 68.7 percent of his passes in those games with 13 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. As a unit, the Bengals offense posted the most points since the 1989 AFC Championship team.
While those numbers were impressive for a quarterback who hadn't seen a snap, Palmer wasn't satisfied with the final results because he was watching the post-season from home rather than participating. "It was not good enough. We ended up 8-8 and out of the playoffs and our goal is to be in the playoffs and be world champions," he stated. "Until we get to that point and until we get there, as an organization, none of us are going to be satisfied until that's done."
There may not have been enough wins for Palmer's taste but the lessons learned last year will hopefully show themselves in 2005. "I came into last season without having ever taken a snap. I wasn't sure what to expect," he said. "But from week-to-week and even play-to-play I learned and grew more and more comfortable and confident. I started to figure things out as the season went along."
Bengals Head Coach Marvin Lewis liked what he saw from his young slinger, especially in terms of arm strength and release. "The field is short when Carson is in there," Lewis stated. "He has the ability to deliver the ball to a lot of places in a very short moment."
Kitna, who went from NFL Comeback Player of the Year in 2003 to clipboard holding backup in 2004, played a major role in Palmer's growth with his positive attitude and guidance. "There aren't many guys that can get the NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award and then get demoted to second string and not have any problem with that," Palmer recalled. "Jon has been a mentor to me and a guy that I really leaned on during the season. He couldn't be a better person."
Also serving as inspiration has been the success of Palmer's alma mater USC in capturing back-to-back NCAA National Championships. "The last two years it's been so much fun to be an alumnus," he offered. "It's great to see a team that is truly on top and running on all cylinders. They have been phenomenal across the board. It's been fun to watch."
Trojans quarterback Matt Leinart, who considered leaving Los Angeles for the NFL, sought out Palmer's advice and eventually decided against entering the NFL Draft. "We talked a few different times before he made his decision and basically he couldn't have gone wrong," Palmer said. "If he would have gone to the NFL he would have been a top pick and by staying he has the chance to win three National Championships and two Heisman Trophies."
Palmer, who signed with the Bengals two days prior to the actual draft, also has some advice for Smith, who will learn his fate as San Francisco's regular season draws near. "Learn as much as possible whether he plays or sits on the sidelines," Palmer offered. "Take every practice, every meeting and every game as a learning experience. It's tough to learn just by watching and not by experiencing but take advantage of the situation because there will be a lot put on his shoulders."