Hello, I'm a Bengals' fan from Cincy Jungle (the Bengals' site on SBNation). Obviously the trade for Palmer was a big one for both teams so I want to let Raiders' fans know what they can expect from Carson after following him during his career in a Bengals' uniform.
First off...regarding his walking away from the team after last season....
Some Bengals’ fans were pretty upset at him for “walking out on the team”. They looked at him as a quitter. But many Bengals’ fans weren’t that upset at him because they realized that this was a tiff between Palmer and our owner Mike Brown, and not Palmer vs. the fans. Most Bengals’ fans are frustrated with the owner (only 2 winning seasons in 20 years does that to a fan base) so we can see where Palmer was coming from. And quitter or not, Palmer at least had the courtesy to let us know before the draft. But I digress...
Palmer was drafted in April 2002 and a lot of Bengals’ fans were pretty excited about the pick. There were a lot of high expectations for him after recent 1st round QB draft busts like David Klingler and Akili Smith.
Palmer sat for all of his rookie year in 2003 behind Jon Kitna.
In 2004 Palmer started 13 games and compiled some respectable 1st year #’s
61% ... 223 ypg ... 18 td ... 18 int ... 77.3 qb rate
In 2005 Palmer was awesome. He led the team to their first playoff appearance in about 14 years. He had a pair of great young WR’s in Chad Johnson (that was his name back then) and TJ Houshmanzadeh. We were pretty excited that we had a stud franchise QB for years to come. In the first round playoff game he was 1 for 1 on a 66 yard pass to Chris Henry, but got hit on a late hit on that pass which injured his leg and he sat the rest of the game only to watch Jon Kitna struggle and lose the game for them. But there was a lot of excitement for the upcoming years.
68% ... 240 ypg ... 32 td ... 12 int ... 101.1 qb rate
In 2006 Palmer had another good year, but not quite as amazingly awesome as 2005.
The Bengals had the playoffs all but wrapped up at 8-5, but lost their last 3 to fall to 8-8 and missed the plaoyffs. In 2 of those 3 games Palmer played poorly, but most fans were apologetic for him and didn’t blame him for the team’s late fall.
62% ... 252 ypg ... 28 td ... 13 int ... 93.9 qb rate
In 2007 Palmer started out red-hot, with 8 TD’s to 2 INT’s and averaging 300 ypg in 2 games. But as the year progressed, he didn’t look as impressive and ended the year with decent, but not great #’s and a 7-9 record.
65% ... 258 ypg ... 26 td ... 20 int ... 86.7 qb rate
In 2008 Palmer started poorly. He only played 4 games that season, looking terrible in 3 of them, before having his season ended with an elbow injury. The team struggled without him, but had struggled in those 4 games with him.
58% ... 183 ypg ... 3 td ... 4 int ... 69.0 qb rate
In 2009 the Bengals had lost some confidence in Palmer’s ability to be the stud gun-slinger that he was in 2005~2007, and changed their offensive philosophy to run-heavy pass when necessary. Most NFL teams only do this when they have no confidence in their QB or have a great RB. We had Cedric Benson, so it wasn’t because we had a great RB. Anyway, the game plan worked for the team as they made the playoffs. Palmer’s TD to INT ratio improved, but overall, all of his other #’s continued their downward trend. He had a terrible playoff game with 146 yards on 36 attempts.
61% ... 193 ypg ... 21 td ... 13 int ... 83.6 qb rate
In 2010 the Bengals added T.O. and decided to try to return to 2005~2007 and focus the offense on our franchise QB Carson Palmer. It was a disaster for both the team and Carson. His numbers got even worse, and the team only won 4 games.
62 % ... 248 ypg ... 26 td ... 20 int ... 82.4 qb rate
So to summarize:
Carson was absolutely awesome in 2005, but also peaked in 2005 (101.1 qb rating)
He was very good in 2006 (93.9 qb rating)
He got a little worse in 2007 (86.7 qb rating)
He got hurt in 2008
He got even worse in 2009 (83.6 qb rating)
And he was even worse in 2010 (82.4 qb rating)
Most Bengals’ fans were ready for a change to a new QB...
...partially due to Carson’s steady decline over the last 5 years.
...partially because a lot of his 20 int’s were of the “pick-6” variety.
...partially because he is not a vocal team-leader type of player.
So I’m hoping he does well in Oakland – well enough to turn that conditional draft pick into a 1st round pick. But in all honesty, I don’t see him being any more than an average QB (which is still much better than Campbell and Boller). He has a good deep ball, and your WR’s should benefit from him. Although his skills seem a little diminished, and he has continually regressed over the last 5 years with bad passes and bad decisions. Also, he’s never been a team leader who can carry a team or take charge. If you want to push into the playoffs, you’ll need a leader on the team because you certainly didn’t get one in the trade.