There’s a movement afoot on Twitter involving Raiders’ quarterback Carson Palmer. It’s no #RallyZito, of course. Nothing ever will be. The circumstances of that were too perfect. The outcome equally so. Palmer is something of a Zito, though, especially given that Palmer, like Zito, is the receptacle in which fans dump their frustration. Ironically titled #PalmersFault, Palmer’s movement calls attention to those who are quick to blame him for Oakland’s woes. It’s goal is to belittle ignorance and so on. Here are few of my favorite responses:
It never surpassed #ThingsMyDaddyTaughtMe and #8ReasonsWhyImOnTwitter. But, really, what could? Ultimately, that #Palmersfault could not overtake lesser opponents is almost fitting, insofar as it epitomizes Palmer’s time in Oakland. He was brought in under dubious circumstances and given expectations that were impossible to fulfill. And yet, he has been successful by most measures of an NFL quarterback anyway. He led the Raiders to an 8-8 record a year ago, and this year, despite the dearth of talent available, he’s got the Raiders in contention for the AFC West.
Sure, he hasn’t been perfect this season. But, expectations shouldn’t have been for perfection. That’s not Palmer. Never has been. Never will be. Still, he has been good more often than he’s been bad. Let’s not forget he doesn’t have the luxury of a running game.
Palmer has taken a lion’s share of the blame for Sunday’s loss against the Tampa Bay. Or, perhaps more appropriately, he’s sharing the blame with the run defense. In any case, Palmer did throw three key interceptions, so observational evidence suggests that Palmer did play some role in the loss. And, as usual, observational evidence is not entirely accurate.
Below, you’ll find a breakdown of Palmer’s three interceptions. The goal is to assign blame appropriately. Such assignments are based on educated guessing on my part, so keep that in mind.
Play: Carson Palmer pass incomplete short right intended for Denarius Moore is intercepted by Leonard Johnson at TAM-29 and returned for 3 yards (tackle by Denarius Moore)
It’s apparent that the Buccaneers are going to blitz here. After all, they have eight men in the box, and Mike Goodson is lined up at tailback. What else could they be doing? Anyway, Palmer likely sees Ronde Barber shading Denarius Moore’s side, guarding against the deep pass. As such, he’s probably expecting Moore to cut his route short.
Once the ball is snapped, the blitz materializes. The Bucs send six, which is great because the Raiders leave six men to block. What isn’t so great is that Stefen Wisniewski and Mike Brisiel double-team the Bucs’ defensive tackle, leaving Goodson to block two defenders.
Luckily, for the Raiders, Palmer seems to be on top of this. He’s identified the hot route–a quick curl to Moore. So long as Goodson picks up the lead rusher and Moore runs the right route, everything will work perfectly.
I guess Goodson failed. What about Moore?
Moore probably sees that Barber is playing the deep middle and figures Palmer will be looking for him on a deeper route. This would explain why Palmer’s pass appears to be thrown directly to Leonard Johnson.
Fault: Goodson and Moore.
Play: Carson Palmer pass incomplete deep left intended for Rod Streater is intercepted by Ahmad Black atTAM-44 and returned for 34 yards
The Bucs will show blitz, but only rush four. They’ll also keep Ahmad Black over the top of Moore and Rod Streater. That’s about all I can figure on this play. When Black intercepts the ball, nobody is within 10 yards of him, as you can see.
It’s apparent that somebody runs the wrong the route. Whether the guilty part is Moore or Streater, I do not know. Below, the green lines are the routes ran. The red are the routes that one of them should have run.
Fault: This is nearly impossible to say. But, I really don’t believe the fault is Palmer’s. If it were, then he literally and purposefully threw to Black, and this would be a conspiracy worthy of a Don Delillo novel. I’m no conspiracy theorist, so I won’t blame Palmer. And I also won’t blame Streater or Moore. This is just a good ol’ fashioned miscommunication.
Play: Carson Palmer pass incomplete deep left intended for Rod Streater is intercepted by E.J. Biggers at OAK-41
There is not too much to see here. Palmer under-throws the ball. Biggers notices as much and makes the appropriate play.
In total, Palmer was responsible for one interception, which came in the last two minutes of a game that was already out of reach. The other interceptions were clearly not his fault, or at least not solely his fault. Though Palmer hasn’t been an elite quarterback, he has also not been the reason they’ve lost five of eight. In reality, Palmer is the reason the Raiders have a competitive team. And if you disagree, well, then that’s #PalmersFault.