Oakland Raiders Hue Jackson played it close to the vest all week, but ultimately made the right move by starting Kyle Boller over Carson Palmer against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday.
The Raiders acquired Palmer ahead of the NFL trade deadline earlier in the week in a controversial swap with Cincinnati, which sent a first-round pick in 2012 and another conditional first-rounder in 2013 back to the Bengals. The team had shown interest in Palmer dating back to the quarterback's original requests to leave the Queen City but sprung into more decisive action after Jason Campbell went down with a broken collarbone in Week 6.
Jackson pushed hard to bring Palmer to Oakland after having coached the former Heisman Trophy winner at USC and in Cincy. The Raiders coach had declined to confirm or deny what Palmer's role would be against KC, though there had been reports earlier on Sunday that Palmer would be held out of action until after the team's bye in Week 8.
The Silver and Black ultimately made the right decision here, though they could very well have justified it either way. Palmer is easily the most experienced and most talented quarterback on the Raiders' roster right now, well ahead of Boller and Terrelle Pryor. He has an extensive rapport with Jackson's offense and coaching style on which he could have drawn with so little time to prepare.
But time and preparation are always of the essence in the NFL, and, as such, putting Palmer out there with so little of either in his new uniform would not have suited him or the team particularly well. Granted, the Raiders don't need a whole lot from their quarterbacks to win games, other than the ability to hand the ball off to Darren McFadden and complete the occasional pass to Darrius Heyward-Bey, Denarius Moore, Jacoby Ford and/or Kevin Boss—all of whom happen to be talented and athletic receivers.
However, there's no guarantee that he would've been ready to handle even the modest tasks that would've been his charge. Palmer hadn't seen an NFL facility, much less live game action, in months. He had spent his most recent months at home in San Diego, working out and basically playing catch with his family while awaiting a call from Bengals owner Mike Brown informing him of a long-awaited trade out of town. He could hardly have expected to play so soon after that, especially at his age (31) and with his dodgy history of injuries.
Clearly, the Raiders wrested Palmer from Brown's stubborn grasp with the intention of winning now, referring more to the season as a whole than just one game against KC.
Then again, if Boller really stinks it up against the Chiefs (which he has), don't be surprised if the Raiders push the panic button and plunge Palmer back into action much earlier than expected?