QB Carson Palmer speaks with the media after the Raiders OTAs. *Photo by Tony Gonzales
Q: What was standing out to you today, some of the players out there?
Carson Palmer: It's just the second OTA, but just a really good chance for us to come out and work on all of the little things we've been working on in practice and the meetings and the playbooks and just a chance to really get on the field and run around and make some plays. The good thing is there wasn't a lot of false starts or silly penalties, and that's something that coach came in on the first day and really harped on. We're not going to beat ourselves; we're not going to give up the yardage that we've given up in the past. It's good to see that we're changing up snap counts and doing different looks and formations. Penalty-free day and that's always good, but a lot of football to go, a lot of OTAs left and a lot of work to do.
Q: Carson, you joined the team in the middle of the year last year. How important is it for you to get this full offseason and training camp?
Carson Palmer: It's great. Just getting a chance to know the playbook, one, and getting really comfortable with the playbook in a practice environment in a non-live environment, but also getting used the personnel; the new personnel, the personnel that's been here awhile. I'm just getting used to guys running different routes and guys body language, knowing certain routes guys like and where they like to catch the ball on certain routes and it's been great. It's just been great to train and get this offseason training in, but also get to get out on the field and run around, put the offense to work.
Q: What it's like for you to have Darren McFadden out there, be on the run, cutting and doing all of the things? You didn't really see him last year.
Carson Palmer: Yeah. Awesome. He caught a screen today and did something that probably not anybody else in the league can do. You can't watch him in my position. You've got to go through your possession, your footwork, your hand placements, and then do the bootlegs and not turn your head around to see what he does. That's the hardest thing for me right now, is you want to watch him because he's so electrifying and he can do so many different things. But I have a job on bootlegs and things like that, and I have to make sure I get him the ball and then boot, but getting him on the field is just something the defense has to key on and really focus on. It's been great to work with him.
Q: How different is the bootlegs and all that stuff that you're doing, how different is it than what you've run in the past and how are you adjusting to it?
Carson Palmer: I haven't done a lot of it, didn't do much of it last year, and a couple years before that. But I have done a ton of it in my career early on, and in college did a ton of different nakeds and keepers and boots and stuff like that. It really suits me well, suits our personnel well with some of the guys we've got on the outside. They're not stopping and starting, they're just putting their foot in the ground and going a certain direction, using their speed and we're exploiting their speed with some of that stuff. It's going to be really exciting. When you've got McFadden back there and you've got to worry about him actually getting the ball on the running game and then all of a sudden you realize it's a pass after a play-action, it puts a lot of stress on the defense.
Q: Speaking of college, Matt Leinart. No getting away from him, huh?
Carson Palmer: Yeah, he just got here last week and it's been great to have him. He's been in this offense, I think, going on three years now. So he knows it inside and out. He's been with Coach Knapp before, and he's been great for Terrelle Pryor and I to just kind of ask questions here and there, ask him how he reads things. There's always, it's one thing for a coach to tell you something and a coach to coach you up on something, but when there's a guy who's done the rep before and executed a play a certain way, being a player it hits you a little different when you get coached up from another player.
Q: What'd you like that you saw from [Juron] Criner today?
Carson Palmer: Made a couple great catches. I think he proved that if you give him a chance, he'll go up and get it. So he's an exciting young guy. [Rod] Streater's another exciting young guy. You don't get a ton of draft picks, but there's a lot of rookies here trying to figure things out. When you stick out like that, being a young guy, and you're kind of the guy that everyone's talking about, made the most plays; it gets guys excited. It makes other guys at the same position realize that there's going to be a lot of competition there. So the thing he has to do is continue that and carry that through the rest of these OTAs.
Q: Speaking of competition, last year you dealt a lot with [Michael] Bush with McFadden out. Now with Bush gone, you're looking at McFadden and who else can step up in that role, that's pretty big shoes to fill. What are you seeing so far with that?
Carson Palmer: It's going to be a battle. That one's going to go well into training camp. You've got Taiwan [Jones] who has shown tons of explosiveness and done a lot of good things. Mike Goodson has been making plays. There's a lot of guys that want to be McFadden's back up and there's a lot of guys that are fighting for that job. So that's going to be an important thing for us once we get into the third, fourth preseason game to figure out who's going to be on the roster and who's going to be the back up.
Q: Carson, you spent a lot of time in Cincinnati and you've been here less than a year. How's your comfort level here in Oakland?
Carson Palmer: Very comfortable. Just getting comfortable with the playbook is one thing, but as far as being an Oakland resident, very comfortable, very happy. It's been great.
Q: How's Terrelle [Pryor] with having a full off-season he didn't get last year, what do you see in him?
Carson Palmer: He was in a tough spot last year. He kind of got robbed of an offseason. That's really when young guys develop is this time of year. Without all of the OTAs and the mini-camps and training camps, this is really his rookie year. He can't look at it that way and he and I have talked about that, but he just wants to get better every day and want to improve every little thing he can. He's got the perfect mindset to be a young guy who is learning a new offense. He understands that there is a lot of room for improvement and he's willing and wants to hear any criticism he can because he just wants to get better every day. It's fun to be around a young guy like that, that's chomping at the bit to get in there and get reps and wants to steal your reps and get in there and compete. But it's been great to be around him.
Q: What kind of weapon do you think you'll have in Denarius Moore this year?
Carson Palmer: I think Denarius is just going to build on last year and that's what he needs to do. He made spectacular plays, he made tough plays, he made easy plays, plays in the return game, plays in the running game on blocking and also on reverses. He kind of did a little bit of everything. I think this year, he can put it all together and be a complete player. He's so explosive and can do so many things down the field, but if for him to take that next step he needs to get more balls that aren't deep balls or big posts down the field for touchdowns. He needs to catch slants and curls and digs and things like that. The way things are lined up, he's the guy. He's our X receiver. I'm excited for him and I know he's excited for this year and he's got a lot to prove.*