After joining the Oakland Raiders mid-season in 2011, Carson Palmer initially struggled before gradually regaining his throwing ability near the end of last year. He threw for 1,021 yards and four touchdowns over the final three games, a significant improvement over his first two games where he threw six interceptions.
In camp this week, Palmer discussed his strides up to this point and what a full season can give him.
A ton of more confidence. There is no comparison to where I will be at Week 7 or 8 this year as opposed to last year. Just getting the experience and the reps I need now will pay off come Week 1.
Of his 10 games with Oakland last season, Palmer had a quarterback rating of over 100 in four of them. A full training camp and preseason should help him immensely. He gets to workout with the receivers and make sure they're on the same page. Palmer has also had time to work with the new coaching staff, especially head coach Dennis Allen, whom he praised after camp Wednesday.
I think one of the most impressive things he has done is hired a great staff. I think head coaches get involved, probably more than they want to, if they don’t completely trust their other hirings. But he trusts who he has hired. He did all the research he could have done, he hired [Offensive Coordinator Greg] Knapp, to me it’s phenomenal.
Allen was the defensive coordinator for the Broncos last year and coached with the New Orleans Saints before that. He's an aggressive defensive play caller, putting pressure on the offense to force turnovers and sacks, but isn't afraid to give up yardage doing it. It worked for Denver, whose defense was one of the driving forces in the Broncos' playoff berth.
A revamped coaching staff, a relationship with his wide receivers and time to prepare for the season will all play pivotal roles in Palmer's success in 2012. If Palmer can step it up and McFadden can stay healthy, the Raiders will have a formidable team in the wide-open AFC West.