Let’s talk about this whole thing for just a moment. This has got to be arguably the most controversial mid-season trade ever. The thought of giving up not one but two first round picks seems ludicrous to me. I’m pretty sure it sounds ludicrous to a lot of people. He’s 31 and coming off the two worst seasons of his career and hasn’t played in damn near a year. And we throw two first rounders out for him? Well, let’s look at what we really have here now that he’s started 2 consecutive games for us. All I’ve been hearing for the past couple weeks has been “6 picks in 6 quarters!” Fuck off. Those first three were thrown after coming in unexpectedly to try and salvage another Boller train wreck after being with the team for only 5 days. The very next game it was very obvious that he still had not had enough time to get on the same page as the receivers. Overthrows on hook routes and expecting a short route and underthrowing his receivers on fly routes. It was painfully obvious, but Hue played him regardless because Boller fucking blows and he thought Palmer at least gave us a small boost in the odds. Despite those key miscues vs the Broncos he looked fantastic. He was threading the ball into tight spaces when he was in sync with his receivers. I pin at least 90% of that loss on the pathetic linebacker play that day. Curry and Blackstock looked like they had no clue what to do against the Broncos’ retarded zone read scheme. I’ll give you a clue fellas, it’s gonna be a run. That’s another story though.
This past Thursday the Raiders I knew we could be this season stepped up and they stepped up big. It is 100% apparent that Palmer has been working his ass off with his young, talented receiving corps as well as studying the playbook like crazy. The Carson Palmer that showed up Thursday in San Diego was the Carson Palmer that led the Bengals to 2 playoff berths in 2005 and 2008. He is a very intelligent man and a freakish athlete and I have every confidence that this man can carry us through the playoffs should that situation arise. His accuracy on his deep passes to Moore and Ford was shocking. He completed more deep passes in that game than Jason Campbell has during his entire tenure with the Raiders, however brief. As much as I hated to see it happen to Jason, as he was playing some of the best ball of his career before he got injured, Palmer finally gives us the deep accuracy that we greatly needed to bring back the vertical passing game, just the way Al designed it, and to truly utilize the weapons we have in Jacoby Ford, Darrius Heyward-Bey, and Denarius Moore. The only area I see that he still needs to improve upon is his awareness in the pocket.
He only got hit twice by the Chargers, but that was enough to cause a fumble resulting in a turnover. I would have excused that one had the blitz come from his blind side but it was coming straight at him. His awareness should get better as he shakes off a little more rust. He hit 14 for 20 for crying out loud! If you’re not good at math that’s a 70% completion ratio! He walked off the field with a 125 passer rating even with a pick! There aren’t many QB’s in the league who post those kinds of numbers. Our schedule from this point out just gets harder, so we’ll really get a chance to see how he performs under pressure.
Another key point to note here too is the criticism Palmer has taken for basically walking out on his commitment to the Cincinnati Bengals. The way I look at it is this: That entire organization is a non-stop drama fest. During the years he played for them he had to put up with the likes of Chad Ochocinco and Terell Owens, not to mention Marv Lewis’ shitty, cheap -ass attitude. I compare it to a period of time in my life when I felt stuck. We’ve all been there. Stuck in a shitty relationship, a crappy job, etc. You just don’t want to be there or perform for that person or organization anymore and it’s no good for either party involved. Then, once you finally manage to break free it’s like starting a whole new life. Everything is new, shiny, and exciting again. I believe Palmer is in this afterglow stage right now. He’s recently freed from a horrible marriage and he’s ready to move on. He’s excited as hell to be out of his contract and playing for a team that actually wants him. There are no concerns from me about his commitment or loyalty at this point. He’s a SoCal boy and has been his entire life. He knows what it means to make a commitment to the Silver & Black, and he respects it.