By Danny Cox
Carson Palmer, QB #3
Weight: 235 lbs.
Hometown: Fresno, CA
The Oakland Raiders have gone through a number of quarterbacks throughout the last decade with not a single one ever really showing the skills needed to direct the silver and black. When Carson Palmer was finally set free by the Cincinnati Bengals, Oakland had gotten the leader they longed for.
Three games into the 2012 season and Palmer already has 879 yards on 80-of-128 passing. He’s thrown five touchdowns and kept interceptions to a minimum with a mere two so far. He also hasn’t fumbled the ball away so he’s leaving the ball in the hands of the Raiders’ offense and that is just what they need.
In the opening game of the season, Oakland stayed on track with San Diego and came up just short of tying the game to head into overtime. Week Two saw the Raiders destroyed by running back Reggie Bush and the Miami Dolphins. It looked as if the silver and black were heading for an 0-3 start as Pittsburgh was coming to town.
That was when Palmer stepped up his game with performance that only garnered him 209 yards passing, but three big touchdowns. One of those touchdowns came in the fourth quarter to wide receiver Denarius Moore and helped the Raiders cut a late 10-point deficit en route to their first win of the season.
What everyone needs to remember though is that none of this would have happened for Oakland had Palmer not finally been able to break free from the Bengals.
After the end of the 2010 season, Cincinnati was sitting with a 4-12 record which included a 10-game losing streak. With that, Palmer requested a trade from the team and he was quickly refused by Bengals’ president Mike Brown.
Palmer was stuck with the choice to play out his contract for Cincinnati or retire.
Even deep into the 2011 season and with Andy Dalton at the Bengals’ helm, Palmer sat. Eventually though, the Raiders reached out to the Bengals after losing quarterback Jason Campbell to injury and offered up enough to get Palmer out of orange and black into silver and black.
At USC, he wasn’t the most enigmatic and exciting quarterback as his three seasons for the Trojans just seemed kind of…there. It wasn’t until his senior season that he broke out with almost 4,000 yards and 33 touchdowns. That’s not to mention the small amount of 10 interceptions he threw as opposed to the 33 he had thrown in his first three years.
Later that year, he helped the Trojans destroy Iowa, and set multiple records that year. With these stats behind him, Palmer was a first-team All-Pac-10 selection and chosen as a first-team All-American.
Carson Palmer had a good start to his career in Cincinnati and showed that he was well worth being chosen as the number one overall NFL draft pick in 2003. As the way things sometimes happen in Cincinnati, his time with the Bengals simply came to a point when it needed to end. After much controversy and an almost early end to his NFL career, Palmer landed in Oakland and has seen his talents revitalized.
The Raiders have built a good team over the years, and Palmer has a number of offensive weapons at his disposal. With his skills and leadership, Oakland can very well contend in the AFC West and that victory over the Steelers proves it.
For more Local Football Bloggers and the latest Raiders news see CBS Sports San Francisco.
Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. His work can be found on Examiner.com.