Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer spoke on Sirius Satellite radio on Wednesday for this first time since the overhaul of the front office and coaching staff for the team. He is no stranger to a little turmoil and changeover after his years with the Cincinnati Bengals. The veteran QB takes the whole thing is stride.
His concern at this point, it moving forward and improving as a player and as a team. He expressed how eager he is to get back to work and start moving forward.
"It's wild," Palmer said of the recent turnover in the organization. "I wouldn't say [I'm] concerned but I think you're always concerned a little bit about your job especially when a new guy comes in, but at the end of the day, I've been busting my butt, I'm going to go in, and as soon as I get a chance to learn this offense, I've been trying to get a playbook and film, but there's a lot of league-wide restrictions on that. So I haven't even had a chance to get any information from the organization just because there's some loop holes and different things when you change regimes. I've been chomping at the bit and all I can really do is get prepared and be a leader, and be a veteran, and help out the young guys and take care of my job and the reset of it, it falls how it falls. Concern isn't the right word, I'm just excited at getting an opportunity and looking forward to the future.
"I'm getting ready to head up to L.A. to train. The guy I've been training with for the last seven or eight years has a gym up there and that's where I spend the offseason, getting ready with him. I've been in contact with all my receivers and even guys like Marcel Reece and Kevin Boss, David Ausberry, some younger guys that Raider fans haven't heard of that they should be excited about. We'll get together in L.A. and have some throwing sessions set up before we get back to Oakland and before we get the playbook, before we get to 7-on-7 sessions and the team drills that we're going to be during OTAs and minicamps. We have a chance to get our feet and just kind of get back in the swing of things before we're out in front of the coaches and in front of the organization, just to kind of get the rust off and get ready for those OTAs. We don't want to just show up at OTAs and say, ‘all right, let's go', we want to be prepared and at least somewhat on the same page or as close to being on the same page as we can be heading into OTAs.
"I'm just excited. I can't wait to get going. We start April 2, and April 2 can't get here soon enough."
He goes on to speak of ‘what could have been' if the Raiders hadn't lost so many players to injury. But more so, the excitement he has at the prospect of what this offense can accomplish next season with those players back in the fold.
"Obviously losing Darren McFadden was a huge blow. He was such a huge part of the offense. Part of the passing game, part of the running game and pass protection-wise. So losing him was obviously a big blow, and Jacoby Ford, we lost for all those games. Denarius Moore, who I could not be more excited about, we lost him for a handful of games.
"I think we finished in the top seven or eight or nine in offense, even with losing all those guys, so you can really get excited about the future when you think of it that way. Getting some guys healthy, and a guy I mentioned, David Ausberry, a tight end, just a freak athlete and a guy that can do so many different things. You get him back, you get Taiwan Jones, another rookie that was injured in those games, and just an explosive player that you've got to get excited about the things he can do with the football. There are a lot of things to get excited about and the future is definitely bright.
"As far as being close to a playoff team, I think it's more than that. I think we're close to a championship team. There's a lot of work that needs to be put in and a lot of hurdles that we need to get over, but I think we need to be heading into this season thinking more than just playoffs and trying to get to the playoffs and trying to win the AFC West. I think it's bigger than that, and we definitely have a lot of pieces to the puzzle than being more than just a playoff team.'
With as much excitement as Palmer has about the direction of this team, he also feels a lot of pressure to live up the blockbuster trade that brought him to Oakland.
"With the trade and with all that's gone on throughout my career, I feel a tremendous amount of pressure and I love it. That's why I started playing quarterback at a young age, the ball's in your hands every single play. There's only two players that can say that, and that's the center and the quarterback and I've always relished being in that position and just all the little things that come along with it. The expectations from a leadership role, the expectations from performance and obviously the outside pressures that come with the position."
It has been a while since the Raiders had a quarterback with Palmer's combination of talent, leadership, and work ethic. As excited as he is to get things rolling, Raider fans may just be matching his excitement.