Talented secondary should carry defense

As another NFL season approaches, Scouts Inc. breaks down every roster and offers position-by-position breakdowns.

Carson Palmer still is a work in progress, but he made steady improvement after a rough start in '04, his first season as an NFL starter. He had as many interceptions (18) as touchdowns and missed Cincinnati's last three games (knee), but seemed more comfortable, showed improved field vision and made better decisions in November and December.

Palmer has excellent arm strength and can make all the throws. He trimmed down in the offseason to improve his mobility. With some potent weapons, he only needs to grow into the offense, show a little more patience and keep sharpening his coverage reads. Jon Kitna is a quality backup and has willingly played the role of mentor to Palmer, despite probably being good enough to start elsewhere. He knows the offense well and, if necessary, could step in and run things smoothly.