UPDATE: It is now being reported by ESPN that Carson Palmer is unlikely to start this Sunday’s game against the Chiefs.
The 2-3 Kansas City Chiefs come to Oakland to play the 4-2 Raiders in a game that has lots of intrigue surrounding one question – will Carson Palmer start, or will Kyle Boller start this week to give Palmer more time to get up to speed with the Raiders offense? Despite early reports that it would be Palmer, the jury is still out.
The Raiders were having a great year behind the second best rushing game in the league with Darren McFadden, a good defense and solid play by QB Jason Campbell. When Campbell went down with a broken collarbone that will cost him a major portion, if not all, of the remainder of the season, the Raiders went QB shopping.
The Raiders traded to get Palmer from the Bengals just before Tuesday’s trade deadline. Reports on Wednesday indicated that Palmer would start, based upon Raiders offensive coordinator Al Saunders saying on a Wednesday radio interview that Palmer would start “as long as he’s breathing.”
Apparently, the bar is pretty high in Oakland these days to get on the field.
Head coach Hue Jackson has been far less committed to who will be starting on Sunday. “I just laugh at all the reports that he’s starting. Everybody’s made all those decisions for me,” Jackson said.
“I’m not going to make that decision, I don’t have to any time soon. Sometime, maybe [Friday] evening, I’ll figure it out.”
Jackson went on to say that there were a lot of variables to consider and that a couple more days of practice would help to sort it out. “We brought a guy in, and I have to make sure that everything is right. This is about our team, putting our team in the best situation to win.”
Friday afternoon, ESPN reports that Palmer is unlikely to start on Sunday.
If Palmer doesn’t start this weekend, after the Chiefs, the Raiders have a bye week and then play the 1-4 Denver Broncos, so this is a forgiving portion of their schedule.
The Chiefs started the season as the victim of blowout losses to the Lions and Bills, by a combined score of 89-10, but have won two in a row now to get back to 2-3 (albeit the two wins are against teams that are a combined 1-11).
The Chiefs also have a solid running game, sixth in the league and averaging 127 yards per game. They’ve also been playing much better defense in the last couple of weeks, holding their last 3 opponents to 24 points or less after giving up 40 or more in the first two games.
The Chiefs have improved, but haven’t beaten any quality opponents yet. And regardless of who starts at QB for the Raiders, Palmer or Kyle Boller, their excellent running game and defense is there to support whichever quarterback lines up under center.
Look for the Raiders to overcome the injuries and gut out a tough win.
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