The last time the Oakland Raiders went into a season without having a reliable backup plan at QB they wound up paying a relative fortune for the services of Carson Palmer. Currently the jury is still on out Palmer. There is no doubt that seeing Palmer struggle to adjust coming fresh off his couch was nothing like the pain of having to sit through the agony that was Kyle Boller. But a .500 record just wasn’t worth two high-round draft picks plus another massive contract that aided in the recent cap cleansing. Oakland could have missed the playoffs just as easily with Mr. Prejean calling signals.
I’m not one to play the I-told-ya-so card but I did call the Boller situation long before the lockout was resolved last year. Now comes word that Reggie McKenzie is saying the job of playing clipboard holder behind Carson Palmer is a “low priority”.
Déjà vu all over again.
Hue Jackson got credit for being bold enough to swing for the fences in his move to acquire Palmer. A closed mouth doesn’t get fed. You can’t talk all the Super Bowl talk but then claim you’ve got cramps when its time to walk that walk.
Still, it is hard to ignore the fact that Jackson helped put himself in the precarious position of paying a holdout’s ransom for Palmer by assuming Jason Campbell was going to remain healthy for the entire season. The book on Boller was closed long ago. The only reason he became the Raiders’ backup was because Trent Edwards stunk it up enough in the preseason that Boller became the Khloe Kardashian of Oakland’s second options – the best of what’s left.
Now here we are again doing the same dance, this time with Palmer in the Campbell roll.
No matter what, until Palmer can help deliver a winning record to the Raiders he won’t be viewed as any better than Campbell in my book. JC was playing the best ball of his career prior to his injury and during his short time as a Raider he helped get this franchise out of the punch line factory of late night television. Palmer did some very impressive things last year. He made plays that only a handful of guys in the game have the skill to make. He also made some boneheaded errors you’d never see Campbell even commit while playing a game of Madden.
But this is not meant to rip Palmer. I’m riding shotgun with him any day over Matt Cassel and Cry Baby Philip. That new dude in Denver gets the nod on reputation alone but we’ll see how he holds up in the coming year.
In some ways Campbell’s injury only helped to accelerate what was going to be happening this offseason. Campbell was in a contract year, chances are the Raiders were going to be a .500 club at best considering the horrid defense and we’d be discussing starting QBs over backups instead.
However that is an argument McKenzie cannot hang his hat on. Maybe he’s content to rebuild for now. In that case then feel free to wait around until all that’s left on the scrap heap are J.T. O’Sullivan and Nate Longshore.
Given the constant injury issues of Darren McFadden and those of Palmer in the past the hopes of this franchise are only as good as the weekly injury report. Unless Terrelle Pryor was doing amazing things with the scout team that Coach Jackson kept secret from the media then McKenzie is setting himself up for failure by gambling on Palmer to be injury free for an entire season.