Carson Palmer 'just warming up'


Carson Palmer 'just warming up'

SAN DIEGO -- This is the quarterback for whom Hue Jackson surrendered a potential pair of first-round draft picks.Because with all due respect to the late Curt Hennig, Carson Palmer was the Raiders' Mr. Perfect in the third quarter of Oakland's 24-17 defeat of San Diego. At least, so said his passer rating.With pinpoint passing precision -- at one point, Palmer was 10 of 12 for 250 yards and two touchdowns -- Palmer showed Raiders fans why Jackson wanted him so badly (he finished 14 of 20 for 299 yards with an interception and a 125.0 rating)That he carved up the Chargers yet again, showed that he might have become the best QB in the AFC West after just two starts as a member of the Raiders.Consider: in four career starts against San Diego, Palmer has completed 88 of 123 attempts (71.6 percent) with 11 TDs and two interceptions.RELATED: Where does Carson Palmer rank?
And oh yeah, he gets the Chargers again in the season finale at the Coliseum in what could be for the division title.But perhaps most impressive, Palmer running a pseudo-no huddle offense without the benefit of the plays on his wrist."Long days and long nights," Palmer said, when asked to describe his short tenure with the Raiders since being acquired in a trade deadline deal with Cincinnati. "It's been information overload at times, just trying to get everything in and then whittle it down to an individual gameplan. It's taken me out of my normal routine."It's been tough to watch as much film as I normally do because I've been spending so much more time figuring out formations, protections, routes and where we're trying to get individual players and matchups. It's been a challenge, but it's been a great challenge and I've got a lot of work to do still."Palmer was cast into a potentially uncomfortable situation with his new teammates. Not because he was brought in, but how it went down and with all the accolades that accompanied him. Jackson called it the "greatest trade" in the NFL and offensive coordinator Al Saunders told a Kansas City radio station Palmer "is a real quarterback."Campbell seemed snubbed, even though all involved realized it was and always will be a business.Which is why Palmer, working the room from Day 1 has earned respect."When he first stepped into the building, he was talking to everybody, asking questions, just trying to get to know people, being a leader, being a quarterback," said running back Michael Bush. "That speaks volumes of him and each week he keeps doing the same things and just the small things go a long way with players. He is doing a good job at it."Of course, there are growing pains."Because he is new, sometimes he calls the wrong things every now and then," Bush added. "We tell him it's not right, but it's all around communicating and it starts at practice."He has put us in the wrong play situations, but that's O.K. He is new and we expected that."Who, though, could have expected Palmer executing the offense so well?"We haven't seen the best of him, in my opinion," said coach Hue Jackson. "He's just warming up."

Donald Penn: Raiders players trust McKenzie will add right pieces

Donald Penn: Raiders players trust McKenzie will add right pieces

The Raiders were pretty darn good last season. A 12-4 record proved that point. There was plenty of talent on a team with a penchant for high-wire acts in victory that masked the fact there were holes on the roster.

They need to be filled for the Raiders to improve in 2017, and new players will be imported through free agency and the draft.

Left tackle Donald Penn is excited to see who gets added, but said there’s no doubt talent is coming to Oakland. He speaks for Raiders players, who have faith that general manager Reggie McKenzie will make the right moves.

“Things that Reggie has done in past drafts have been great, and we’re looking forward to seeing what he brings back towards us,” Penn said recently during an in-studio appearance on NFL Network. “We can’t wait to get back out there healthy. We’re ready to hit the football world with a storm.”

While new guys are coming, a few might head out. The Raiders have several unrestricted free agents. Penn wants to keep his guys around – he mentioned running back Latavius Murray by name -- though he has some ideas for McKenzie’s checklist.

The Raiders don’t need much with most key players under contract – the Raiders should be less active in free agency over past offseasons – but a few key components could put this team over the top.

“If we stick to Reggie’s plan, we’ll be great,” Penn said. “I know he’s going to have a great draft, add a couple little pieces here and there – maybe somebody in the secondary to help out a little bit.

"On offense, you could always use a weapon. Maybe we get another receiver to take (pressure off Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper), but we have a good nucleus right now.”

Raiders LT Donald Penn: QB Derek Carr 'almost 100 percent'

Raiders LT Donald Penn: QB Derek Carr 'almost 100 percent'

Derek Carr is on the mend. The Raiders franchise quarterback had surgery to repair his fibula shortly after he broke it in a Week 16 victory over Indianapolis, and is recovering well during the offseason.

Carr insisted on intense rehab this winter in an attempt – however unlikely it may have been – to return should the Raiders have played in the Super Bowl. It slowed to a normal pace after the Raiders' loss at Houston in the postseason’s opening round, but those in contact with him say he’s making strides.

Left tackle Donald Penn was recently in contact with Carr, and provided an update on Monday during an in-studio appearance on NFL Network.

“I texted Derek (a few) days ago checking in,” Penn said, “and he said he’s almost 100 percent.”

Surgically-repaired broken filbulas take significant time to heal, and the Raiders plan to be conservative with their MVP candidate during the offseason. Derek Carr’s brother and NFL Network analyst David Carr, who was on set with Penn on Monday, said Derek could be back for offseason work.

“He’s doing good,” David Carr said. “He’s walking around already, stretching it out. You can’t do a lot for the bone, right? But he’s going to be back. He’s going to get a whole full offseason in. That’s going to be the best part.”