Palmer, Jackson reunited

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Palmer, Jackson reunited

ALAMEDA -- New Raiders QB Carson Palmer and coach Hue Jackson sat together at Raiders headquarters Tuesday afternoon and spoke about the time they've spent together at USC, with the Bengals and outlined their future together in Oakland.

Hue Jackson opening statement
We were able to put together what I think is probably the greatest trade in football, in my opinion. Obviously I think everybody knows that we needed to go out and address our quarterback situation. I told you guys the other day that I was going to continue to search, look, do everything I could to help this football team to become all it can be. That's my job as the head coach and the leader of this team. So, what I set out to do was find the person that I would feel comfortable with, coming in here, helping me lead this football team as we continue to move forward, and giving us the best opportunity to win. And I was very lucky to kind of reach back in my past and grab somebody that I am very familiar with, (that) being Carson. But in order to do that it took a lot of teamwork, it took a lot of cooperation from the Bengals. It took a lot of teamwork here within this Raiders organization to get it done. And again, I want to thank Mark Davis for all he's done.

Jackson on whether Palmer will start on Sunday
You think I'm going to tell you that right now? You know me a little bit better than that. You do try, all you guys try. Nice try. I'm not going to let that out of the bag just yet. But you gotta be ready for anything from me, I think you know that. We'll see as we continue to move through the week exactly where we're at.

Carson Palmer on whether his heart is still in football and the responsibility he feels toward the Raiders
A tremendous burden. I was telling somebody just a little while ago I went to bed last night at 10:30 a retired football player and got a text message at 4 a.m. and was told to get on a plane to Oakland. So, it's been a whirlwind. I understand what's expected of me. I've played in this league for eight years, I know what playing quarterback in this league is about. It's about winning and I want to come in and contribute and do everything I can, whatever I can to help this team.

Palmer on how he gets his mind back to playing football when he was convinced that he was ready to retire
My mind has been in football. It's been a difficult six weeks. Football is what I know, it's It's what I've been doing since I was probably 5,6,7,8-years-old. I've followed the game, I've worked out. I've continued to stay focus on football and keep my mind in football, so I haven't been away from the game. I haven't been playing it for six weeks comparatively speaking to guys that have been on teams but my mind's been in it.
Jackson on the price tag and whether this is a move he would have made had Jason Campbell not been injured
I think you brought up a good point. Obviously, first of all I'd like to take us back to Jason. Obviously Jason was the starting quarterback on this football team and did a fantastic job. It was very unfortunate that he got hurt and had surgery yesterday. he's resting comfortably and we're going to miss him because Jason did so many good things here, not just on this football team but in the community. And then you think of Kyle Boller and what he did just this past week in helping this team get a win. And that's what they are, those guys are pros, and I'm really glad to have had the opportunity to work with Jason, watch what Jason did and how he led this team and we're going to miss him. And we wish him a very speedy recovery and hope he gets back in ability soon. and actually Kyle's gotta go to work tomorrow. He's got some work to do. But as far as the draft picks, what we had to give up to get this young man, I never hesitated because I know exactly what I'm getting. When you go back -- I think you guys know my history with Carson -- obviously I recruited and coached Carson in college and was with him in Cincinnati at the Bengals so I have a long-standing history with him. And I know what we're putting on this football team. I went to Mark (Davis) and Amy (Trask) and said, "hey look, this is the person that I think that we need to add in order to get to where I want to take this organization, being that Jason is not here." Obviously you said, "would this have happened if Jason had been here?" Probably not, no question. I mean, we were moving at a pretty good pace. We're a 4-and-2 football team and we're getting better. And like I said, it was unfortunate that happened but then you have to respond. And I go back to the commitment from the organization, the commitment from Mark, the commitment to our players that my job is to do everything I can to make sure I'm putting us in the best situation to win. And that's what I'm always going to do.

Palmer on his readiness and when did Jackson recruit him harder -- coming out of high school or to come to the Raiders?
If you know Hue and you've been recruited by Hue you know you don't get recruited any harder than by this guy. For the past six weeks I thought I was retired. Before the start of the season I was training like it was a normal offseason for myself, going about my business like I normally would in the offseason. And then Week 1 hit and I thought, "I gotta look elsewhere, I gotta start to find what the next phase of my life may be. Like I said, I got a text late last night and then early this morning saying that this might happen and can you get on a plane? I'm ready to go. I'm excited, I'm honored. I don't know a lot about this organization but I know that it's dedicated to winning. I know the history. I know where this organization has been and where it wants to get back to and I'm excited to be a part of that.

Jackson on what makes him think that Palmer is still the player he had in Cincinnati as opposed to the guy who wasn't quite that good the last few years?
What was the last part? What did you just say? I didn't hear that. This is not about numbers, this is about the person because I know his heart, I know his passion. I know his dedication to the game. I think sometimes, as I told you guys before, the quarterbacks get too much blame. And sometimes they get too much credit. I'm not concerned about Carson's past. I never would be, that doesn't even hit my mind because I know with me and him and the rest of this staff and this football team where we're going to go. And that's the most important thing. What's gone on for Carson in Cincinnati and me, is over. The future's now, the time is now, and that's what I'm worried about.

Jackson on what did Mr. Davis share with you about Carson Palmer as a quarterback.
One thing I know about Coach is he loved tall, athletic quarterbacks from USC. That's for sure. And one thing he loves is guys that can throw the ball down the field and this man can. So, I think he'd have been very excited, very happy. The thing I got excited about is because his son is very excited and very happy. So that told me what Coach might have felt, too. Mark is very excited about us adding Carson to this football team.

Palmer on the health of his arm and his ability to throw the deep ball
My job is to prove I can do it, and I'll do it. I had an elbow injury in 2008 and I'm fully recovered, I've been rehabbing for almost a year-and-a-half, almost two years after that. I've been throwing and my arm feels as good as it ever has. I'm very confident in it and it's my job to answer that question and the only way I can do it is on the field, throwing.

Palmer on his physical readiness
It's going to take some time. I think the only way you can get in football shape is by playing football. You can run wind sprints and lift weights and do all those things but calling a play in the huddle, when you're tired after you just ran -- you get the wind knocked out of you, getting up off the ground and being ready to talk in the huddle, things like what, catching your breath, that's football shape. And the only way you do that is practice and in a game. So obviously I'm not there yet. But until I'm 75 years old, or until a doctor tells me not to, I'll stay in shape my whole life. I enjoy working out. So although my mindset was "this might be it I might be retired" I still was working out and doing a lot of the things I've been doing my whole career.

Palmer on what about his situation in Cincinnati said it was time to retire rather than go back.It was time to move on. Simply put, it was time for them to move on, it was time for me to move on. And I'm just happy and thankful that the Bengals organization made that decision also and I ended up getting this trade done.

Jackson on dealing with Mike Brown of the Bengals, and did his prior relationship have anything to do with the deal
Probably so, I'm sure. I have so much respect for Mike, having worked there with him -- been in drafts with him, coached some of his best players, in my opinion, in that organization. And I think he has a respect for this organization and Coach Davis. And I think the respect was mutual and he said so. He said, "Hue, I like you and I want to see you do well and I want to see Carson do well. And I want us to do well, being the Bengals." So I think at the end of the day I think it was a fit for everybody and I think it worked out in everybody's behalf."

Raiders OTA observations: Conley, rookies must earn their stripes

Raiders OTA observations: Conley, rookies must earn their stripes

ALAMEDA – Rookies have been immersed in the Raiders system most of this month, but still have a lot to learn before training camp begins this summer.

There’s significant work ahead this spring during OTAs and mid-June’s mandatory minicamp, and young players will do so from the second and third teams. Even the highly touted ones.

First-round draft pick Gareon Conley played slot cornerback with the second unit and outside cornerback on the third during Tuesday’s OTA open to the media. It’s a position the slick, speedy cover man will vacate posthaste, but the Raiders prefer rookies earn their stripes.

“All of our young guys are going to earn their way,” head coach Jack Del Rio said. “We have a good football team. We’re going to let them earn their way. We’ll let them compete. We’re early in the competition, so we’ll just go through the offseason and continue to get (Conley) involved and get him reps. These guys will ascend and take their positions as they earn it. We’re really happy with the way he’s started.”

The Raiders didn’t feature a single rookie on their first units Tuesday. Second-round safety Obi Melifonwu, fourth-round offensive tackle David Sharpe and middle linebacker Marquel Lee were featured on the second unit.

Here are some other observations from Tuesday’s OTA sessions.

-- Del Rio said Marshall Newhouse had the inside track to be the team’s starting right tackle. The versatile veteran worked there with the first team, joining a front five otherwise intact from a season ago.

-- Second-year pro Connor Cook, who switched from No. 8 to No. 18 this offseason, ran the second offensive unit. E.J. Manuel worked with the third team.

-- Inside linebacker Ben Heeney worked on a side field with a trainer during Tuesday’s practice, as he continues to rehab from surgery to repair an ankle broken early last season. Jelani Jenkins also did side work after practicing on Monday.

Cory James and Tyrell Adams worked with the first unit at inside linebacker.

-- Veteran running back Marshawn Lynch was limited to individual drills for a second straight day as the Raiders ease him back into football activity.

-- Offensive lineman Austin Howard is working his way back from offseason shoulder surgery, and only practice during individual drills.

-- Cornerback Sean Smith had offseason surgery, but was a full participant in Tuesday’s session.

-- Third-round defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes remains away from the Raiders complex due to an NFL rule preventing players from schools still in session to work with their teams. He won’t re-join the squad until training camp. Undrafted rookie Nicholas Morrow is in a similar spot, but will return next week.

-- Edge rusher Shilique Calhoun played last season at 250 pounds, but looks decidedly bigger now. He told the team website he’s up to 270 pounds.

 

Cooper seeks counsel from former All-Pro Lions WR, Raiders guest

Cooper seeks counsel from former All-Pro Lions WR, Raiders guest

ALAMEDA -- Todd Downing and Calvin Johnson go way back. The Raiders offensive coordinator got to know the retired Detroit receiver during four seasons coaching Lions quarterbacks, a relationship benefitted current Silver and Black receivers this week.

Johnson is in Alameda as a special guest and advisor for the first week of Raiders OTAs, offering tips and tricks learned during an excellent career.

“(Downing) thought it’d be a great idea for our wide receivers to just pick his brain and have him be around and give us a point here or there,” Del Rio said. “Talk about some of the things that he did so well in his career and how we might be able to have some of our guys learn from that. It’s great to have him out here.”

Amari Cooper gravitated towards Johnson, and has spent significant time picking his brain

“I’ve just been asking him a whole bunch of questions,” Cooper said after Tuesday’s OTA session. “How does he run certain routes? What was his regimen like? And how he was so productive? He’s a really cool guy. He’s been giving me some really great feedback, so he’s nice to have around.”

Johnson’s a unique talent, a difficult cover at 6-foot-5, 236 pounds. Cooper operates in a smaller frame and has different receiving strengths, but still found wisdom in working with Megatron.

“He just gave me some really good tips on like how I can run some of my routes,” Cooper said. “…he’s a different receiver than I am, obviously. But I really admire the way he high-points the ball and that’s something that I try to do as well.”

Cooper does most everything well, and has had a productive start to his NFL career. He’s just the third receiver in NFL history to exceed 70 receptions and 1,000 yards in each of his first two seasons – Odell Beckham and Marques Colston are the others – and made the Pro Bowl after both campaigns.

He continues to tinker with his approach and offseason workouts, trying to finish seasons stronger and become an even more dynamic player. Cooper has no problem learning from others, especially the greats.

“I seek advice all the time,” Cooper said. “My rookie year, when I was fortunate enough to go to the Pro Bowl, I asked Adrian Peterson like when did he start working out, how did he go about his offseason. And I tried to pattern after him a little bit.”

Cooper is smarter and working better thanks to information absorbed from others, which he hopes will help him become a deadly weapon.

“I know he’s just scratching the surface of what he wants to accomplish in this league,” head coach Jack Del Rio said. “Very prideful. Amari has always been very serious about the game and works hard at everything, really. His conditioning level and understanding what he needs to be able to do to play at a high level. Again, talking and having a guy like Calvin here as we’re getting started in these OTAs, to be able to share some of the insight of what he experienced playing that position is very valuable for us.”