Yes, the Raiders have a new G.M. and a new head coach. Yes, the new G.M. has dumped plenty of players.
And, yes, the quarterback that the last coach/de facto G.M. acquired on the fly last season doesn’t necessarily fit the team’s new offense.
Nevertheless, Carson Palmer is feeling optimistic about the situation.
“I am fired up to get my playbook,” Carson Palmer said Friday, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. “We have a lot of work to do. We have a new offense and a new defense. New terminology. But we’re very excited. Personnel-wise, we have as good an opportunity as anybody to win the whole thing.”
Recent history tells us that, indeed, any team with a reasonable shot at the postseason can find a way to the playoff table and then run it. But it’s hard to pencil in the Raiders atop the AFC West amid the turnover in Oakland and the arrival of Peyton Manning in Denver.
Regardless, it all begins Monday for the Raiders, when they launch the first offeason program of the Reggie McKenzie/Dennis Allen era. That’s when Palmer, who has been watching film of the Texans offense in which new coordinator Greg Knapp served as quarterbacks coach, will get his playbook.
“I am trying to match up what I see on film with my throwing drills,” Palmer said. “You have different players coming from different spots, and some of the reads are different, but some of the concepts I have run before. We’ll definitely be trying to get the ball deep to our fast receivers.”
Palmer isn’t discouraged by the fact that the last head coach, Hue Jackson, was responsible for Palmer’s addition to the team. “There is a sour taste in your mouth how we finished, and then obviously I was close with Hue,” Palmer said. “A lot of guys in that locker room looked up to Hue. But this is a different team now. Reggie and Dennis are making a lot of changes, and it’s exciting.”
It should be exciting (in the real way, not the Tim Tebow crutch-word way). Unless and until those changes include Palmer.
For now, that’s not likely to happen. But Palmer’s ability to adapt to Knapp’s offense ultimately will be a major factor in whether Palmer sticks around.