ALAMEDA -- So how was Hue Jackson's bold move to trade for quarterback Carson Palmer taken in the Raiders locker room?"That you better keep your (stuff) wrapped tight," said defensive tackle Tommy Kelly. "I mean, Hue made it real clear, man, he ain't waiting on nobody. Either you get on the train, or you get left behind."
Yes, Jackson served notice. Not only to the rank-and-file players, but also in the leadership."He's going to do whatever he has to do and evaluate every position in terms of trying to get the team better," said defensive tackle and team captain Richard Seymour. "And I think that's what this business is all about. It's a production business, and our job is to go out and perform and anytime you have an opportunity to acquire someone like Carson and his pedigree, obviously management felt like they just wanted to pull the trigger on it. Guys like that aren't just hanging around."But it's not just Jackson being so active in swapping potentially two first-round draft picks for a franchise quarterback two days after the previous starter in Jason Campbell was lost for at least six weeks, and possibly the season, with a broken right collarbone. It's how busy Jackson has been as a mover and shaker in the wake of Al Davis' death.In fact, you could build a strong case that Davis would have admired the commitment with with Jackson has moved.Last Thursday, Oakland acquired a former No. 4 overall pick in linebacker Aaron Curry for a seventh-round draft pick and cut a Raiders legacy player in Bruce Davis. And Curry started against Cleveland three days later.Monday, the Raiders cut defensive back Joe Porter to make roster space for rookie quarterback Terrelle Pryor and then signed safety Chinedum Ndukwe before releasing Jerome Boyd and then signing him to the practice squad. And in the middle it all was Oakland placing defensive end Matt Shaughnessy on season-ending Injured Reserve with a bum shoulder, creating roster space for Palmer."That's just how the whole league works," said right tackle Khalif Barnes. "It's not anything personalthere are guys who are going through that all year. You can't worry about things like that. You just have to go out there and play. Anytime you're suiting up, going out there to play, that's all you can do, that's all you can control. You can't control anything else."Wake-up call, anyone?"It means we're going for it, man," said safety Tyvon Branch. "That shows the confidence they have in this team. When you get a team like this, you don't want the opportunity to slip away."Receiver Louis Murphy agreed, especially when it came to Jackson dealing for Palmer with Campbell down and the NFL trade deadline at 1 p.m. PT Tuesday."We had to do something," Murphy said. "So, I mean, it sends a message that he still wants us to win, wants us to continue on our championship run."Said fellow receiver Jacoby Ford: "It just shows you that Hue definitely wants to win. He's definitely going to put us in the right position to win and he's going to bring the right guys in to win. He's competitive. We're all behind him as far as being competitive."As it stands now, the Raiders are without first-, second-, third-, fourth- and seventh-round picks in next April's draft, though they could potentially get a compensatory draft pick or two for losing Nnamdi Asomugha, Zach Miller and Robert Gallery as free agents this summer.Still, the flurry of moves, particularly the blockbuster Palmer deal, was a shot across the bow of anyone on the roster contemplating cruising."What do you think?" a grinning Jackson said when asked if it did indeed send a message. "No doubt. I told them I am going to do everything I can -- the organization has backed me -- to give this team the best opportunity to win football games, and that's all you can ask for. As a head coach, when you have ownership, Mark Davis, Amy Trask and the rest of this organization stand behind you and say, 'Hey look, whatever we think it takes to win, that's what we're going to do,' and thats what we're doing, I think the players appreciate that."Because it gets no better than that. You come to work everyday knowing that you're fighting for something. And we're fighting for a championship."Then leave it to Kelly to sum it all up."I thought we were going to get (David) Garrard," Kelly said, "but we got Palmer. So hey, man, can't do nothing but be happy."And be on notice.