Sunday, August 8, 2004

Palmer grades himself a 'C' after first weekend of action

By Mark Curnutte
Enquirer staff writer

GEORGETOWN, Ky. - If Carson Palmer were his own position coach, he'd assign himself a grade of "C" for his performances this weekend.

"It was very average," the Bengals quarterback said of his showing in the team's intrasquad scrimmage and mock game. "There were a lot of things I could have done better."

Palmer threw two interceptions and lost a fumble that was recovered by the defense in the end zone for a touchdown Saturday. He also threw for 282 yards and two touchdowns and is beginning to click with Pro Bowl wide receiver Chad Johnson.

Johnson's 191 receiving yards Saturday included catches of 43 (touchdown), 50 and 57 from Palmer.

Quarterbacks coach Ken Zampese said he had to watch film before assigning a grade and pointed out that Palmer is adjusting to Johnson's speed.

"We were able to get the ball downfield today," coach Marvin Lewis said.

Playing with the first-team offense against the second-team defense, Palmer did show his inexperience. After fumbling and picking up a high shotgun snap, he ran right but overthrew. Cornerback Keiwan Ratliff intercepted.

"Carson was very sharp yesterday," Lewis said of the scrimmage. "He had the one bad throw today. You have to learn: You have a bad snap, so don't make it worse. The other (interception), the receiver fell down, and that's going to happen."

Backup Jon Kitna was sharp with the second-team offense against the starting defense, throwing for 46 yards and one touchdown.

"I'm getting close to where I want to be," Kitna said. "My job is to be as supportive as I can to Carson. He did great. He's going to be just fine."



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