At a time where a talented young Raiders team is looking for answers, the NFL's talking heads and fans alike will be quick to place blame on the play of the quarterback. Palmer has not only not been the problem for the 3-5 Raiders, but he has been one of the few factors that have led them to those three wins.
In Sunday's 42-32 loss to Tampa Bay, the Raiders found themselves down 18 points heading into the fourth quarter. It was Palmer's play—despite missing both Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson in the backfield, thus rendering the altered game plan more than obvious—that brought the Raiders back into the game.
Three consecutive touchdown drives, with another Tampa Bay touchdown in between, had the Raiders down three points with a chance to win. That potential game-winning drive was halted with a Palmer interception, effectively ending the game as well.
With such plays as the prime arguing points, many will call for a quarterback change; be it in the coming weeks or in the offseason.
On Sunday, as has been the case throughout the 2012 season for the Raiders, they would not have had a chance to win had it not been for the play of Palmer.
Against the Bucs, Palmer threw for 414 yards, with four TDs and three INTs. Through eight games, he is now on pace to finish with what would be a career-high 4,710 passing yards.
Granted, Palmer's interception numbers are still a concern for some, as they should be. However, with a young receiving core, it seems route miscommunications are as much the cause for the interceptions as poor decision making. That proved to be exactly the case on the two final fourth-quarter drives in the loss to Tampa Bay.
Still just 32 years old, Palmer has a lot of football left in him. After some down years toward the end of his time in Cincinnati, he is now beginning to recapture the form of his earlier years that saw him considered among the league's elite.
Come time for the NFL Draft, people will fall in love with a top QB prospect and point to Palmer's age as a reason to move in that direction. The Raiders, in hopes of getting back to greatness under their new regime, would be better suited addressing their other holes in a draft that is loaded with defensive talent.
With an extremely young receiving corps and considering his play with the Raiders in 2011 and 2012, a veteran quarterback like Palmer is the man to lead this team. As he and the rest of the players settle into this offense, they will only continue to get better.
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