Oakland Raiders: 5 Reasons Carson Palmer Will Lead Oakland to the Postseason

Steven Slivka@@StevenSlivkaCorrespondent IIIAugust 17, 2012

Oakland Raiders: 5 Reasons Carson Palmer Will Lead Oakland to the Postseason

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    As opening day lingers in the minds of football fans everywhere, followers of the Silver and Black are about to witness the team's best shot at a playoff bid in nearly a decade.

    Despite a 3-0 shutout in the team's preseason opener against the Dallas Cowboys, the Oakland Raiders saw some impressive plays from Darren McFadden, and an early momentum-killing interception by Carson Palmer.

    Though Palmer was limited in the game against Dallas, the former Heisman Trophy winner still has a few weeks to improve his game before Oakland takes on San Diego on Monday Night Football on Sept. 10.

    After trading a first-round pick and a 2013 second-round pick to the Cincinnati Bengals in exchange for Palmer, the Raiders brought in the most talented quarterback they've had since the early 2000s.

    He's great at throwing the deep ball, something that late owner Al Davis thrived on when he was in control of the team.

    With a talented, big-body quarterback running the offense in Oakland, the time is now for the Silver and Black to finally get back to the destination they've chased after for so long: the playoffs.

Oakland Has a Track Team of Young Receivers

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    Did I mention that the Raiders have always been known for throwing the deep ball?

    Luckily for them, they have two of the fastest wide receivers in the league.

    In 2006, Darrius Heyward-Bey ran a mind-boggling 4.23 in the 40-yard dash, and Jacoby Ford finished with an astonishing time of 4.28 during the 2010 NFL combine.

    Although they don't have the talent of the Tim Brown-Jerry Rice tandem that the Raiders had 10 years ago, Heyward-Bey and Ford have the speed to burn any secondary in the NFL.

    With the cannon that Palmer possesses, there's no reason the Raiders won't be airing it out even more this year.

    Nothing gets the home crowd going more than a touchdown bomb from 50 yards away, and with couple of speedsters lining up outside, look for Palmer to hook up deep with his receivers several times this season.

A Strong Running Game Will Fuel Palmer's Success

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    Darren McFadden is without a doubt one of the best running backs in the league, and the best running back the Raiders have had since Bo Jackson.

    Assuming McFadden can stay healthy for the first time in his brief NFL career (fingers crossed), Palmer has a ground weapon to turn to if he struggles.

    During the Raiders 2002-03 season, quarterback Rich Gannon and running back Charlie Garner gelled together nicely, and both were pivotal pieces in helping Oakland come within one victory of winning the team's first championship since Super Bowl XVIII.

    A strong running game and even decent play from Palmer will help Oakland reach the postseason.

    Although Raider fans will be expecting much more than just decent from him.

Palmer Is the Second-Best Quarterback in the AFC West

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    With Peyton Manning now leading the charge in Denver, Carson Palmer is still in the top half of the AFC West quarterbacks.

    Even though Philip Rivers is still in San Diego, he lost his top receiver Vincent Jackson in the offseason, and was given Robert Meachem as a replacement.

    Without question, this move was a serious downgrade for the Chargers, and as Antonio Gates gets older, the concerns over his injury-prone foot are brought into question even more.

    The Chargers also lost Mike Tolbert to the Carolina Panthers in the offseason, and Ryan Mathews has already injured himself again.

    Rivers struggled with turnovers all of last season and will be under more pressure with a weakened running game behind him.

    Turning to the Kansas City Chiefs, Palmer still reigns supreme over Matt Cassel.

    In nine games last season, Cassel threw for 1,713 yards for the Chiefs. In the 10 games Palmer played in, he threw for 2,753 yards and was one victory away from leading Oakland to the AFC West crown.

He's the Most Talented Quarterback the Raiders Have Had Since Rich Gannon

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    Since Rich Gannon retired in 2005, the Raiders have gone through quarterbacks like Charlie Sheen has gone through rehab facilities.

    Gannon threw for 17,585 yards and 114 touchdowns during his six-year tenure in Oakland.

    Since then, the Raiders have come up completely empty in terms of finding someone to put up even close to that sort of production.

    Kerry Collins, Aaron Brooks, Daunte Culpepper and Bruce Gradkowski are only a few of the men who have failed to lead the Raiders to success since Gannon retired.

    Palmer is a big, strong quarterback who has the ability to put up a 4,000-yard season for the Raiders.

    He did it in back-to-back seasons while in Cincinnati in 2006 and 2007, and although he won't put up a 4,700-yard season like Gannon did in 2002, Palmer finally gives the Silver and Black something they've been missing for far too long: a talented quarterback.

He Has a Full Season to Prove He Was Worth the Trade

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    In order to acquire the "retired" Carson Palmer from the Cincinnati Bengals, Oakland had to relinquish a first-round pick in this year's draft, and a second-round pick in next year's draft.

    At the time, the trade seemed like quite the risk, but Palmer looked more comfortable as the season progressed.

    In the 10 games he played in, Palmer had four different 300-yard performances, including his 417-yard gem against San Diego in Week 17.

    He looked extremely efficient in the final three weeks of the season, throwing for over 1,000 yards in that span.

    Palmer came a long, long way from his "experimental" game against Kansas City when he threw three interceptions after being acquired by the Raiders just five days before.

    With a full season to command the offense, the time is now for Palmer to prove he is the man in Oakland.