Palmer pressing under center

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Palmer pressing under center

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- In good times, quarterbacks get too much credit.In bad, too much of the blame.Sunday, after the Raiders were blown out 46-16 by the unbeaten, untied and defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers, Carson Palmer was wearing the mask of the latter. And wearing it, ahem, well."I put us in a position," he said, "not to win. Turn the ball over like I did, giving them a short field and not taking advantage of opportunities is what cost us the game."I did not give us a chance to win. I did not play well enough. I made way too many mistakes."The four interceptions he threw tied a career worst he set against Arizona on Nov. 18, 2007. And passer rating-wise, the 42.4 represented the worst start of his young Raiders career, since he was acquired from Cincinnati on Oct. 18.
"I'm disappointed in the four picks, and I told him so," said Raiders coach Hue Jackson. "And again, I think you have somebody who's pressing, trying to make plays for a football team, and that's not what he needs to do. He's got to take care of the ball, and obviously we've got to go back and take a look at them all."But what I felt is that there's times that we made some ill-advised throws and we've got to do a better job of taking care of the ball, and he knows that. And we'll fix those things and keep moving forward."Three of Palmer's interceptions came in the first half, with the first two resulting in Packers touchdowns and the third coming in the end zone with less than a minute to go until halftime.His first pick came in Green Bay territory, as Palmer was flushed from the pocket and as he rolled right, he tried to thread the needle to Darrius Heyward-Bey. Instead, he threw it right into the chest of linebacker D.J. Smith."I shouldn't have thrown (the ball)," Palmer said. "I should have have taken off and run."One official snap later, Ryan Grant went 47 yards for the touchdown and the 7-0 lead.Then, with less than eight minutes to play in the half, and the Packers leading 24-0, Palmer tried to hit Heyward-Bey on a slant on the right. But Charles Woodson jumped the route and got his seventh interception of the season."A little miscommunication between myself and the receiver," Palmer said.Four plays later, Grant ran up the middle for a 6-yard score and the 31-0 lead."That's what happens, you turn the ball over and you give those guys more opportunities than they should have, they're going to take advantage of them," Palmer said, "score like they did."Palmer tried to hit Kevin Boss in the back of the end zone but was victimized by a one-handed grab from linebacker Robert Francois with 40 seconds left in the half.His fourth pick came with less than two minutes to play, when he was hit as he released and the ball fluttered into the waiting arms of cornerback Sam Shields.Overall, Palmer completed 24 of 42 attempts for 245 yards with a touchdown. But even he agreed with Jackson's assessment that he was pressing."Yeah, I'm going to look at the film, but I just need to be more patient, take what they give me and not try to score 14 points on one drive," said Palmer, who now has thrown nine TDs with 13 INTs. "Take it one play at a time. Take the shot if it's there and if not, live for the next down. And I didn't do that."

Raiders' first-round pick Conley opens up on emotions after off-field issues

Raiders' first-round pick Conley opens up on emotions after off-field issues

ALAMEDA – Gareon Conley’s name has been sullied, at least temporarily. He feared it would be long enough to send him free falling down the NFL Draft.

The Ohio State cornerback and top-15 prospect was accused of rape stemming from an April 9 incident in Cleveland, an allegation he called “completely false.”

The Raiders clearly believe him. That’s why they drafted him No. 24 overall on Thursday evening, and expect him to be a long-term solution in their secondary.

Conley wasn’t sure how far he’d fall after being beaten down by one rough week, when the allegation went public. Reggie McKenzie’s first-round selection and subsequent call was more emotional than expected.

“It made it 10 times more special,” Conley said Thursday night in a conference call. “Just having that doubt in my mind, just not knowing (how far I would fall). Just having faith and having doubt, I didn’t know what was going to happen. When it came, it shocked me. It felt unreal, honestly. It still feels unreal.”

Being a top pick was expected after an excellent career at Ohio State. The rape accusation threatened to destroy his draft-day dreams. Conley has not been arrested or charged in relation to the incident, though an investigation is ongoing.

Conley said he volunteered to take a polygraph test that was shared with NFL teams, and reportedly passed the one he took. He said in a statement there are witnesses and video evidence proving he didn’t do anything illegal.

Conley spent the last few days trying to proclaim his innocence. 

He is scheduled to meet with Cleveland police on Monday to discuss the April 9 incident -- he'll also submit a DNA sample, according to ESPN -- where group sex was suggested and a woman claimed she was sexually assaulted.

Conley believes his name will be cleared in time.

“I’m very confident it will be resolved," Conley said. "I took a test today that helps. Then when I made my statement and all the evidence that I have, I feel confident it’ll be resolved.”

Conley admits he shouldn’t have put himself in a compromising position, which occurred at a Cleveland hotel earlier this month.

“I could’ve made way better judgment,” Conley said. “I mean, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, but I definitely could’ve made a better decision.”

Conley hopes to move beyond it quickly and start focusing on football. He is scheduled to fly west for a press conference on Friday.

Conley is thankful to the Raiders for believing in him despite his recent troubles.

“It’s off the charts, honestly,” Conley said. “Just to know that they have faith in me, not even just as a football player but as a person like that, it speaks highly of them, and I really appreciate it. It’s an honor to be a part of the Raider organization.”

McKenzie: Raiders did their 'due diligence' before drafting Gareon Conley

McKenzie: Raiders did their 'due diligence' before drafting Gareon Conley

ALAMEDA -- The Raiders used the No. 24 overall pick on Ohio State cornerback Gareon Conley. This wasn’t a second-round flier or a late-round gamble.

That’s a first-round pick. Rolling the dice this early is ill advised. The Raiders don't believe they did with a selection accompanied by a $5.78 million signing bonus, $10.5 million in total money and a valuable fifth-year option to keep a player in town.

They wouldn’t risk such an asset on someone in serious legal trouble. The Raiders did significant research on Conley, who was accused of rape earlier this week, before making a selection. Results gave the Raiders confidence in their choice. 

Conley has not been arrested or charged over an allegation that stems from an April 9 interaction in a Cleveland hotel.

Conley said the accusations are “completely false,” in a statement released by his agent. He claims to have witnesses and video evidence that he didn’t do anything illegal during an exchange where group sex was suggested. He is scheduled to meet with Cleveland police about the allegation and an investigation into it on Monday.

Conley said he took and passed polygraph test prior to the draft, hoping to avoid a free fall into the draft’s later rounds.

The Raiders clearly believe him. They wouldn’t have used such a high pick on the Ohio State cornerback otherwise. Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie said the team thoroughly investigated the matter, and felt comfortable using a high pick on someone who sat alone atop their draft board at No. 24 overall.

“We did our due diligence throughout this whole process,” McKenzie said Thursday night, after making the Conley pick. “We trust our research, reports, everything that we have on Mr. Conley. We feel really good about picking Gareon Conley and having him join the Raiders team and having him be a great teammate for our players.”

McKenzie didn’t detail the Raiders research efforts, but didn’t seem concerned about this off-field issue.

“I don’t want to get into all the details,” McKenzie said, “but the bottom line is that we’ve done miles and miles of research to make sure we were totally comfortable with our decision, which we were.”

McKenzie said he spoke with owner Mark Davis about Conley, as he does most first-round options.

The Raiders were impressed by Conley’s workouts and his game tape. The rape accusation obviously gave the NFL pause regarding his draft status, and he slipped somewhat in the first round.

The Raiders are confident following an internal investigation that his legal troubles will pass without incident.

“The research was done,” McKenzie said. "It wasn’t just a gut (feeling). It was based on research, and we’re very confident in all the information that we got.”