Why Oakland Raiders Fans Should Trust Carson Palmer in 2012

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Why Oakland Raiders Fans Should Trust Carson Palmer in 2012
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Trading for Carson Palmer midway through last season was a bold move for the Oakland Raiders, to say the least.  

The Raiders gave up a 2012 first-round draft pick and 2013 second-rounder to get a 32-year-old quarterback who was more or less retired from professional football.

Although the jury is still out on whether or not the trade was beneficial for the team, fans of the Oakland Raiders should put the utmost faith in Carson Palmer heading into the coming season.

Let me make a comparison: you are lost in the woods with little hope for survival.  An unknown man shows up and says, “Follow me, do what I say, and I’ll get us out of this.”  

That was like what Carson Palmer’s arrival was for the Raiders last season.  

Raiders fans had been lost in the wilderness since the Tuck Rule Game in 2002.  Finally, when things started to look up last year, Jason Campbell went down with a broken collarbone and the Oakland Raiders were looking like a confused lost puppy dog.

Enter Carson Palmer. He exits retirement to be reunited with his former offensive coordinator from USC where he won the Heisman Trophy.  He was the Raiders' sole hope to save the season.

No one was sure what Palmer was going to do.  He could have been Bear Grylls or he could have been an axe murderer there to make a bad situation even worse.

Many felt that Palmer was, and is, washed up but all agreed that if there was a situation for the 2005 AFC Player of the Year to succeed in, it was with the Raiders.

The issue going into this season is that he didn’t succeed.  He didn’t exactly fail either, but the Raiders failed to make the playoffs and Palmer finished with 13 TDs compared to 16 INTs.

A lot of people look at the Palmer trade and say, “Typical bad management move by Oakland.  Palmer is going to be the worst AFC West QB in 2012.”

I think that point of view is far too harsh.

Palmer had to start for the Raiders only five days after coming out of retirement and being traded to the Raiders.  That kind of situation NEVER happens in the NFL.

On October 17th, Carson Palmer was probably chilling on his couch, watching reality TV, and eating Doritos.  Twenty-four hours later he is playing quarterback in one of the most competitive professional sports leagues in the world

Bob Levey/Getty Images

I don’t care that he says he was in playing shape or that he was 100 percent healthy, that is still not an easy adjustment.

I honestly don’t even think the three interceptions that Palmer threw against the Chiefs in first game should count against him.  

He got put in the game at the 10:35 mark of the second half after the Raiders were down 14-0 and Darren McFadden had exited the game with a foot injury in the first quarter.

Take the Chiefs game away and Palmer finished at an even 13-13 TDs to INTs.  Not too shabby for a guy who came out of retirement during the middle of the season.

The return of Darren McFadden will lift a huge weight off of Palmer’s shoulders.

Michael Bush was very good but McFadden is the kind of super-athletic back that can break off a huge run on any given play.  It won’t hurt that he’s even been lining up at receiver during OTAs as well, according to ProFootballWeekly.com.

The first game that Palmer played in last season, a 28-0 drubbing by the Chiefs, also happened to be the final game of the season that Darren McFadden played in.

When healthy, McFadden is the type of player that makes you say “Wow.”  He is head turner and a human highlight reel.  Unfortunately, he is also often injured.

According to ESPN.com, the latest word on McFadden is that he looks healthy and will be in full effect next season.

Before getting injured last season, McFadden was averaging 5.4 yards per carry and was a major reason the Raiders were sitting pretty at 4-2.

A healthy McFadden put more pressure on opposing defenses to account for the running game and will take a TON of pressure off Carson Palmer.

Palmer will be surrounded by a much improved receiving squad next season as well.

If the extremely young core of Denarius Moore, Darrius Heyward-Bey, and Jacoby Ford can stay healthy, the Raider will have the fastest group of receivers in the league (the late Al Davis would be so proud).

The addition of rookie Juron Criner is what Raiders fans should really be excited about.  He was an absolute stud at Arizona and will provide the perfect over-the-middle toughness to complement the down-the-field speed possessed by the rest of the squad.

Right now, on paper, the Carson Palmer trade looks like a bust (although not one of the JaMarcus Russell variety).

It is a good thing for Raiders fans that the game is not played on paper.

The expression "baptism by fire" isn’t even appropriate to describe the manner in which Palmer was thrust into the thick of things last season.

He went from a retired 32-year-old sitting on millions of dollars to starting for an NFL team in the middle of the playoff hunt.  I think baptism by napalm is more appropriate. 

With a healthy Darren McFadden, a stronger receiving corps, and time to truly learn the offensive schemes, Carson Palmer will lead the Raiders to a playoff berth next season.

And if for some reason he fails, we can all enjoy the unintentional comedy of Matt Leinart starting for a team in the National Football League.

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