So what was the problem? Poor decisions by Kyle Boller and Carson Palmer.
Unlike many observers of the Raiders' 28-0 loss to the Chiefs, I’ve actually watched Palmer over the last few years.
And what I saw of Palmer yesterday resembled much of what I’ve seen from Palmer over the past three years—poor decision making and a weakened arm from his 2008 elbow injury.
B.J. Bethel of the Dayton Daily News explained it best: “The team (Bengals) couldn’t keep Palmer from getting a broken nose in a preseason game and couldn’t keep his elbow from being mangled, which has cost him his once-superb arm.”
And like McNabb, I proclaimed Palmer's career was winding down about three years ago. They are both beat up and over the hill.
Palmer actually admitted losing love for the game, and he quit on his former team—both negative marks.
Just like a prize fighter, once the desire is gone, you're finished.
Asked in the week leading up to the game how his arm felt, Palmer responded, "I've been throwing, and my arm feels as good as it ever has...I feel confident about it.”
But the truth is Palmer, at best, is equipped to be a seasoned journeyman with a few flashes of brilliance left in him.
On Sunday, Palmer had great protection nearly every time he dropped back. If he was throwing all summer, his arm shouldn't be that rusty. If he had been running for his life, that would be a good excuse.
But he wasn't. He had time, but he was off target, just like he was all last season for the Bengals.
After the game, Chiefs head coach Todd Haley said, “I think Jason Campbell was a big part of this [Raiders] team really playing good. So, as a team coming in, I was happy we didn’t have to face him. That kid’s done a terrific job; he was really playing at a level that suited that team and what they do.”
But Jason Campbell’s days as a Raider are gone. Palmer is the present and Terrelle Pryor seems to be the future.
When Boller entered the game Sunday, Deion Sanders chuckled on The NFL Network, “That man has not won in his last 10 games. What makes you think he’s going to win today?”
But Hue Jackson, the man who recruited Palmer to USC, believes Palmer is the one piece the Raiders needed to win a championship.
We shall see.