Raiders key matchup No. 3: Palmer vs. Barber

Raiders key matchup No. 3: Palmer vs. Barber
November 2, 2012, 4:09 pm
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EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the first part in a series that spotlights three Raiders-Buccaneers matchups to watch Sunday, 1:05 p.m. (Fox), at O.co Coliseum.Raiders QB Carson Palmer vs. Buccaneers FS Ronde BarberTale of the tape
Palmer (3): 6-foot-5, 235 pounds, 10th season, USC
Barber (20): 5-foot-10, 184 pounds, 16th season, VirginiaALAMEDA -- At 32 years old, Carson Palmer is seen as an elder statesman, of sorts, in the NFL.Then again, Palmer was a high school senior when Ronde Barber was playing his rookie NFL season, in 1997.RELATED: Ageless Barber keeps on keeping on
Welcome to Sunday's Battle for the Ages, er, Aged. The two have a combined 26 seasons of pro football experience and seven Pro Bowl selections. That both are figurative old dogs learning new tricks -- Palmer is in a West Coast offense for the first time in his career while Barber has made the switch from cornerback to free safety -- makes this matchup all the more intriguing, but not necessarily more fun.
"Enjoy is definitely not the right word," Palmer said of facing Barber. "Ive played against him a handful of times over the years, and nickel, dime, safety, wherever he is, I looked at his age today and hes 37 years old. But he absolutely flashes on film."He makes plays, hes great in coverage. He makes a couple of unbelievable interceptions off tipped balls. Hell come up and tackle Adrian Peterson and stuff him. Hes everywhere. He makes plays. Hes playing as good a football as Ive seen him play."You could say the same of Palmer, who is on pace to to pass for a career-high 4,436 yards with a career-low-for-16-games 11 interceptions. And his current passer rating of 85.7 would be his best since 2007.Seems both Palmer and Barber, who already has three interceptions, are enjoying renaissance-type seasons."Im sure he was at the point in his career where he knew the defense inside and out," Palmer said of Barber. "Probably didnt look at the playbook very much. Now, with a new defensive coordinator, new calls, new position, Im sure it is energizing for him. I know Ive gone through a similar thing, but you cant tell. It doesnt look like its his first year playing safety."Palmer, meanwhile, has started 16 games for the Raiders now since being acquired from the Cincinnati Bengals last October. His numbers in those 16 starts: 4,578 yards on 353-of-576 passing (61.3 percent) with 22 touchdowns and 18 interceptions.The 4,578 passing yards are obviously more than Palmer's had in any single season, eclipsing the 4,131 yards he passed for in 2007."The few times I faced him when he was in Cincinnati you would always prepare for him like hes the true pro," Barber said of Palmer. "He understands where to deliver the football. If you give him certain looks hes going to make the right reads. You've got to expect that out of him. Hes not one to make many mistakes. Obviously, were going to do our best to try to force him into them."In two career games against Barber and the Buccaneers, Palmer is 2-0 with 470 yards passing with three TDs and three INTs."Hes a 10-year guy now so theres not much that he, like me, hasnt seen," Barber said. "Were going to have to be on our details, finish our preparation this week and see if we can pick up anything on him. If we do, well try to exploit them."