Why Oakland Raiders Only Have Themselves to Blame for Carson Palmer's Struggles

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Why Oakland Raiders Only Have Themselves to Blame for Carson Palmer's Struggles
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Carson Palmer has just completed his 16th game—otherwise known as a full NFL regular season—as the Oakland Raiders’ quarterback. Oakland’s 6-10 record in those games with the underwhelming Palmer is the result of a telegraphed setback for the organization, which gave up a king’s ransom for a 31-year-old quarterback in 2011.

Palmer has completed 347 of 569 (60.1 percent) passes for 4,485 yards, 20 touchdowns and 20 interceptions with Oakland. The mildly-impressive yardage is, of course, a product of playing from behind so often.

He’s averaging 251.3 yards per win and 297.7 yards per loss—which includes a 116-yard effort in 2011 in surprise duty against the Kansas City Chiefs—as a Raider.

It is no surprise that Palmer has not been a game-breaking player for Oakland; he hasn’t led an efficient, high-flying offense in years.

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Palmer's old receiving tandem, T.J. Houshmandzadeh (left) and Chad Johnson.

His best seasons in terms of touchdown-to-interception ratio were easily 2005 and 2006. In those years, he threw for 60 touchdowns and 25 picks. All of his other seasons (one before and six since) creep much closer to the alarming one-to-one ratio: 114 touchdowns and 95 interceptions.

His time in Oakland has been spent with a perpetually-injured receiving corps. Conversely, his time with the Cincinnati Bengals was spent with versions of Chad Johnson (pre-Ochocinco) and T.J. Houshmandzadeh that would have had no problems finding work for an NFL ball club.

These were signs that Palmer might not have led a team to the Super Bowl in 2011, 2012 or beyond.

Signing him to a large free-agent contract would have been one thing. Trading two early draft picks for him is completely different; that’s where the front office really made its mistake.

Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE
Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Cincinnati Bengals

Instead of drafting some help for Jason Campbell or Kyle Boller—or selecting their replacements since they, incidentally, are no longer in Oakland—the Raiders crippled their future by sacrificing their No. 1 pick in 2012 and a conditional No. 1 in 2013.

The first pick was used by the Bengals to select cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick and the second No. 1 is contingent upon the Raiders making the AFC title game either last year or this year.

They didn’t get there last year, and they won’t be there this year; that pick will be a second-rounder in 2013.

Second-round rookies can still be Week 1 starters, there is just less pressure and less money surrounding them during their rookie deals.

Trading for Palmer also set up the acquisition of Terrelle Pryor to be highly scrutinized. Pryor was taken in the third round of the 2011 supplemental draft, meaning the Raiders went into the NFL draft without a third-rounder in 2012.

With the state of the Raiders defense as it is, Oakland is not built to win with Carson Palmer. It has allowed 28.5 points per game through its first six and Palmer’s offense is not one that can be counted on to score 30.

Now, the team is without a playoff-caliber roster in the present and ammunition to acquire younger assets in the near future.

 

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