QB Carson Palmer. Photo by Tony Gonzales
Q: How comfortable are you at this point coming off your first win as a Raider?
Carson Palmer: Getting more and more comfortable. I don't know until maybe later on this season, I'll be completely comfortable. But every chance I get to come out to the practice field, and then watch it on film, and watch it with the offense and then talk about it, and learn from it – it's just another opportunity to get better and absorb more of the offense.
Q: How much confidence does it give you to come in as a guy with just a couple of starts underneath your belt in Silver and Black for the coaches to go ahead and 'Let it fly. Go down the field Carson and let it rip?'
Carson Palmer: Well, I think that's the mentality here - to be aggressive on offense and take your shots when they're there and run the ball aggressively. But, the offensive mentality whether I was the quarterback, Jason [Campbell] was the quarterback or Kyle [Boller] was the quarterback has been the same – it is to let it go when you have those opportunities and those chances. When the defense gives you, let it go but be smart with the ball and run the ball aggressively also.
Q: You're coming in with such an inexperience receiving corps. You have to get used to these guys as they have to get used to you. How's that happened so quickly especially with guys like Jacoby [Ford] being out right now? Denarius [Moore] seems to step up and been the go-to guy…
Carson Palmer: Yeah, I mean I don't think it's happened quickly enough. I want it to be perfect all the time, but it's just something we need to continue to work at. There's been some positives, but there's definitely been some things we need to continue to work on. We continue to work on certain things every day and every couple of days, it seems like there is a new play that comes in and we need to just spend a little more extra time on it, and that's something we've been working on.
Q: Every quarterback that's come in here in Raider Nation has always been touted as the next savior. Are you comfortable with carrying that load on your shoulders?
Carson Palmer: Yeah, I mean I've been playing quarterback a long time. I understand the expectations, I understand the pressures, and I'm used to it. I've been doing it for a long time.
Q: Is it pretty exciting for you to have a fresh start? The Bengals was such a long time, but to kind of come in and start things?
Carson Palmer: It's been great, it's been great. Just a different attitude, a different organization; sometimes, that's what players need and it's been great from day one, from the minute I got picked up at the airport until today. Everything's been first class and it's been great.
Q: You came here and the team was 4-2 and even now, you're 5-4 – first place in the division. As a quarterback, is it tough for you to step in and assume more of a leadership role with the offense considering the team had been doing well?
Carson Palmer: No. I was lucky to get here after a 4-2 start and, like I said, I've been playing quarterback for a long time. I understand what's expected as far as the leadership role is concerned, and I came in and tried to be the best quarterback I could be from day one, but also, try to be a leader. There are a lot of leaders on this team. It doesn't just have to be the quarterback, but when you play that position and this position I'm playing, there's a lot expected of you as far as leadership is concerned and I haven't shied away from that at all.
Q: You have a lot of young guys who haven't been around and had success at this stage of the season before. Are there things that you can help them with, kind of as far as preparation and what to expect down the stretch?
Carson Palmer: Yeah, just talking about taking it a game at a time and not getting too high with the highs and too low with the lows. It was a big rivalry game for us last week, but it's time to move on. That was one win and one win at the end of the season that really doesn't mean anything. It's winning games in January and February that mean something. There are certain guys that had good games and got kind of recognized for their individual efforts. But if you're a young guy – like a rookie like Denarius, you've got to move on and get ready for the next week because what you did last week really doesn't matter.
Q: The flipside of being a leader, coming in here and exerting yourself that way is that you've got to have guys that are going to listen to you immediately. They had a quarterback here that did pretty well to start the season and are you gratified that they were able to take to you that quickly in that situation, and kind of turn on a dime and sort of accept you as the guy?
Carson Palmer: Yeah, I mean whoever's calling the plays in the huddle is who you're naturally going to look to and Jason did a great job. He came in and led this team to a very fast start and played very well. You don't want to come in and step on anybody's toes but like I said – if you're going to be the quarterback, there's a certain aspect of the leadership role that you need to take on. I came in and acted like myself, but when you have a young group especially at the receiver position, you've got to come in and act like you've been there for a lot longer than you actually have I guess.
Q: Have you talked to Jason much?
Carson Palmer: Yeah, every day.
Q: How delicate is that dance then Carson to come in, and have your own personality and bring what you bring but at the same time – like you said, not step on toes?
Carson Palmer: It's delicate. It's delicate, but at the same time in order to be the quarterback on the field, you have to have a command of the offense on the sidelines and in the huddle. It is a delicate situation, but Jason's a veteran and a very mature guy, very smart guy and the guys knew the situation we were in. He was going to be out for a little while. It's kind of like the 'next man up' rule and that's kind of been our motto as this season's gone on because we've had a lot of guys dropping lately. It's the next man up and whether you're the third string, second string or the original starter, you've got to come in, and do your role, and try to be a leader, try to be a playmaker and do your job.
Q: What are your thoughts on the Vikings and playing in their place?
Carson Palmer: It's going to be tough. It's going to be tough. They're a lot better than their record shows. I think they probably have the defensive MVP on their team; they have a guy that can win the offensive MVP of the league in Adrian Peterson, so it's a dangerous team with playmakers all over the place. So, it's going to take our best effort to go in there and get a win.
Q: So, you were talking about working with some of these younger players. What wisdom can you impart on them about playing in hostile environment, keeping your poise and making plays when the world's against you?
Carson Palmer: Yeah, you just really have to have a certain level of focus. It's difficult going into that environment. I've played there before when their record was a lot better than what it is right now and it's a very loud, very hostile place to play. But, you don't need to do anything special. That's always kind of the main thing is just go out and play offense the way we play it, play defense the way we play it. You don't need to make spectacular plays, you don't need to do anything out of the ordinary; you just need to play football.
Q: They lost [Antoine] Winfield that Monday night game. That secondary – when you take him out, you've got to put in a pretty inexperienced guy I guess…
Carson Palmer: It changes things, it definitely changes things. He's been a great player in this league for a long time, he can play kind of all over the place, in the slot, he can play on the outside, he can blitz, he can cover, he can tackle so losing him was definitely a hit for them. But anytime you get in a situation like that, a guy could come in and have a career game his first game. So we need to go in and control the guys on outside, and really control the guys up front, and just be effective running the ball and try to get the ball in the secondary when it comes to running the ball.
Q: You mentioned [Jared] Allen. How much does he disrupt things? Is he always on your mind or anything?
Carson Palmer: Absolutely. You always need to know where he is. He's one of those guys, there's a handful of guys in the league – it doesn't matter if you're running the ball away from him, they can make the play. He's a high-effort, explosive, fast, tenacious defender. He can do it all, so he's a guy that we definitely need to keep our eye on and know where he is at all times.