No guarantees from Palmer

GEORGETOWN, Ky. - Here are six observations on the Cincinnati Bengals, gleaned from the training camp practices of Aug. 9-10:

1. While the overriding suspicion remains that Carson Palmer will start the regular-season opener at Kansas City on Sept. 10, kudos to the Bengals' star quarterback for his candor in allowing that's not yet a certainty, and for lobbying coach Marvin Lewis and the offensive assistants for more "reps" in camp. If Palmer is the starter against the Chiefs, the appearance would come exactly eight months to the day since he underwent surgery to repair two torn ligaments in his left knee and to address a problem with his kneecap. That would represent a miraculous recovery, one born in large part by Palmer's incredible passion in rehabilitating what many considered a catastrophic injury.

The raging optimism here aside, neither Palmer nor Lewis has ever said publicly that the quarterback is a lock to open the season. Someone suggested here Thursday that perhaps Palmer is just "sandbagging" people, but we don't think so. Why? Because the quarterback, who is coming off a 2005 season in which he was considered by many a viable most valuable player candidate, really doesn't know yet. "At this point," Palmer said, "it's reasonable to say that I might play, but that's about it."