What Does the Future Hold for Carson Palmer and the Oakland Raiders?
As we all know, the Raiders' organization underwent a massive transformation last year when Al Davis died. Reggie McKenzie became the team's general manager, and he chose Dennis Allen to be the head coach in 2012.
Allen then brought in Greg Knapp to be the new offensive coordinator.
Sounds good so far, right?
The only problem with all of this is that Palmer isn't the kind of quarterback that fits in Knapp's box. Knapp has been a big proponent of utilizing athletic quarterbacks that can roll out of the pocket, and Palmer will never be accused of being a mobile quarterback.
He has been inefficient with some of the movement-based passing concepts in the playbook...Palmer has also had problems with his anticipation on timing routes. He repeatedly delivered the ball late to receivers coming out of their breaks.
We haven't seen much improvement from Palmer from that time until now. Watching him last Saturday, I was struck by how confused he seems to be at times.
Heck, I'd argue that Ryan Tannehill is playing at least as well as Palmer. He doesn't even have any talent to throw to at the wide receiver position or as much protection from his line.
In the Meantime
So while Palmer's struggling mightily, suddenly Terrelle Pryor pops up out of nowhere on Saturday and scores three touchdowns in garbage time, doing the kinds of things he did back in college. In no way, shape or form is Pryor ready to be a starter in the NFL, but his potential must have the folks in the Raiders' front office drooling.
Matt Leinart is waiting in the wings as the team's No. 2 quarterback. He is in his third season in Knapp's offense, having spent the past two seasons with him in Houston as a backup to Matt Schaub for the Texans.
Leinart looked pretty darn good in his first two preseason appearances before a lacerated finger put him on the shelf. He'll be just fine, once the regular season begins, though, and if Palmer continues to struggle, it could be his show to run in 2012.
In the short term, Palmer should be kept on a short leash. If he continues to throw interceptions, keeping him in the game only hurts the team.
Will Palmer be replaced by Leinart in 2012?
Even if Leinart isn't as potentially explosive as Palmer—code for: Leinart's arm is barely adequate—he can still manage the offense while Knapp runs the ball down the throat of the opposing teams with Darren McFadden and Taiwan Jones.
In the long term, I don't see Palmer sticking around for another season with the Raiders. He's clearly not as sharp as he used to be. We saw plenty of that when he was in a familiar offense with Hugh Jackson last season.
Now, in a new offense that doesn't cater to his strengths, Palmer just doesn't fit.
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