Carson Palmer has already had to deal with one diva-like wide receiver throughout his career with Chad Ochocinco. Now he is going to have to deal with a second one. Terrell Owens has been given the stigma of being a quarterback’s nightmare. Just ask Jeff Garcia, Donovan McNabb, and Tony Romo. Now, Carson Palmer is going to get his chance to see if he can keep TO in check. If there is any team that made sense for T.O, it was the Bengals. Number one, Marvin Lewis is a strong, tough head coach. Number two, Carson Palmer is the clear leader of the Bengals and can keep a guy like 81 in line. Number three, T.O. wanted to go to a contender and the Bengals have legitimate Super Bowl aspirations coming off a playoff appearance last season. And number four, the Bengals need a guy like T.O.
Last season, Cincy captured the AFC North title by running the football and playing good defense. That’s a strong formula in the NFL and it was good enough to get them a division title. However, this is a passing league and I think the Bengals have one of the best pure arms in the NFL with Carson Palmer under center. If Cincinnati is going to take the next step, they are going to need their passing game to be on par with their running game and defense this year and if that’s going to happen Carson Palmer needs to be special. Having a guy like Terrell Owens opposite Chad Ochocinco should give Palmer the weapons he needs to lift the Bengals passing to an elite level once again.
Carson Palmer joined Colin Cowherd on ESPN Radio to talk about whether or not he lobbied for T.O. in Cincy, how much of a problem he thinks T.O. will be to handle, and how tough it is going to be to spread the ball around with so many weapons.
On whether or not he lobbied for Owens in Cincinnati:
“Oh yeah. I’ve been a fan of his since he was back in San Francisco. I actually had a chance to workout with him back in California getting ready for training camp. He looks as good as he’s looked in the past. Can still run and catch and do all the things that have made him who he is today. We’re thankful and lucky to have him on our team.”
On whether or not he thinks the past issues with T.O. are behind him:
“We’ll find out really fast, but I’m not sure what his situation was or what went down on previous teams, but the chances I’ve had to workout with him over the past couple of weeks, he was extremely easy to work out with, very coachable, was sharing knowledge that he had on certain routes, and certain concepts of plays. Everybody learns and grows from their mistakes.”
On what kind of numbers T.O. can put up in Cincy:
“I have no idea at this point. We won our division last year and swept our division last year running the football. We set out a goal every year, especially in the AFC North to run the ball for 120 plus yards per game. The proof is in the pudding. It worked for us last year and we’re gonna try and do it this year. It’s not like all of the sudden we signed him and we’re gonna become this the pass-happy team that throws the ball up and down the field like we used to. We’re still a running team. That’s who we are up front with the offensive line and that’s who we are because of our defense. We have a very good defense and the more we can control the ball and run the ball on the ground, the more time our defense has to catch their breath, get rest, and get back on the field and get after the opposing offense.”
On how much it helps him with a guy like T.O. that he has had to deal with Chad Ochocinco:
“I think so. I think Chad and I have definitely been through the ringer. Chad has matured and grown up a lot from his early days and some of the things that he used to get away with and some of the things that he and I still laugh about and talk about. I’ve been through some of those growing pains and those learning experiences with him. Terrell is going to come in and be himself. He’s still gonna want the football and demand the football, but me being a quarterback, I love that. I want guys that want the football in their hands all game long, especially in the fourth quarter and I like throwing the ball to the guy that wants to be the guy that catches the winning touchdown. I look at that as a positive. I told Marvin a long time ago when he called me in March and said we’re thinking about pursuing T.O. and what do you think about it? I was excited. I think if there’s any quarterback that can deal with some distractions, different egos, different personalities, and different guys that want to be the star, I think I can do that. I’m really looking forward to the challenge and the opportunity.”
Listen to Carson Palmer on ESPN Radio here (Audio begins 11:30 into the podcast)