ALAMEDA (CBS / AP) — The Oakland Raiders’ bye week is coming at just the right time.
With new quarterback Carson Palmer still trying to shake off the rust and learn a new offense and new teammates and star running Darren McFadden and other key players nursing injuries, the Raiders can sure use this time to regroup from a 28-0 loss to Kansas City and get back on track with two big division games on the horizon.
The focus this week will be on getting Palmer up to speed with the offense in time to take over the starting role Nov. 6 against Denver. He threw three second-half interceptions in Sunday’s loss, just five days after ending his retirement to join the Raiders in a trade from Cincinnati.
“This is something that I definitely think we need,” receiver Jacoby Ford said. “We’re going to have to work hard and get good with him. Just to get the timing down and be here with him.”
While bye weeks are often used to rest the body and refresh the mind, the Raiders have plenty of work planned for the week in order to get Palmer acclimated. They will hold practices on Tuesday and Wednesday before taking an NFL-mandated four days off.
But instead of leaving town for the weekend, the receivers, tight ends and running backs are all planning to stick around to get some informal work in with Palmer.
“We know we need to be here, and we’re going to be here,” receiver Derek Hagan said. “For us to get on the same page and get this thing clicking again, it’s obviously going to take more of an effort from us to put more time in just to make sure we’re doing those little things right.”
Palmer was sitting at home a week ago as the Raiders were figuring out how to move on after losing starting quarterback Jason Campbell to a broken collarbone. Oakland ended up trading for Palmer, sending a 2012 first-round pick and a conditional second-rounder in 2013 to Cincinnati.
Palmer had his first practice in more than nine months on Wednesday and got about 20 percent of the first-team snaps during the week before replacing an ineffective Kyle Boller in the third quarter against the Chiefs.
Palmer completed his first pass, but mostly struggled. He finished 8-for-21 for 116 yards and threw three interceptions, including one that Brandon Flowers returned for a touchdown.
“That was kind of like a preseason game for him, because obviously he hadn’t played in a game in quite a while,” coach Hue Jackson said. “I think it was very beneficial and will serve us well as we continue to move forward.”
Palmer finished with his third-worst completion percentage, tied for his second-most interceptions and his 17.3 passer rating was the second lowest of his career.
He has quite a bit of work to do to get back to the level of play the Raiders are expecting, but Palmer believes that with the bye he can do it in time for the next game.
“Two weeks is enough time to be where I need to be, and I’m going to get everything I can out of these guys,” he said. “I understand that it’s a bye week for these young receivers, and it’s time to get away a little bit, just let your mind go somewhere else because hopefully there’s a long road ahead of us. But it’s also time to get some work done, get that timing and rhythm and get going.”
McFadden won’t be partaking in this week’s workouts. The NFL’s leading rusher entering the game managed just two carries for 4 yards and one short reception before leaving after the second drive with a sprained right foot. McFadden was on crutches and had a walking boot Monday. Jackson said the plan was to rest McFadden this week anyway.
“We’re going to have the foot looked at and make sure structurally that it’s OK,” Jackson said. “We’ll take a great look at it as we go through this week. I’m hoping to get him back soon.”
Even though backup Michael Bush gained 99 yards on 17 carries in McFadden’s place, the Raiders can ill afford to be without their most dynamic offensive player if they want to compete in the AFC West.
Middle linebacker Rolando McClain, who has been nursing a sprained left ankle the past few weeks, left the game for a stretch and was visibly limping when he returned. He also had on a walking boot Monday.
Tight end Kevin Boss also was knocked out with a concussion and safety Matt Giordano had neck spasms. The Raiders hope the time off will help all of those players heal, as well as cornerbacks Chris Johnson (groin, hamstring) and Chimdi Chekwa (hamstring), fullback Marcel Reece (ankle) and kicker Sebastian Janikowski (left hamstring).
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