Kirby Lee-US PRESSWIRE
This is the first of many of my Raiders 2012 Season Awards. In this first edition, I lay out the Raiders Offensive MVP.
It's time to hand out some awards. Some of you may not think these players deserve any awards. But I am handing out the awards anyway.
Offensive MVP - Carson Palmer
I put out the MVP candidates and you responded. With 42% of the vote, Carson Palmer is the Raiders' MVP this season. I had Palmer as the Raiders MVP at the midway point as the unquestioned leader of this team. He was on a record pace at the time despite being under constant pressure and getting little to no help in the running game.
The Raiders were 3-4 in the first seven games of the season and hope was very much alive. Palmer had 9 touchdowns to 5 interceptions and had thrown a touchdown pass in all but one game on the season and his passer rating went over 100 twice.
The Raiders then reeled off six straight losses. Much of that fell on the defense which was giving up an average of over 30 points a game until week 12. Palmer put up a streak of nine straight games with an interception. Some of those can be attributed to the Raiders being behind and the offense in desperation mode. Some can be blamed on the receivers. But some were simply an ill-advised pass by Palmer.
While we spread around the blame for the interceptions, we must also take some credit from the touchdown passes which rarely had any bearing on the result of the game. What we like to call "garbage time." The Raiders finally won a game in week 14 against the hapless Chiefs but they did it without putting the ball in the endzone once. He played just over 14 games with the first half being pretty good but fading down the stretch.
Palmer's detractors will point to the final game of the season in which Terrelle ignited the Raiders' offense against the Chargers. The Raiders still lost the game and Pryor, like Palmer, threw an interception. The difference was the Chargers weren't able to gameplan for Pryor so he was able to just use his athleticism to make things happen.
But really, Palmer is the MVP simply for lack of other options. On a 4-12 team, there are rarely players one can point to as the most valuable. Value is a relative term which typically involves who was most responsible for their wins. The Raiders' four wins were mostly a product of the defense.
His 4018 passing yards may not have made the difference for the Raiders but without it, the Raiders would look a lot more like the Chiefs or the Jaguars, neither of whom have a starting quarterback and it resulted in a 2-14 record.