Oakland sent shockwaves at the usually sleepy NFL trade deadline Tuesday afternoon, shipping a first-round pick in 2012 and a conditional first-round pick in 2013 for the rights to Bengals 31-year old QB Carson Palmer.
Palmer has neither practiced nor played this season because of a contentious relationship with Bengals management, but he’ll be entrenched as the Raiders new starting quarterback as soon as the acclimation process will allow.
A move of this magnitude begs the immediate question – will Kansas City face off against Carson Palmer under center Sunday afternoon at O.Co Coliseum?
“If you’re going to make this move, to me, it’s like go ahead and put him out there and let him rip,” Voice of the Chiefs Mitch Holthus said Tuesday afternoon on Chiefs LIVE! “I guess you’re handing off to (Darren) McFadden and you’re trying to throw deep to Darrius Heyward-Bey.
“To me, it’s a risk to play him this week. I thought they might try to get by with Kyle Boller this week and then see what would happen from here on, but I would think they play (Palmer).”
There is some precedent to that notion as well.
Oakland acquired Seattle LB Aaron Curry last Wednesday and started him against Cleveland four days later. The obvious difference is that Palmer has missed the entire preseason and regular season to date. He’ll also be expected to run an entire offense, but does have familiarity with Raiders head coach Hue Jackson.
Jackson served as the Bengals wide receivers coach from 2004-06 when Palmer enjoyed the most productive seasons of his NFL career. The duo worked with one another at USC as well.
This is a trade that has Jackson’s fingerprints all over it.
“Whoever they put in, I’m sure they are going to get him ready to go,” DE
Anything seems possible at this point with the Raiders’ way of doing business. They’ve clearly gone all-in with the acquisition of Palmer.
It’s a bold move by Raiders management and sends a clear signal that they believe their franchise has the pieces to be a title contender in the near future.
Adding a new arm to Oakland’s arsenal made for a later night of game-planning at One Arrowhead Drive, but Kansas City’s coaching staff knows that the key to winning in the Black Hole isn’t any secret. The Chiefs must find a way to match the Raiders’ physicality in the trenches.
“This is a big, strong, physical team on all sides of the ball that I think has continued to develop and improve here through my time here in Kansas City,” Chiefs head coach Todd Haley said. “Going out there to Oakland is always a great, great test, so we will have our work cut out for us any way you cut it.”
Whether the Raiders go with Palmer or Boller Sunday afternoon, defending Oakland’s running game is top priority for the Chiefs defense.
Oakland currently leads the AFC with an average of 160.0 rushing yards per game and enjoyed plenty of success running the football in their last meeting against Kansas City. Despite the absence of top running back Darren McFadden, the Raiders rolled up 209 rushing yards against the Chiefs in last year’s Week 17 win at Arrowhead.
“We always enter a game with the mindset of stopping the run first and making them throw the ball,” Dorsey said.
“They don’t give up on (running). They will run the same play three times in a row. They’ll just keep doing it. I think they’re banking on one of them opening up and popping off for a long run. It’s about the fits. You have to be consistent with your play, even more so against a team like this.”
McFadden rushed 17 times for 89 yards (5.2 avg.) in his only meeting against the Chiefs last season. He’s squared off against Kansas City five times over his four-year NFL career, rushing 61 times for 312 yards (5.1 avg.) with two TDs.
McFadden currently leads the NFL with 610 rushing yards on 111 carries (5.5 avg.).
“He’s fast and he’ll run you over too,” Dorsey said of Mcfadden, who was selected one slot ahead of the Chiefs defensive end at fourth overall in 2008 NFL Draft.
“He’s a strong runner and once he gets going downhill it’s hard to stop him. It’s going to be on us up front to slow him down and try to make him stutter step. In a game like this, it’s all about us up front.”
The Chiefs will prepare for the strength of Oakland’s run game first and the individual characteristics of quarterbacks second.
If Palmer doesn’t start against the Chiefs this weekend, it doesn’t necessarily mean he won’t play. Barring injury, he’ll certainly be Oakland’s starting quarterback by the time the Raiders visit Arrowhead Stadium for a Christmas Eve rematch.