Report: Palmer expected to start Sunday

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Report: Palmer expected to start Sunday

Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer, acquired Tuesday from the Bengals, is expected to start Sunday vs. the Chiefs, according to a national media outlet. It will be Palmer's first start since Jan. 2, 2011, when he was with Cincinnati.

ESPN reported on the air Wednesday morning that Palmer was in line to start, and ESPN NFL reporter Adam Schefter published the following message on his Twitter account:

"No big surprise, but Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer is expected to start Sunday versus the Chiefs."

Offensive coordinator Al Saunders strongly suggested that Palmer will be the man for the Raiders on Sunday when he was asked Wednesday on Kansas City's Fescoe in the Morning on 610 Sports Radio what Palmer needs to do to be the Raiders starter.

Saunders answered, As long as hes breathing.

"He walked out on the field (Tuesday) and everybody kind of looked at everybody and said, You know what? This is a real quarterback,'" Saunders said. "That was the comment made by a couple people as they watched him throw. It just depends on how quickly he feels comfortable in what were doing and that shouldnt take too long."

If so, it will mark the second straight week that a new player has stepped into the starting lineup. Last week linebacker Aaron Curry arrived via trade from Seattle and was installed as Oakland's starting weakside linebacker.

Coach Hue Jackson was asked about the prospect of Palmer starting days after donning his No. 3 jersey and deflected the question.

"You think Im going to tell you that right now? You know me a little bit better than that," Jackson said Tuesday. "OK, all you guys try, Im not going to let that out of the bag just yet. But youve got to be ready for anything from me. I think you know that. Well see as we continue to move through the week exactly where we are."

Palmer was also noncommittal at his introductory press conference.

Its 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 all those things, but calling a play in the huddle when youre tired, after you just ran, you get the wind knocked out of you, getting up off the ground, ready to talk in the huddle, catching your breath, thats football shape," Palmer said.

"And they only way to do that is in practice and in games. So obviously Im not there yet but Ill lift until Im 75 years old or a doctor tells me not to. Ill 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 Ive been doing my whole career."

The Raiders acquired Palmer for a first-round draft pick in next April's draft, as well as a future conditional pick.

Palmer's career record as a starting quarterback is 46-51, bottoming out with last year's 4-12 mark that hastened his request for a trade, despite his signing a six-year contract extension with the Bengals that took his initial deal through 2014 and made him, at the time, the highest paid player in the NFL on Dec. 29, 2005.

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.”