Many people have assumed that if Carson Palmer doesn’t play this season, it will be rookie Andy Dalton who starts the season opener under center. But Carson’s brother, Jordan, has been campaigning to be the heir apparent, mixing a more outspoken offseason with a lot on on-field work as well.
Others believe that the Bengals Opening Day starter may not even be on the roster yet, that they’ll sign some sort of veteran who will be a stopgap until Dalton is ready to take over. In my mind, it makes more sense to stick with someone already on the roster until Dalton develops.
For one, Jordan Palmer – or even third-stringer Dan LeFevour for that matter – have a head start in Jay Gruden’s new offense Which is important in what figures to be a compressed offseason. Plus, they already have familiarity with the wide receivers and they both have a little more upside. J. Palmer and LeFevour are unproven, perhaps there’s a little Jeff Blake surprise buried within them. More experienced veterans who might be able on the free agent market (like say Marc Bulger or Troy Smith), are proven quantities, but are underwhelming ones.
And then there’s this:
John Thornton, who has been watching the Bengals workouts and the quarterbacks pretty closely, says that Jordan is far ahead of the others.
Thus, it probably makes the most sense to install him as the starter if his brother doesn’t play. Yes, it’s a strange conflict of interest, and yes, J. Palmer doesn’t seem to be the second coming of Kenny Anderson, but the team might as well give him a chance. He already knows a good bit of the offense and the receivers, especially Jerome Simpson, who has caught a lot of passes from him as a backup the last few seasons.
More than anything, it will give Dalton a little more time to make the leap from smaller-school TCU to football’s biggest stage. His development won’t need to be rushed. His career won’t be ruined prematurely. And that’s what really matters.
So I think it’s time for heir Jordan.
How much worse can it get?
Click the image for Thornton’s observations on the Bengals’ offense