Why We Shouldn’t Be Blaming Carson Palmer for the Raiders Struggles


Oct 14, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer (3) drops back to pass against the Atlanta Falcons during the second half at the Georgia Dome. The Falcons defeated the Raiders 23-20. Mandatory Credit: Josh D. Weiss-US PRESSWIRE

With no doubt in my mind, I think Carson Palmer has been good throughout this year as the quarterback of the Raiders. Most believe at this point of his career, where he is at a fairly old age of 32, that he is “washed up” and simply not even a serviceable quarterback anymore.

I will be one of the first to admit that I am a Carson Palmer apologist. And I will also admit that there has been moments where he hasn’t looked particularly sharp this season. But I see bad reads and throws into coverage from every QB. He is not a perfect, outstanding quarterback. He has been good though, and I would be thoroughly convinced that you have not sat down and watched an entire Raider’s game this season if you believe that he is the one to point the finger at.

First things first I want to mention that Oakland’s defense has been atrocious. It is a struggling defense that has not found an answer to contain the run or the pass attack. They rank 18th so far this year in run defense, and 25th in pass defense. They are giving up about 30 points a game right now, and it feels like there is almost always a blown coverage or confusion in the secondary. Not to mention that their defensive line has been nearly invisible this year. Besides week six, when Oakland took on the Falcons at the Georgia Dome where the Raiders surprisingly did a lot of things right, opposing quarterbacks have had all day in the pocket. This can lead to absolute disaster for the defense. Almost every QB in this league can tear a defense into pieces if the line cannot find a way to inflict some pressure.

The Raiders are riddled by injury and overall depth problems at the cornerback position. Starters Ronald Bartell (Shoulder) who is placed on the IR and Shawntae Spencer (Foot) is ruled out once again for week seven against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Free safety Michael Huff has bumped down and been filling in at the corner back position. Matt Giordano has been playing free safety in replacement of Huff. Backup cornerbacks Pat Lee and Joselio Hanson have switched off depending on the formation and have been filling in as well.

Another reason why the Raiders have struggled this year is because of the offensive line. Just watch the highlights of Carson Palmer’s passes and look at the chaos around him. His offensive line is not providing a clean pocket. There are constantly bodies surrounding him, crossing his vision, causing duress, rushing his throws. The offensive line has equally struggled with run blocking as well as pass protection.

Even worse, Darren McFadden, who has been outstanding in previous years is averaging just three yards per carry. He has a total of 271 yards on the ground on 84 attempts. The Raiders are ranked 28th in rush offense at this point. McFadden had 614 yards on the ground on 113 attempts through seven games last year, averaging about five yards per carry. He needs to get going, or the passing game for Carson Palmer and company is going to continue to struggle. Carson Palmer is at best when he is a play action quarterback. Without a solid run game it’s extremely difficult to set up the play action.

The great parts of Carson Palmer starts with the intangibles he brings to the table. He is a veteran player who has been in the NFL for ten years now. He brings a significant amount of leadership to this football team. Palmer is a true professional and works very hard. He is liked by his teammates and has a strong approach to the game. He has thrown for 1,434 yards this season with six touchdown passes through five games. He is completing 62 percent of his passes, which is a very solid number. He has turned the ball over five times this year, with three interceptions and two fumbles.

These are good numbers from Carson Palmer. In fact, statistically, you can argue that Carson Palmer is having one of his better years in the NFL. It’s just a shame that he has to be the main scapegoat to the Raiders’ problems.