The Raiders are the type of NFL team that is always trying to link their present players to their glorious past, but that’s not always achievable.
Many of the quarterbacks that have worn the Silver and Black were castoffs from other teams. From 1978-1986, Jim Plunkett guided the Raiders to victories in Super Bowl XV and XVIII after unsuccessful stints at New England and San Francisco. In the 1990s before their move from Los Angeles back to Oakland, Jeff Hostetler was a solid veteran presence after spending seven seasons with the New York Giants. More recently, it was Rich Gannon taking the Raiders to the AFC Championship in 2002 after he had played a combined 11 seasons with Minnesota, Washington and Kansas City.
After joining the Raiders in Week 7 of the 2011 season, Carson Palmer has now spent an entire training camp with the team and spent time working with offensive coordinator Gregg Knapp and senior offensive assistant Al Saunders. Just two years ago in 2010, Palmer had 3,970 passing yards starting all 16 games for the Cincinnati Bengals, but he fell out of favor and did not play at all the next year until he was traded to Oakland for two first-round draft picks.
All things considered, his stats weren’t terrible last year, but it was more than obvious he was behind the eight ball. It was baptism by fire in his first game as a Raider. He came into the game against the Chiefs with the Raiders already trailing and finished the game throwing three interceptions.
One big positive was the chemistry that developed between Palmer and wide receiver Denarius Moore––the two worked well together as a playmaking tandem. But Moore and fellow receiver Jacoby Ford have missed nearly all of training camp with foot and hamstring injuries, so going into Week One Palmer could find himself just as unfamiliar with his receivers since he hasn’t had many reps in practice with them.
Rookie receivers Juron Criner and Rod Streater made good first impressions during the preseason, but unfortunately, those games don’t count. At this point, it is a wait-and-see proposition, but injuries almost always result in fewer wins. The Raiders don’t have much depth on their roster and a few injuries to key players significantly decrease the odds the Raiders will end their decade-long playoff drought.
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Ryan Leong has reported on over 2,800 games in the Bay Area since 1998, covering the Sharks, Giants, A’s, Warriors, 49ers, Raiders and the local college teams for radio networks and wire services. Having the best seat in the house to watch sports has been a thrill and Ryan still enjoys going to the games giving fans some insight and perspective on the players and coaches. His work can be found on Examiner.com.