The Oakland Raiders anticipate newly acquired quarterback Carson Palmer will step into the starting lineup right away.
Palmer, who has not played a down of football since last December, is expected to take the snaps against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, five days after being picked up in a trade with Cincinnati, multiple outlets reported Wednesday.
”There’s definitely a learning curve involved for sure and I noticed that right off the bat,” Palmer said after practicing for the first time Wednesday. ”But it was exciting. It was fun to be playing football, it was fun to be in a huddle again, it was fun to be throwing routes in 7 on 7 and teams and all these things. But I definitely have my work cut out for me as far as getting the verbiage down, especially when it comes to playing the quarterback position.”
Coach Hue Jackson said he had some concerns about starting a player at quarterback after only three practices with the team, but that won’t necessarily stop him from doing it.
”I kind of like it like that,” Jackson said. ”I think he kind of likes it like that. I think we all do. But we’ll make the right decision for this football team. We’ve got a game to win, and that’s the most important thing. Whatever I think is going to help us win this football game, that’s what I’m going to do.”
Raiders offensive coordinator Al Saunders, speaking on a Kansas City sports radio station Wednesday morning, said the team was immediately impressed with Palmer following his first walkthrough Tuesday.
As for a timeframe for Palmer taking the reins, Saunders hinted he could start right away, saying, "As long as he’s breathing."
"He walked out on the field yesterday and everybody kind of looked at everybody and said, ‘You know what? This is a real quarterback,’" said Saunders. "That was the comment made by a couple people as they watched him throw."
Saunders, however, did not confirm whether Palmer would start Sunday, adding, "It just depends on how quickly he feels comfortable in what we’re doing and that shouldn’t take too long."
Palmer was acquired in the last-minute trade Tuesday in exchange for a first-round draft pick in 2012 and a conditional pick — either first or second round — in 2013, depending on whether Oakland can reach the AFC title game this season.
The Raiders were looking to replace injured starter Jason Campbell, who sustained a broken clavicle in Oakland’s 24-17 win over the Cleveland Browns Sunday. Veteran backup Kyle Boller replaced Campbell in the game, but it appears he will be back on the bench following Palmer’s arrival.
Palmer, 31, demanded a trade out of Cincinnati after the team went 4-12 last season, but Bengals owner Mike Brown refused to move him.
The former Pro Bowler maintained he would rather retire than play another game for the Bengals. He did not participate in the Bengals’ training camp and remained absent through the start of the season, with Cincinnati opting to move on with rookie quarterback Andy Dalton.
Brown pointed to Dalton’s stellar play — guiding the Bengals to a 4-2 start — along with the valuable pair of draft picks in explaining his decision to finally part with Palmer.
The 2002 Heisman Trophy winner, who was drafted first overall by Cincinnati in 2003, threw for 3,970 yards and 26 touchdowns last season, but also racked up an AFC-worst 20 interceptions.