As the Oakland Raiders look forward to the regular season, they’re probably hoping to forget the preseason. While the games don’t count, I can’t imagine it feels good to drop three out of four games. And it can’t be great to be a quarterback who didn’t even throw a touchdown.
Carson Palmer threw four interceptions in three games, which tied for most in preseason. But he wasn’t alone in less-than-spectacular preseason play. Philip Rivers, who’s considered a top ten quarterback in the league, also threw four picks and future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning was right behind them with three.
Now everyone knows you can’t judge a quarterback on what he does in the preseason because the games don’t count. Plus, a rocky preseason doesn’t necessarily mean the regular season will be more of the same. Just look at New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning. He had zero touchdowns and two interceptions during the 2011 preseason, and he ended up leading his team to the Super Bowl and was the game’s MVP.
I’m not suggesting Palmer is the same caliber quarterback as Manning, but he’s still a capable veteran and Oakland’s best option. We also need to remember that Palmer is going through his first season with a new offense, and he’s been without two of his main targets, Denarius Moore and Jacoby Ford, who have missed most of the preseason with injuries. Palmer even expressed his concerns during an interview posted on the Raiders website.
“We need a ton of work together,” Palmer said after a practice last week. “When they’re back, it’s not easy to get off the couch or get out of a boot or off of crutches or whatever it may be and just show up and play.”
He still has Darren McFadden to hand the ball off to, but it’s going to take time to work out the kinks and get into a groove. So I’m going to give Palmer the benefit of the doubt and hope he can lead Oakland to victory when they open the regular season at home against the San Diego Chargers in front of a Monday Night audience.