Carson Palmer Press Conference

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Q: Only one Bengal has caught 100 balls in a season, but it's soon to be two when T.J. Houshmandzadeh overtakes Carl Pickens. Can you feed T.J. five balls on Saturday night? CP:

 I think it's possible. He's got three games, got a lot of catches out there for him. It's very possible. I don't know what the single-season record is. (Group response: Marvin Harrison, 143)     Yeah, those chances aren't great. But definitely, he can get five in the first half. He can get five on third down in the first half, as much as he catches. He can get hot and just rattle off three or four passes in a row. So it's definitely within reach for him.

Q: You've said in the past you wouldn't trade him for anything:CP:

 As big of a role as he plays in this offense and has over the last three or four years, you can't ask him to do much more than he's done and make the plays that he's made.

Q: How's San Francisco's defense playing?CP:

Very well. Very good players. Everybody knows about the corner in (Nate) Clements, and Bryant Young is playing great in the later years of his career. Two very solid safeties, one of them is a former Pro Bowler when he was in Philly in (Michael) Lewis, and that linebacker (Patrick Willis) is as good as it gets, and he's only a rookie. I was talking with Bob Bratkowski today about him. It kind of reminds you of Junior Seau back in the day when Brat was coaching Seattle and coaching against San Diego a lot and having to play against him. He's big enough to play the run. He chases down receivers from the back. He's a phenomenal player, and he's going to be a phenomenal player in this league for a long time. It's just a very well-coached defense. Coach Nolan, with the success he's had in Baltimore, they run a great scheme, they do a lot of different things week-in and week-out. And they've got good players.

Q: Are they as complicated as Baltimore's defense?CP:

 Yeah. They actually do a lot of similar things to what they were doing in Baltimore when Coach Nolan was there. Lot of different pressures, lot of different looks. They try to confuse you upfront with identifying the defensive front and getting protection settled, getting run-game blocks called. They do a great job with that and do similar stuff to what they do in Baltimore.

Q: Marvin said he's pleased with how you're managing games and having to handle a lot of exotic looks. How much differently are teams attacking you?CP:

 Just depends week to week. Some teams get out of their comfort zone with their normal packages and do different things, things that we haven't seen, things that they haven't done on film. Some teams try to play us straight-up like they've been playing, like Tennessee did. Tennessee came out and what we saw on film was what we got on Sunday. It just depends on the head coach or the coordinator, but different teams come with different packages and different schemes.

Q: Are you concerned about your interceptions getting close to your touchdown total?CP:

 Well, they are (close). I know I've got 17 picks, I'm not sure where I'm at in touchdowns, but it's closer than you'd like (21). I'm doing what I can to get the touchdowns higher and keep those picks where they are.

Q: You've struggled offensively since the Cleveland game. Is there anything you can put your finger on, as to why that is?CP:

No. It's not one thing. If it was, we would fix it. We'd be scoring 30 points per game, 20 points per game, whatever it is. It's been a number of things, all over the place. I'll take the blame for that. It's my job to score points. It's the quarterback's job to move the chains, it's the quarterback's job to win games, and obviously we haven't done a great job doing any combination of those things. I need to prepare better, practice better, play better, and do all the above.

Q: How hard is it for you to believe that you haven't won back-to-back games this year?CP:

It's very tough to believe. I wouldn't have thought at the beginning of the season that this would be the case. But all we can do at this point is try to win this one. That would put us at back-to-back wins, and move on from there.

Q: As you look at the teams you've lost to, do you ever think 'this was really laid out for us'?CP:

I think there are definitely some regrets over this year. At the beginning of the season we thought we wouldn't struggle with some of the teams we've struggled with. Looking back, there's some games we shouldn't have lost on paper, but we did. We didn't play well enough to win. You can 'coulda, woulda, shoulda' yourself to death, unless you're the Patriots, and win every game. There's no question that we've underachieved this year and lost to teams we shouldn't have.
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