Published November 20, 2014
As prolific as he's been in his career, Oakland's Carson Palmer is on an unparalleled pace for him.
Palmer is on track to join 2002 NFL MVP Rich Gannon as the only quarterbacks in franchise history to eclipse the 4,600-yard mark in a single season. Gannon passed for 4,689 yards during the '02 season when he led Oakland to its first Super Bowl appearance in nearly two decades.
That would be quite an accomplishment for Palmer considering the Raiders receiving corps has been banged up since training camp. Oakland has also had issues with pass protection and the running game, making it easier for defenses to concentrate on Palmer.
It's also something he'd almost rather not see happen.
"Yeah, because we want to run the football," Palmer said Wednesday. "That's what we talk about, that's what we work on. The better you run the football, those yards might go up and the pass attempts go down."
Palmer said the Raiders would be better off being more balanced offensively.
That's not happened so far. Not even close.
Oakland has been held to 120 yards rushing or fewer in five of the first six games of the season. Much has been made about the zone blocking schemes implemented by offensive coordinator Greg Knapp but the Raiders also added a handful of the gap-blocking plays that running back Darren McFadden had success running in 2011. The results continue to be mostly disappointing.
Even though Palmer has thrown for 1,732 yards — 11th in the NFL — and has his highest passer rating (86.0) since 2007, the numbers haven't translated into many wins.
The Raiders (2-4) are coming off a 26-23 overtime victory against lowly Jacksonville, a game in which Oakland's offense was dreadful before Palmer led four scoring drives after halftime.
It was the second time this season Palmer, 32, rallied the Raiders after they trailed heading into the fourth quarter.
That's one of the reasons Oakland coach Dennis Allen isn't making too big a deal about Palmer's passing numbers.
"I want to win, whatever it takes to win football games," Allen said. "If it's throwing it 50 times a game, we'll do that. If it's running it 50 times a game, we'll do that. Whatever the game dictates for us to have a chance at winning the football game, that's what we're going to do."
Overall, the Raiders rank ninth in passing and 31st in rushing heading into Sunday's game in Kansas City.
A more balanced attack would improve Oakland's passing game even if it meant fewer throws by Palmer.
"I don't have a crystal ball, but the more you run the football the more defenses have to focus on it," Palmer said. "That's when you get your opportunity to really throw the ball down the field on the nakeds and the keepers and those long play-actions."
Notes: DE Matt Shaughnessy was held out of the final portion of practice after injuring his shoulder. His status for Sunday's game is uncertain. WR Juron Criner (hip) and S Mike Mitchell (ankle) were also hurt during the workout. ... RT Khalif Barnes (groin) and CB Shawntae Spencer (foot) did not practice.
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