Raiders break camp after more than 3 weeks in Napa
NAPA, Calif. (AP)
The Raiders (tied for No. 23 in the AP Pro32) broke camp Thursday after spending more than three weeks in Napa, still looking for their first win and first-team touchdown of the preseason.
Palmer has been able to move the Oakland offense at times in the first two exhibition games. But a pair of interceptions, a handful of dropped passes and an inability to punch it in from close to the goal line has plagued Oakland so far in losses to Dallas and Arizona.
With the starters expected to get their most extensive playing time of the preseason on Saturday against Detroit (tied for 11th in the AP Pro32), the Raiders hope to clean up those mistakes before the regular season begins.
''Obviously we haven't done what we expected to do, but it's not a concern,'' Palmer said. ''We just need to keep working, keep grinding. They'll come. We just need to clean some things up. We've made a handful of mistakes and hurt ourselves, but it's not concerning. It's frustrating, just because you want to score every time you get the ball, but we'll continue to work and get better.''
Palmer has been in for 10 drives in the two games, leading the team to three field goals. There have also been four turnovers, including his two interceptions.
Overall, Palmer is 16-for-30 for 140 yards, for a passer rating of 38.2. He has been unable to connect on the deep balls he was successful completing last year, with his longest pass so far being a quick-hitter to Darren McFadden that went for 18 yards.
''I don't have any reservations or any doubt at all about Carson Palmer,'' coach Dennis Allen said. ''I think he's had a good camp. I expect when opening day comes around that he'll be a good player for us.''
Palmer said one reason for his lack of concern is that he uses the preseason to see which plays might work when the games actually count.
His interception in the first game against Dallas was on a deep pass to Jacoby Ford that he said he might not have made if it was the regular season. He also was intercepted last week on a ball he tried to force to tight end Richard Gordon.
While those types of throws usually irk coaches, offensive coordinator Greg Knapp said that is what preseason is for.
''My belief for a quarterback to run a new offense you have got to try some stuff,'' Knapp said. ''I will sacrifice some of the ups and downs that go with that. If you make mistakes you usually grow from it. That is what I want him to do in the preseason since the games are not held accountable, so to speak. You still want to win, you still want to have that taste of it. But he has got to test himself. I don't want to ever train a guy to be conservative from day one. He won't know his limits then.''
The Raiders also have been hurt offensively this preseason by injuries. Top deep receiver Denarius Moore will miss his third straight game this weekend with a hamstring injury, Ford will sit with a sprained left foot that sent him out early last week and center Stefen Wisniewski is out again with a calf injury.
''I feel very confident in where I am right now and really where we are as an offense, especially as banged up as we are,'' Palmer said. ''We've got a lot of young guys playing, but I feel really good where we are right now in training camp.''
After the game on Saturday, the Raiders will return to their facility in Alameda for the final preparations before the final exhibition game next Thursday and then the season opener Sept. 10 against San Diego.
The team leaves camp with plenty of optimism, as well as the knowledge that there is plenty more work to get done to make for a successful season.
''I'm a firm believer that the cream will always rise to the top,'' defensive tackle Richard Seymour said. ''It may not start out that way. Little things, if you don't address them, they can become glaring weaknesses for you as well. I think we're in a position now to continue what we've started to build. We've laid the foundation, but just because you got a good foundation don't mean you got a good roof over your head, either.''
NOTES: Seymour, who has sat out all week with sore knees, will be a game-time decision on Saturday. ''They're definitely important games, but we'll do what's best for the team,'' he said. ... TEs Richard Gordon (ribs) and Tory Humphrey (hamstring) also will be game-time decisions.
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