Palmer shares snaps with first team
ALAMEDA, Calif. — On the second play of practice for Oakland's starting offense, Carson Palmer stepped in and ran a play.
The question now is whether Palmer can do enough this week to earn the starting quarterback job for the Raiders in place of the injured Jason Campbell.
Palmer shared first-team snaps Wednesday with Kyle Boller, who has been with the Raiders the past two seasons and has a big advantage in terms of knowledge of the offense and chemistry with the receivers.
But Palmer has the stronger pedigree and was acquired at a high price, meaning the Raiders will give him every possible chance to get that job as the starter on Sunday against Kansas City.
"It's one day," coach Hue Jackson said. "I'm not in a rush. I don't have to rush that decision. I'm going to take my time and see where they are and see how fast he picks up the system, see how fast he gets in line with his teammates and we'll kind of go from there."
It's been a whirlwind few days for Palmer, who was a retired player in Southern California on Monday. That changed Tuesday when Oakland shipped a 2012 first-round pick and a second-rounder in 2013 that could become another first if the Raiders make it to the AFC title game to Cincinnati for Palmer.
Palmer had to pass a physical, meet his new teammates, start learning the playbook and then start shaking off the rust in his first practice since the end of last season.
"There's definitely a learning curve involved for sure and I noticed that right off the bat," Palmer said. "But it was exciting. It was fun to be playing football, it was fun to be in a huddle again, it was fun to be throwing routes in 7 on 7 and teams and all these things. But I definitely have my work cut out for me as far as getting the verbiage down, especially when it comes to playing the quarterback position."
Palmer retired during the offseason rather than return to the Bengals. Cincinnati had refused to trade him but finally relented Tuesday when the Raiders made their big offer after Campbell broke his collarbone.
Jackson said he had some concerns about starting a player at quarterback after only three practices with the team but that won't necessarily stop him from doing it.
"I kind of like it like that," Jackson said. "I think he kind of likes it like that. I think we all do. But we'll make the right decision for this football team. We've got a game to win, and that's the most important thing. Whatever I think is going to help us win this football game that's what I'm going to do."
Palmer's new teammates are excited to have him on board, many of them having watched or competed against Palmer over the years.
But they know how tough it will be for Palmer to get up to speed quickly enough to play Sunday.
"I just know if I was on the streets for a while I'd need about, myself personally to knock the rust off as a defensive lineman, I'd need personally about three weeks to get back into form," Richard Seymour said.
Palmer spent time after practice doing extra work with receivers Darrius Heyward-Bey and Jacoby Ford. Ford said it would be tough for someone to come in and play that quickly, but that once the receivers build that chemistry with Palmer the offense should really get going.
"It's just a matter of the timing, he has to get that down and get used to the offense and has to get used to new receivers," Ford said. "Whenever we can do that we'll be clicking on all cylinders."
When Campbell went down it appeared that Boller would get a chance to start for the first time since 2009. He finished out Sunday's 24-17 win over Cleveland but now might be headed back to the bench.
Boller said that's just life in the NFL.
"Listen, I want to be out there on the field, I want to be an NFL quarterback," Boller said. "I'm going to do everything I can to go out there and perform, to give this team every chance to win the game. That's my job as a quarterback. If I'm the guy they choose to put out there on Sunday then I'm going to do everything in my right mind to make sure that happens."