Updated: 1-23-07, 5 a.m.
In a conversation that began Monday by discussing his brother and his own Senior Bowl experience four years ago, Palmer lit into the string of offenses that reached nine in the past 13 months with cornerback Johnathan Joseph's arrest for marijuana possession.
"It has to stop," Palmer said hours after he heard the news. "If it doesn't stop, we're not going to have any fans left and I don't blame them. It's ridiculous. We can't get through a month without getting a guy arrested. It happens on another team and they're shocked and surprised to hear about it. With us, you hear about it and it doesn't surprise you and you just shake your head and say, 'Another one.' "
What hit Palmer hard about the Joseph arrest is that it came the day after he watched the AFC title game in which the Colts came from behind to beat the Patriots.
"In the NFL, talent isn't everything. It couldn't have been any more evident than in that game Sunday," Palmer said. "The best coaching wins and getting guys who are coachable. It doesn't matter if you run a 4.4 (40-yard dash). What matters is if you run a 4.7 where and how you're told to do it.
"Look at that game. The only recognizable names that went to a Pro Bowl for New England are Tom Brady on offense and Richard Seymour on defense. Other than that, they've got average guys who do what they're told and play together. Talent isn't everything, and we've got talent but we're sitting home for a reason and we have to do something about it."
Palmer is upset and he understands head coach Marvin Lewis' postseason vow to get tough on lack of discipline, but he remains optimistic.
"We've got a lot of talented guys and it's going to be fun competing again next season and trying to win the Super Bowl. That's our goal," Palmer said. "I know I'm ready and that about 95 percent of this team knows what it takes. You look at these games on TV at this time of year and you realize these teams that are still playing are living your dreams and how exciting it is. They're doing it with guys who are coachable and making two or three plays that win games."
What set Palmer off and put the Bengals back in the crosshair of jokes came overnight Monday when
Joseph was arrested in Boone County, Kentucky overnight on a marijuana possession charge.
The reports said Joseph was released Monday morning, and his first court appearance is scheduled for Feb. 5, the day after the Super Bowl. Marijuana possession is a misdemeanor that carries a maximum of one year in jail and a maximum $500 fine.
According to the NFL substance abuse policy, first-time offenders are usually fined a game check and not suspended.
But the Bengals' string of offenses that players have suggested contributed to an 8-8 season that cost them the playoffs and raised Lewis' ire are now continuing into another offseason.
Joseph became the ninth Bengal to be arrested since Dec. 15, 2005. The club doesn't comment on on-going litigation and his agent, Jason Chayut, had no comment Monday.
Joseph is coming off one of the best rookie seasons ever by a Bengals first-round draft pick, starting at cornerback over the last half of the season and leading the team with 19 pass breakups.