After an Oakland Raiders victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers at home in Week 3 and a 1-2 start, Raider Nation are still not convinced that quarterback Carson Palmer is the right fit for the 2012 Oakland Raiders.
But if he’s not the answer for the Raiders offense, then who (or what) is?
2004 Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinart spent his first four years with the Arizona Cardinals and last year at the Houston Texans with now-Oakland Raiders offensive coordinator Gregg Knapp.
Leinart knows and understands the west coast, quick read offense. He also has the respect and trust of Greg Knapp, who, in 2011, spoke highly of Matt Leinart while in Houston.
- Positives: He knows the system and can acclimate quickly to Oakland’s offensive weapons.
- Negatives: He has never been a proven winner and has had health issues.
2nd year quarterback Terrelle Pryor has finally had a full offseason under his belt and has had an opportunity to work with Oakland Raiders quarterback coach John DeFilippo.
He's still raw, but has the ability to disrupt defenses and make plays happen. With the success of RGIII, Oakland could look to use the same game changing ability of a mobile quarterback.
- Positives: Pryor has mobility, the ability to move the pocket and make plays with his feet.
- Negatives: He's unproven and his passing skills are questionable.
Revert back to a power running scheme.
We’ve seen how Darren McFadden ran in last season’s offense before getting injured (614 yards and four TDs in seven games).
With McFadden and a power blocking scheme, Oakland was leading the NFL in rushing. Couple that with a conservative passing offense led by former Oakland Raider Jason Campbell and the Raiders were 4-2 in Week 6 before a season ending injury in Week 7.
McFadden’s strength is running with his shoulders parallel with the offensive line in a power running offense. But as we've seen time and again, McFadden often gets injured and has failed to complete a season under that style of offense.
- Positives: DMC is proven in a power running scheme and was on pace for over 1200 yards and 14+ TDs last season.
- Negatives: He has never been healthy for an entire season, seems to struggle with reading and cutbacks with zone blocking.
Is the answer adding a veteran free agent wide receiver like Terrell Owens, Chad Johnson or Plaxico Burress?
A veteran wide receiver would give Carson Palmer a reliable and go-to option to throw to. And with the current average age of the team’s wide receivers at 24 years old, a veteran would be a welcomed mentor and reliable target.
But is it worth divisiveness and headaches of one of the wide receivers mentioned above? The San Francisco 49ers are already seeing a change in attitude with veteran Randy Moss.
- Positives: A veteran could provide leadership for young receivers and would be a proven and reliable target for quarterback Carson Palmer.
- Negatives: Veterans that are available have a long history of being team dividers; they are available for a reason. Raiders also have salary cap issues.