There’s no arguing the 2012 season was a disappointing one for the silver and black, but who would have thought it would cause such a quarterback controversy? One of the biggest questions of the offseason revolves around Carson Palmer and Terrelle Pryor. No doubt was Pryor impressive in Week 17 against the San Diego Chargers, but he’s not quite ready to lead the team therefore it’s beneficial to keep Palmer despite the cost.
Palmer is the answer for now as he is the best quarterback this team has had since the glory days of Rich Gannon. The Raiders will be paying Palmer $13 million next season, but, it’s well worth it. Despite having a weak offensive line and mediocre receivers, Palmer was able to put up 4,018 yards with 22 touchdowns to finish the season with a 61.1 completion percentage and a quarterback rating of 85.3. Impressive considering what he had to work with and the fact his season ended early due to cracked ribs and a bruised lung in Week 16.
Palmer did, however have 14 interceptions last season with some resulting in a loss for the Raiders, but not all of them were necessarily his fault.
He joined the Raiders midseason back in 2011 after Jason Campbell broke his collarbone and despite not being with the team in camp, and basically starting football activity coming off the couch, he was thrown into the fire with a new team, new coach, and new receivers; yet still managed to put up 2,753 yards with 13 touchdowns and 16 interceptions, while posting an 80.5 quarterback rating. Not only does he give the Raiders the best chance at winning in 2013, his presence helps Pryor develop into the quarterback the Raiders desperately need for the future.
Raiders’ fans are used to hearing, “Pryor isn’t ready yet” so why would one game change that. Head coach Dennis Allen even contemplated starting Matt Leinart in that final game. There’s no need to rush Pryor by throwing him into the fire before he’s ready. Let’s not forget Pryor has only made one career start which came against the 7-9 Chargers and also happens to be the only game Pryor has played in for more than a few drives. In that game Pryor went 13-28 with two touchdowns and one interception. Not only was Pryor’s play impressive, but his leadership as well. He has the drive and Raiders pride needed to be the leader of this team, but all in good time.
The quarterback position is the least of the Raiders worries this offseason; they have an experienced veteran at the quarterback position that can help the team in more ways than one. While the salary cap is an issue for the Raiders, Palmer’s contract shouldn’t be the one they void. Who knows, he might even renegotiate his contract, yet again, to continue to play and help this team develop. Palmer isn’t done yet, he still has fuel in the tank that the Raiders can utilize. They don’t need to draft a quarterback either as Pryor will be the team’s future.
Now general manager Reggie McKenzie has said Palmer and Pryor will compete for the starting job in camp, but I don’t see Pryor winning that battle. I expect, and hope, the Raiders keep Palmer for, at the very least, one more year. Let Pryor grow and learn from him; then it will be Pryor’s time to shine and take the Raiders back to their winning ways when the team has developed as a whole. The Raiders haven’t played January football since 2002 when they lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Superbowl. Starting a quarterback before he’s ready with a mediocre rebuilding team won’t get them there sooner.