|Carson Palmer and Kyle Boller at Raiders practice Wednesday. (US PRESSWIRE)|
Posted by Ryan Wilson
If we're to believe Raiders offensive coordinator Al Saunders, Carson Palmer, less than a week out of retirement, will start Sunday against the Chiefs "as long as he's breathing."
CBSSports.com's Clark Judge isn't buying it, primarily because "It just seems as if starting a quarterback who hasn't played in over nine months, has no history with your team or his teammates and isn't in football shape isn't such a smart idea."
|Palmer to the Raiders|
CBSSports.com's Pete Prisco thinks it'll be the latter.
NFL Network's Albert Breer talked to former NFL quarterback Ken O'Brien, who's been working with Palmer during his retirement/holdout, and let's just say O'Brien was impressed with what he saw.
"He's healthy as a horse," O'Brien told Breer. "I just helped him get through drills. And from where he was, he had to get healthy after the end of the season. That's the good part of the layoff. He rested his body up. … Everyone wants to be in top shape, but when you have an injury inside of you, with ligaments or cartilage, that takes time to heal, no matter how strong or muscular you feel."
After the issues about being in shape and learning a new offense, there were also concerns about Palmer's arm strength. He came into the league with a cannon, and after 2008 elbow surgery, he left looking more like Chad Pennington (slight exaggeration, but everybody can agree that he had lost a few MPH's off his fastball).
"If everything else is equal, he has all the talent in the world to do whatever he wants to," O'Brien said. "Talent and desire is not an issue. It might've been a dysfunctional situation he was in, or being injured, where he didn't have as much success of late. And being healthy certainly helps. He can do everything he wants to do physically now, and that's exciting.
"Add to that, he and Hue have history together. Hue knows what to do, he's an exceptionally smart coach. Carson will fit right in, where they were looking for an answer. You can't just get guys like him."
The Kansas City Chiefs will battle the Oakland Raiders this Sunday at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. Which team has the advantage? NFL.com's Pat Kirwan joins Jason Horowitz to preview this AFC West matchup. Watch the game at 4:05 PM ET on CBS.
Not without giving up two first-round picks, anyway. With just a handful of practices with his new team, Palmer has looked every bit the franchise quarterback. Any questions about his arm strength will linger until he has to make a stick throw under pressure during a game, but for now, the reassuring tweets of Raiders beat reporter Steve Corkran will have to do (from Thursday's practice): "Palmer sideline throws arrive in a hurry, plenty of zip on his throws."
If you still have doubts, here's Saunders, upon first viewing Palmer on the Raiders' practice field Wednesday. “He walked out on the field yesterday and everybody kind of looked at everybody and said, ‘You know what? This is a real quarterback,’” he 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 we’re doing and that shouldn’t take too long.”
Hardly a ringing endorsement for Kyle Boller (which he must be used to at this stage of his career), but that's sort of the point. You don't mortgage the franchise for a slight upgrade from your backup. That said, just how good Palmer will be -- and if he's worth what the Raiders gave up to get him -- remains to be seen.
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