When the Oakland Raiders travel to take on the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, the team and quarterback Carson Palmer will be faced with an emotional game. Palmer will return to Cincinnati for the first time since he was traded to Oakland last season. Former Raiders' head coach Hue Jackson is now an assistant in Cincinnati and many of the players will be suiting up against their old coach.
Palmer was the first overall pick of the Bengals in the 2003 NFL Draft. He was instrumental in turning around a franchise that had 11 losing seasons in 12 years. After not playing his first year in Cincinnati, Palmer started 13 games in 2005 and led the Bengals to an 8-8 record. The next season, Palmer helped the Bengals to an 11-5 record and their first playoff appearance in 15 years. He played seven seasons with Cincinnati making 97 starts and finishing with a 46-51 record as the quarterback. After a 4-12 season in 2010, Palmer became frustrated with the organization and pushed for a trade. He was willing to retire in order to get out of Cincinnati and was finally traded to the Raiders October 18, 2011.
Now in his first full season with Oakland, Palmer will play his former team on Sunday. Despite some costly turnovers, Palmer has put together a solid season for the Raiders. He is completing over 60 percent of his passing for 3,035 yards with 17 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He has Oakland ranked 7th in the NFL in passing offense at 288.4 yards per game. Cincinnati is ranked 14th in the league against the pass allowing 228.3 yards per game. It appears that the Raiders will be without running back Darren McFadden for the third straight week, therefore the offense will run through Palmer like it has much of the season.
Along with Palmer, several other Raiders players will face a familiar opponent Sunday. In 2011, Hue Jackson was hired as the Oakland head coach after spending a season as the offensive coordinator. However, he only lasted one season and finished with an 8-8 record. When the Raiders hired Reggie McKenzie as their general manager his first order of business was to fire Jackson. Jackson is now an assistant in Cincinnati and knows the ability of several Raiders he coached last season.
“Yeah, I think it’s a positive for both teams to know the other team’s personnel,” Raiders head coach Dennis Allen said of Jackson and Palmer spending time with both teams. “I’m sure he’s got some insight into our players and I know Carson has some insight into their players. But again, when the game kicks off, it’s going to be about our players executing against the Bengals.”
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