Carson Palmer was intrinsically linked to Hue Jackson, what with the former Raiders coach engineering the trade-deadline deal that brought the two-time Pro Bowl quarterback to Oakland from Cincinnati.But with Jackson now excised from the picture, where does that leave Palmer, who was acquired for a first-round draft pick this April and a conditional second-rounder in 2013?Palmer has not replied to messages.But new general manager Reggie McKenzie said in his Tuesday introductory media conference that Palmer will return -- he still has three years remaining on his reported 7.5-million guaranteed contract, with 5 million of the 12.5 million due him in 2012 guaranteed -- but added that the gig was not a given."Competition will be at every position," McKenzie said. "No one is going to have a job handed to them. You don't get better that way."We'll find good players to compete with the good players that we have, every day. So, Carson Palmer will not be immune to a good player behind him pushing him. That's how you get better."Jackson's departure, along with McKenzie's words, also potentially leaves open the door for Jason Campbell to return, seeing as how Jackson would not have wanted a potential distraction with a QB controversy. After all, Palmer was Jackson's guy after Campbell went down with a broken right collarbone on Oct. 16.And Campbell, who would no doubt have backing from the likes of receiversgroomsmen Jacoby Ford and Louis Murphy, has said all along that he considers himself a starter. Still, Campbell is a looming free agent and Palmer is under contract.Then there's Green Bay backup Matt Flynn, who threw for 480 yards and six touchdowns with an interception on 31 of 44 passing in the Packers' 45-41 defeat of Detroit in Week 17. Flynn will also be a free agent and McKenzie, the former Packers director of football operations, has already gone on record as saying he wants "his" guys in the house when talking about firing Jackson.Of course, this is all before McKenzie hires a head coach, though he was asked his thoughts on the mega-trade for the semi-retired Palmer, who came off his couch to start nine games for the Raiders.McKenzie smiled."No. 1, as a personnel guy, I love my picks," he said. "More, I love good players. Now, bringing in Carson at the time the Raiders brought him in, to me, as a player, that's a good move. You have to get players that can help you win games. Now, did the position of the situation present itself favorably for Cincinnati? Absolutely. But you do what you have to do. That's just the way it is, the cost of doing business."You're trying to help your team win. You can't put parameters from a standpoint of knowing the possibility was not as good, on the other hand. But as far as Carson Palmer is concerned, I think he's a good quarterback. Period."In extrapolating his stats from his nine starts over a full 16-game season and they come out to 4,688 passing yards with 23 touchdowns and 23 interceptions on a 62.6 percent completion rate. His 417 passing yards in the season finale against San Diego were the third-most in franchise history.Still, owner Mark Davis admitted he might have had second thoughts about the dealbut would do it all again."Yeah, I probably would," Davis said. "Again, I signed off on that deal. It wouldn't have happened without Hue Jackson because, first off, (Carson) wasn't on my mind."The injury to Jason happened, my father's funeral was the next day, then the trading deadline was at 1 o'clock the next day. So the timing and everythingHue got it going and everything and then came to me and said, 'I can do it, we can get this done.'"The Bengals had initially said they would never trade Palmer."The price was high," Davis added. "And Ken Herock came in and helped a little bit in the negotiations on that, and got the price (down), at least if we don't get to the (AFC) championship game it's down to a second-round draft pick. And if Ken would've had about three more hours, they probably would've been giving us draft choices and say, 'Take the guy.'"Davis laughed."But I definitely signed off on that and I still sign off," he said. "I like Carson Palmer, I really do. And I think with Darren McFadden and some of those receivers that were hurt -- his receivers were hurt a lot -- I think he's got a chance to be pretty good."Even in Oakland. Even in 2012. At least, for now.
SARASOTA, Fla. – The Raiders were certainly happy they beat the Jacksonville Jaguars into submission. They jumped out to a strong halftime lead, played smart complimentary football and, at 33-16, ended up with a large margin of victory.
All, however, was not right with the world.
Derek Carr lamented settling for too many field goals. Latavius Murray wanted more efficiency from his runs. Defensive players saw progress in several deficient areas, still seeking greater cohesion and consistency.
Sunday’s big victory over lowly Jacksonville was not a sign they've arrived. It was proof these Raiders remain a work in progress.
Records normally suffer with much to correct. These Raiders are 5-2, and feel better football’s ahead.
“That’s what is great about this team is that we haven’t played our best yet,” Murray said. “That’s a good feeling moving forward, knowing there are things you can get better at and you’re still 5-2.”
Winning while fixing things; that’s a coach’s dream. It’s also easier when players know it, that egos don’t expand and confidence doesn’t become arrogance.
“I like that part. I like the fact that we recognize it,” Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said. “I’m certainly going to point it out. There are things that we have to do better. I think it’s healthy.
“You should enjoy the wins. You should feel good about the success. Take pride in it. We worked hard for it, but to have a healthy respect for what’s coming and the need to play better and the need to continue to grow as a football team as we go throughout the year. That’s a mature way to look at it, and I’m very pleased about that with a younger team.”
The Raiders are a confident bunch and have survived several games on guts, guile and turnovers -- a recipe for success with inconsistent production.
The Raiders defense believes it made strides in the Jaguars win, though there’s significant work remaining to be a decent defense. With the offense rolling, that’s all the Raiders need to be a top team. Defenders aren’t striving for decent. They want more, and believe that realizing potential could put them in position for a playoff push.
“This team has so much talent, with good coaches and good players,” cornerback David Amerson said. “The sky’s the limit. Once we all start clicking, we can go out there and beat teams 30-0. Once we get to that point, that’s when we can look towards the playoffs and things like that. We have just as much talent as any team in the league.”
DENVER -- The Denver Broncos ruined Brock Osweiler's homecoming Monday night, incessantly hurrying, hitting and harassing their former teammate in a 27-9 win over his Houston Texans.
Coach Gary Kubiak returned to the sideline following his second health scare in three years, and he had to like what he saw as the Broncos (5-2) snapped a two-game skid in sending the overwhelmed Texans home at 4-3.
But the big story was Trevor Siemian, Peyton Manning's surprise successor, outplaying Osweiler, who was groomed to be Denver's next QB but instead bolted to Houston in free agency.
Osweiler left for bigger numbers in Texas - both in his bank account and his stat sheet - but he spent this night quickly getting rid of the ball, constantly overthrowing DeAndre Hopkins in double coverage and otherwise running for his life from Von Miller & Co.
Although he avoided sacks, Osweiler was just 22 for 41 for 131 yards with no TDs and no interceptions. Siemian was 14 of 25 for 157 yards, a TD and no interceptions.
Osweiler's fumble at his own 25-yard line was scooped up by Chris Harris Jr. on the first play of the fourth quarter. That led to Brandon McManus' chip-shot field goal that made it 24-9 and snuffed out Houston's hopes of a comeback.
Anderson scored on a 7-yard run and Siemian hit Demaryius Thomas from 4 yards out as the Broncos took a 14-6 halftime lead.
Kubiak missed Denver's last game when doctors ordered him to take a week off after he was transported via ambulance to the hospital following Denver's last home game, on Oct. 9, with a complex migraine condition, which can mimic a stroke. Kubiak had a mini-stroke in 2013 while coaching the Texans.
Like Osweiler, this was his first game against his former team.
STREAK BREAKER: Denver's dazzling defense is a real dawdler , having allowed scores on five of six opening drives coming into the game. That didn't stop them from deferring when they won the toss. The Texans went three and out on their first two possessions, the first time all season the Broncos hadn't allowed points on their first two defensive series.
OH NO, OKUNG: Broncos left tackle Russell Okung cleared concussion protocol to make the start. But he was rusty a week after his pair of penalties resulted in a nullified touchdown and a safety in a 21-13 loss at San Diego. This time, he was whistled for a pair of holds that negated a nifty first-down run by Booker and a 28-yard grab by Thomas.
INJURIES: Texans right tackle Derek Newton was carted off the field with what looked like serious injuries to both knees in the first half. He crumpled to the grass while blocking Miller. Newton was dropping back to pass block midway through the first quarter when his left knee buckled first and then his right knee gave way. For Denver, linebackers Brandon Marshall (leg) and Dekoda Watson (head) left in the second half.
RING OF FAME: The Broncos honored former safety John Lynch, linebacker Simon Fletcher and kicker Jason Elam by inducting them into their Ring of Fame during halftime ceremonies. Lynch, who played in Denver from 2004-07 after 11 seasons in Tampa Bay, will be inducted into the Buccaneers' Ring of Honor next month.