Palmer calls Raiders debut learning experience
AP Sports Writer
ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) – As bad as Carson Palmer’s three-interception debut with the Oakland Raiders looked, he views it as a valuable teaching tool.
Palmer took the field Tuesday for his first practice since that debacle to start what promises to be a learning-intensive bye week.
Palmer had just three practices with the Raiders before making his debut in Sunday’s 28-0 loss to Kansas City. So the task this week will be to learn the offense, build a rapport on and off the field with his receivers and get back into football shape after more than nine months away from the game.
“This bye week may be the most valuable to me of anybody in the league, other than a guy who is really hurt or nursing a serious injury,” Palmer said.
That’s because Palmer arrived in Oakland just a week ago after spending training camp and the first six weeks of the season in retirement at home in Southern California. That ended when Jason Campbell broke his collarbone and the Raiders traded a 2012 first-round pick and a conditional second-rounder in 2013 to Cincinnati for Palmer.
Palmer got about 20 percent of the first-team snaps during the week before being sent in to replace Kyle Boller in the third quarter against the Chiefs with the Raiders trailing 21-0. Palmer completed his first pass in more than nine months but there wasn’t much positive.
He finished 8 of 21 for 116 yards and threw three interceptions, including one that Brandon Flowers returned for a touchdown. 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.
“It was kind of like a preseason game just to get my feet wet, call a play in the huddle, throw a ball in live action and make errors and make mistakes,” he said. “It’s much easier to learn from a mistake or an error than it is to learn from doing it right. … It’s always a negative thing to lose and lose the way we did. But I think there’s a lot more good than people outside this building would recognize that we’ll learn from and improve on and move on from.”
The to-do list for Palmer is extensive, starting with learning protections and terminology, calling plays in the huddle, working on snap counts, reading defenses, changing plays and getting a feel for the skill position players.
When all of that is done, Palmer can start preparing for the next game against Denver on Nov. 6, which the Raiders hope will be a much more successful day than his debut was.
“I put him in a very tough situation, but it was a situation he was willing to go in and compete in,” coach Hue Jackson said. “I understood what the situation was. I knew that those things could happen. I knew it could go really well. I knew it could go really bad, and obviously it went the latter. We don’t want that to happen again. That’s why we’re out here practicing like we’re practicing. We’re going to get ourselves ready to play big-time football the way we know how to play.”
The Raiders will practice once again on Wednesday before taking four days off as mandated by the collective bargaining agreement. While coaches can’t be involved, it does not mean a vacation for the players.
Palmer and the skill position players are planning to stay in town all weekend. Palmer is planning throwing drills with his receivers, as well as film study to make up for all that lost time.
Palmer said he appreciates the commitment from his teammates, who are giving up a few off days for this process.
“These guys are hungry and know that there’s a big difference between good and great and these guys want to be great,” Palmer said. “They know it’s not easy and takes a lot of hard work and it just shows a tremendous amount of respect for the game and hunger to get better and hunger to be good.”
Notes: The Raiders waived K Dave Rayner, who had one kickoff in his only game in place of injured Sebastian Janikowski. … Jackson said tests on RB Darren McFadden’s sprained right foot showed no structural damage. … FB Marcel Reece was back for the first time since spraining an ankle against the Jets on Sept. 25. … Jackson said backup OL Bruce Campbell is moving from guard to tackle.