We don’t yet know who the Raiders’ starting quarterback for Sunday’s season finale will be. But we know who it won’t be.
Carson Palmer, who has started all 15 games this season, has been ruled out for Week 17 against the Chargers after suffering cracked ribs and a bruised lung on Sunday against the Panthers.
Raiders coach Dennis Allen says he has not yet decided whether Terrelle Pryor or Matt Leinart will start in Palmer’s place. Considering that the Raiders have nothing to play for, it would seem to make more sense to see what Pryor can do as a starter, with a full week of work with the first-string offense. The Raiders have indicated that they think Pryor could benefit from getting some playing time down the stretch, so if Allen now goes with Leinart, that would be a strong sign that the Raiders haven’t liked what they’ve seen of Pryor in practice and don’t see him ever becoming their starter.
As for Palmer, although he returned from Charlotte on the Raiders’ team plane on Sunday night, he was injured badly enough that he stayed overnight in the hospital after returning to the Bay Area.
“I’ve definitely been better,” Palmer told Paul Gutierrez of CSNBayArea.com in an email today.
Palmer has had a solid season, with 4,018 passing yards, 22 touchdowns and 14 interceptions, but overall the Raiders’ decision to trade for him would have to be viewed as a disappointment: When you trade a first-round pick and a second-round pick for a quarterback in his 30s, you’re hoping he can step in right away and lead you to the playoffs. Instead, the Raiders went 4-5 in games Palmer started last season and are now 4-11 with him this season. It’s still possible that Palmer could find success in the future with the Raiders, but that won’t happen until 2013.