Carson Palmer lined up his 15-foot putt on the eight hole.
Carson’s phone vibrates, he fishes it out of his pocket, reads the text. Carson drops his putter, runs his 5.6 second 40-yard dash to the golf cart and speeds toward the clubhouse.
“Carson! Where are you going?!” T.J. Houshmandzadeh yells.
“I gotta get to the gym!!”
Let’s hope it didn’t go down like that way and the reports are true that Carson Palmer is in good shape. The Raiders have traded a 2012 first-round pick, and a second-round pick that could be a first for the “retired” Bengals quarterback who hasn’t played a snap of football since January.
The Raiders are taking heat for the deal. They gave up a lot, no question, in one of the biggest trade deadline deals in NFL history: potentially two first rounders for a quarterback who hasn’t played at a Pro Bowl level since 2006. He did throw for 4,000 yards last year and 26 TDS, but also 20 interceptions. The Raiders have virtually no draft picks next year, minus a fifth and sixth round pick (and the compensatory picks for Nnamdi, Miller, and Gallery). It’s a roll of the dice. One thing is for sure; Hue Jackson and the Raiders have made a clear, loud statement: Just Win NOW, Baby.
The Raiders are two games over .500 at 4-2 for the first time since 2002. They are playing good football, with the best rushing attack in the league and an improving defense. The Raiders are in a winnable division, with Kansas City and Denver struggling, it’s a two-team race with San Diego. When Jason Campbell went down with a broken collarbone, the Raiders playoff chances took a big hit as well.
With Palmer coming in, the Raiders have a veteran, experienced signal caller with a strong arm. He played with Hue Jackson when Jackson was the wide receivers coach in Cincinnati. But Palmer won’t be asked to throw the ball 45 times a game. He can stretch the field with the deep ball and prevent defenses from loading the box like they would against Kyle Boller. Safeties will have to respect his arm, and can make them pay if they creep toward the line of scrimmage.
Carson Palmer will be motivated. He wants to prove Bengals owner Mike Brown wrong and prove he can still play at a high level. He has plenty of weapons at his disposal in Oakland: A group of fast, young, explosive wide outs, one of the best running backs in the game, a reliable tight, and an offensive line that is top five in the league in sacks allowed. The table is set for him to perform at a high level.
The Raiders weren’t going to win with Kyle Boller. Lost in all this, perhaps, is the lesson that it’s important to invest in a good backup quarterback.
Does Carson Palmer automatically stamp the Raiders ticket to the Super Bowl? Absolutely not. Did they mortgage part of their future with a roll of the dice? Definitely. Does Carson Palmer give them the best chance to win RIGHT NOW given the options available? YES. After rotting in the AFC basement the last nine years, I think Raider Nation are glad they are taking that chance. I know I am.