As Carson Palmer continues his first full season as the Oakland Raiders' signal-caller, he is showing his ability to still be considered a quality quarterback in this league.
His career has certainly been filled with disappointing moments since entering the league in 2004. While he has shown us small samples of his potential to be an elite quarterback in the NFL, his inability to lead the Bengals to success in the postseason never warranted praise for the former first-round pick.
Palmer became fed up with the losing culture in Cincinnati, as he settled with retirement despite the millions that he left on the table. However, he received an opportunity for a new chapter in his career.
The Raiders were in need of a quarterback following the injury to Jason Campbell, and the variety of young offensive talent intrigued Palmer.
Although he struggled mightily in 2011, it became evident that the addition of a full training camp and offseason program benefited Palmer this season.
He currently ranks third in the NFL in passing, trailing only Drew Brees and Matt Ryan in that category. He orchestrated a notable win against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and almost led his team to what would have been a monumental victory against the Atlanta Falcons.
Palmer has done his part this season. When healthy, his overall performance this year has ranked within the top half of quarterbacks this season.
If only the Raiders could do their part to become a playoff contender instead of wasting the few good years left in Palmer's career.
Palmer deserves more credit because of the talent that he has at his disposal each week. Denarius Moore has provided the potential to be a special receiver in this league, and has improved immensely under Palmer. However, Moore's injury history has cost him valuable playing time during his career.
Jacoby Ford and Darrius-Heyward Bey have had their share of injuries, but it's laughable to consider these receivers "legitimate" weapons. A receiver having speed doesn't translate to becoming elite in the NFL, and both of them have proved this notion with their inconsistent play.
His offensive line has slightly improved from a year ago, and is more suited to create open lanes for Darren McFadden. Unfortunately, Palmer takes too many unnecessary hits and has been sacked 17 times.
Oakland's arguably biggest weakness is its defense, a unit that is not fundamentally strong and is extremely vulnerable against both the pass and the run. Its latest embarrassment of a performance came during a 55-20 at the hands of the Baltimore Ravens. This came following the domination a week prior by rookie running back Doug Martin, who rushed for 251 yards and four touchdowns.
This team has shown no sign of becoming a team that can bring excitement near the end of Palmer's career. General manager Reggie McKenzie will need multiple years to restock talent that this roster lacks due in large part to the prior decisions of Al Davis.
It's a shame because Palmer could make a difference for teams such as the Eagles and Cardinals, two teams who have struggled in large part due to their lack of efficient quarterback play. As Palmer nears the end of his career, there's a very good chance that it will end with plenty of losing and a lack of opportunity in the postseason.
Matt Miselis is a national NFL FC for BleacherReport.