It’s interesting how quickly fortunes can change in the NFL.
Just over 72 hours ago, Jason Campbell had job security. He was leading an impressive Raiders team as an effective starting quarterback and playing some of the best football of his six-year NFL career.
One rough fall is sometimes all it takes to alter a team’s long-term plans.
After breaking his collarbone on Sunday, and going through surgery earlier this week, Campbell is regulated to backup duty for the foreseeable future. He’s expected to miss a minimum of six weeks.
Desperate for help under center, Oakland pulled the trigger on a blockbuster trade that sent Carson Palmer from Cincinnati just before the NFL trade deadline.
“We wouldn’t have had to pursue a trade if our starting quarterback was healthy and going,” Raiders head coach Hue Jackson told the Kansas City media in a conference call Wednesday afternoon. “There’s no question that we would not have pursued this trade.”
Instead, the Raiders have a new starting quarterback for what looks to be much longer than the rest of the 2011 season.
Aside from paying the premium of sending the Bengals a first-round pick in 2012, and a conditional first-round pick in 2013 to acquire Palmer, Campbell’s contract expires at the end of the year. Palmer’s current deal runs through 2014.
The Palmer era could potentially begin as early as Sunday against Kansas City.
“I don’t know that for sure,” Jackson said of his plans to start Palmer against the Chiefs. “We haven’t even had a practice yet and until we’ve had a practice I can’t make any kind of decision that way.”
Following practice, Jackson made similar statements to media in the Bay Area.
Reports coming out of Oakland had backup Kyle Boller taking the first starter’s rep at Raiders practice, but Palmer also received first-team work.
“The good thing is we’ve got a lot of tape on Carson and our staff [has] very good familiarity with his strengths,” Chiefs head coach Todd Haley said. “Kyle, same thing, we’ve seen him through the years a number of different places. He’s on tape last week some, so much like Indianapolis, we’ve got to prepare for two guys and that happens on occasion and this is one of those weeks.”
Palmer had been in exile following a very public offseason spat with the Bengals front office. Wednesday’s practice was his first in an organized setting since Cincinnati’s Week 17 preparations for Baltimore last season.
“I think (starting) would be tough, but if anybody can do it, he can,” Jackson said.
Haley isn’t putting it past the Raiders to give Palmer the starting nod.
“This isn’t a one-, two-year guy you’re talking about; it’s a guy that’s got a bunch of years under his belt experience,” Haley said of Palmer. “I wouldn’t put it past anybody. They had a linebacker last week that came in to an entirely new system and started and played in [Aaron] Curry. I think we’ve just got to plan on either guy.”
Trojan QB vs. Trojan QB?
Even though Palmer is joining a division rival, Cassel is excited that his former college roommate has gained another chance as an NFL starting quarterback.
“Carson is a great guy and he’s a great friend of mine,” Cassel said. “I’m excited that he gets the opportunity to play again. I’m happy for him and his family. I know that that was something that he wanted to do and he’ll get an opportunity.
“I’ll be a fan of his every day but two of them, when we play them. It’ll be fun to compete against him.”
When assessing Palmer’s ability to start against Kansas City on short notice, Cassel is in the camp that thinks the former Bengal can do it.
“I’ve never been put in that situation, but I know that he’s played a lot of football before,” Cassel said. “I think this is his ninth year in the NFL and he played a lot of football in college as well. I’m sure if anybody can do it, Carson can do it.”
Cassel and Palmer have squared off against each other once before as NFL quarterbacks. The matchup came during Cassel’s first season in Kansas City with Palmer getting the upper hand in a 17-10 victory at Paul Brown Stadium.
Sympathy For Payton
New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton was released from the hospital Wednesday morning following surgery to repair a torn meniscus and broken tibia. Payton suffered the injury during a sideline collision with Saints TE Jimmy Graham in Sunday’s game at Tampa Bay.
The injury caught the attention of Chiefs head coach Todd Haley, who coached with Payton in Dallas from 2004-05. Payton coached the Cowboys quarterbacks while Haley guided the team’s wide receivers as passing game coordinator.
“I sent a couple texts out to him and offered any help I could give as he goes down this road,” Haley said.
Haley underwent a leg surgery of his own last season after ripping a tendon off his quad muscle while demonstrating interception techniques to Chiefs defensive backs during an in-season practice. He wore a leg brace that spanned from ankle to hip, limiting his mobility throughout most of the season.
“I have a lot of sympathy, a lot of sympathy because of knowing what he’s in for,” Haley said. “I know a lot about it having gone through last year. Surgeries mid-season are good for nobody, including coaches.”
Both players took part in Kansas City’s practice Wednesday afternoon and looked in line to play against the Raider s on Sunday.
Chiefs Injury Report
RB Jackie Battle – Full Participant (Neck)
FB Le’ron McClain – Full Participant (Neck)
Raiders Injury Report
DID NOT PRACTICE: QB Jason Campbell (Collarbone, Foot), RB Rock Cartwright (Calf), CB Chimdi Chekwa (Hamstring), CB Chris Johnson (Groin, Hamstring), LB Rolando McClain (Ankle), RB Marcel Reece (Ankle)
LIMITED PARTICIPANTS: TE Richard Gordon (Hand), S Michael Huff (Ankle), C Samson Satele (Ankle)
FULL PARTICIPANTS: TE Brandon Myers (Ribs)