Bengals Thursday Thoughts: Downplaying Palmer

Carson Palmer wants a piece of the Bengals, but Cincinnati wants a team-wide effort in Arizona.

Carson Palmer says he's looking forward to taking care of the Bengals Sunday night in Arizona.

The one-time Bengals quarterback left Cincinnati acrimoniously after demanding a trade then waiting to be traded.

The Bengals replaced him with Andy Dalton, who said Palmer is not his target Sunday.

Dalton, in his fifth season, said Sunday's 8:30 p.m. game against the Cardinals is like most any other, with no extra motivation while going up against Palmer.

“It’s not any more motivation. We’re facing a good team, and we’re not just facing Carson," Dalton said. "They have a really good defense, and a really good offense. We know what we’re going up against.

The NFC West-leading Cardinals are 7-2. The AFC North-leading Bengals are 8-1. Both teams have Super Bowl 50 aspirations, and could conceivably meet in the big game.

But, "the story this week, of course," Dalton said, "is going to talk about Carson playing the Bengals. But, we’re not just facing Carson.”

Dalton said there are plenty of other motivations, namely staying out of the clutches of the Cardinals' defense.

“Yeah, they’re good all over the field. They play tight coverage. They run to the ball. They have speed and athleticism," Dalton said. "We have to come to play, and match their level of play. When we get chances, we have to hit them.”

The Cardinals' secondary has 14 interceptions, so he will have to be careful while marching the Bengals down field.

“They’ve done a good job. They’ve been tight in coverage, and when the ball is in the air, balls have been tipped, and they’ve been able to make plays on it," said Dalton. "That’s one of the first things that I saw (in film). The balls getting tipped in the air, and they rally around it to make play.

“You can control it to a certain extent with (passing) accuracy, and putting the ball in the right spot. Our guys have to make tough, contested catches. You can control from the standpoint of knowing when to throw it in there, and when you do throw it, put it in the right spot.”

The Cardinals cleverly deploy speedy hybrid 'backer Deone Bucannon, an inside linebacker with safety skills when in coverage. In addition to the picks, the Cardinals have 15 sacks by 11 players. Dalton said it's going to be a real 11-on-11 battle.

“Going in, you know what type of guy (Bucannon) is. He’s a guy who is really athletic, even when he hits it on blitzes," said the quarterback. "He obviously covers really well, being a safety-type player. They do a good job in their blitzes. A lot of five-man rush, trying to get to the quarterback. It’s not just one guy doing it, there is a bunch of different guys that have sacks. We have to be ready, good in our protection plan, and we’ll be fine.”

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