ALAMEDA -- Carson Palmer has more than an inkling as to the reception he'll receive at Paul Brown Stadium this weekend."I have a pretty good feeling how thats going to go," Palmer said Monday with a sly, knowing smile. "Well wait and see Sunday at 1."Yes, the boo birds will be wearing Bengals stripes in Cincinnati, what with the No. 1 overall pick of the 2003 NFL draft's messy exit from the Queen City. After essentially "retiring" following eight star-crossed seasons for the Bengals and a contract dispute, Palmer came to Oakland in the Hue Jackson-orchestrated trade that eventually cost the Raiders a first-round pick and a second-rounder.Asked if his stance on how things ended in Cincinnati had changed, Palmer took the high road, so to speak."Im not going to dive back into that," he said. "To me this is three seasons later, two seasons later. That was in the past. Im here now. I dont want to dive into that."No regrets, then?"No regrets," he said.Still"Im excited," Palmer said. "You spend a certain amount of time somewhere its always a little bit different going back. More importantly we have to get a win. Its been a rough environment. Any time you lose its a rough environment. Having lost a couple, we've got to get back on a winning track."Its a good opportunity to go on the road, go on a long trip and kind of break that spell weve had for a while and get a win, get back in the win column and move on."Indeed, Palmer has enough on his plate with the Raiders riding a three-game losing streak, sitting at 3-7 heading to Cincinnati and Raiders owner Mark Davis letting his displeasure known about the team's "regression" following Sunday's 38-17 loss to New Orleans."I think in some areas we have (regressed)," Palmer said. "I think in some areas we made improvements. I think consistency has been our biggest Achilles heel. Weve put together great plays or a great quarter or a great half on every side of the ball. But (not) consistently doing it."The teams that win consistently in this league play consistently well four quarters of the game. Thats something we havent done. Thats something we need to continue to work on."He gets to work on it now in front of a crowd that used to adore him but now, probably abhors him.
PHOENIX – Raiders quarterback Derek Carr’s rehab from a broken fibula has been smooth and steady. He had surgery to repair a bone broken in a Week 16 victory over Indianapolis, an injury that essentially killed hopes of a Raiders division, conference or league championship.
Carr’s return to health progressed through the winter, leaving him ready to start playing football again soon.
Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie said at this week’s NFL owners meetings that Carr should be a full participant in offseason activities. The offseason program begins April 17, with a few weeks of strength and conditioning.
The first set of OTAs starts on May 22, and Carr is expected to participate fully in those workouts. There are 12 OTAs followed by a three-day mandatory minicamp that ends June 15.
Barring a setback, the Raiders won’t pull the reins on Carr’s participation during that stretch.
“I don’t think there’s any reason to take it easy,” head coach Jack Del Rio said. “He’s fired up. I got to see him working out with the trainers last week before we came down (to Phoenix). He’s doing well. I think he’s really excited about where it is and how the rehab is going. We expect to have him for all the OTAs and everything.”
PHOENIX – Jack Del Rio is an East Bay guy. The Castro Valley native and Hayward High product went to Raiders games as a child, and knows too well how loud Oakland Coliseum crowds can be. He helped create that home-field advantage decades ago, and appreciates it now as Raiders head coach.
The Black Hole and surrounding supporters were felt in losing seasons but last year especially, when the Raiders went 12-4 and won several games in dramatic fashion.
While the Raiders are currently sold out of season tickets for 2017, there’s some question about how the fans will react after owners approved relocation to Las Vegas on Monday morning. The Raiders plan to play in Oakland the next two seasons – they have team options on the Oakland Coliseum for 2017 and 2018 -- and would like to play there again in 2019 until a Vegas stadium is completed in 2020.
Will there be a bunch of empty seats? Will there be protests outside the stadium? Or will the opportunity to see a team with championship aspirations keep fans coming?
That remains uncertain, though Del Rio believes Raiders fans will continue supporting their club.
“I can’t answer that definitively, but I would say I doubt it,” Del Rio said Tuesday at the NFL owners meetings. “I think we have to play well and earn it. That’s where it starts. I’m banking on us doing well. If we do well enough, people will be excited to watch us."
Raiders owner Mark Davis has offered refunds to fans jilted by the move out of town, though those requests weren’t immediately high. There’s also a waiting list to buy season tickets if they become available.
There will be fans turned off after all this, and Raiders brass doesn't fault them for it.
“There is that element where a certain number where they’re disappointed to the point they won’t support us anymore. That’s understandable,” Del Rio said. “We’ll have to see what that number is. If it’s a lot, we’ll adjust that line of thinking. But I would be surprised if that’s the case.”
Raiders fans are unique, and have shown a willingness to travel for games regardless of record.
“We have some real diehards,” Del Rio said. “We draw globally. I’m sure there will be some who are angry and can’t get over it; that’s understandable. I think there will be a large contingent who are true Raiders fans, and it really doesn’t matter where they’re playing. They’re there and they’re fired up.”