New Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer has been haunted by doubts about his arm strength since he spurned Tommy John surgery on his injured throwing elbow in favor of rest and rehab during the 2009 offseason. Palmer’s passes seemed to flutter in his final year with the Bengals, lacking velocity and leading to 20 interceptions.
ESPN’s Friday report that Palmer won’t start in Week Seven, after it was initially reported he would, included the detail that Palmer “felt he’s not ready to make those high-velocity throws yet.”
Palmer wasn’t just sitting on the couch before his trade to the Raiders. He’s been working out with former NFL quarterback Ken O’Brien in anticipation of a move. Palmer’s body may not be in “football shape,” but the velocity of his passes shouldn’t be a concern, assuming his elbow has healed. He’s been throwing the ball.
Raiders coach Hue Jackson was asked to address speculation that Palmer’s arm may be a problem following Friday’s practice.
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” replied Jackson, according to the Oakland Tribune. “He’s throwing the ball like you wouldn’t believe. Trust me, if he’s out there … I mean, we wouldn’t have signed him if he couldn’t throw.
“I get surprised at those kinds of questions because I would never put the guy on the team or [trade] draft picks like that if he couldn’t throw the ball or he could not do or be what I think he has the potential to be.”
NFL.com’s Steve Wyche reported Friday evening that the Raiders will start Kyle Boller against the Chiefs, so it appears Palmer won’t have the opportunity to ease concerns about his arm power and passing velocity until Week Nine.
The Raiders have a Week Eight bye.