It’s not hard to see why Oakland Raiders fans are uneasy about Carson Palmer. One of the final desperate attempts by the late Al Davis to get this team competitive again was acquiring the former first overall pick from the Cincinnati Bengals. They gave up a first round pick and a second conditional first that wound up being a second to get him. There’s no denying they overpaid. There’s no denying it hasn’t worked out as planned. The Raiders 4-12 season can hardly be placed solely on Palmers shoulders though.
If anything the fans can thank Palmer for getting them the four wins they did get. New head coach Dennis Allen and Raiders management hardly gave him a chance to succeed. Where to start? The newly implemented zone blocking scheme was miserable. It resulted in arguably the worst season of McFadden’s career and some of the worst pass protection the league had to offer. For years - when McFadden was healthy at least - they could mask the deficiencies in their passing game, be it for a lack of options in the passing game or a quarterback that couldn’t get the ball to them. With McFadden averaging a paisley 3.3 yards a game, far too much was asked of Palmer. His 37.6 attempts per game were the highest of his 9 year career.
Another thing Palmer has had to deal with in his short stay with the Raiders is quite possibly the league’s most average receiving corps. Of the top five receivers in Oakland, their leader is a tight end in Brandon Myers, the two expected producers in Heyward-Bey and Moore are there and an undrafted free agent and fullback round out the group. Unless we’re talking about the New England Patriots, having a tight end lead your team in receiving yards probably isn’t a good sign. The loss of Jacoby Ford early on really didn’t help their cause.
Unfortunately for Palmer, he carries the burden of unfair expectations. The Raiders grossly overpaid for him, which is hardly his fault, but leaves the fan base expecting big things. It doesn’t help that they have an exciting if not risky backup in Terrelle Pryor that some see as a savior. Pryor isn’t ready to start and Palmer isn’t the problem. The Raiders are currently trying to restructure his contract, so don’t expect Palmer to go anywhere anytime soon. Besides, he isn’t great but he’s the best you got.
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