After struggling through the 2012 season on offense, the Oakland Raiders must take this offseason to make improvements and turn out a better product. In the NFL it all starts with the quarterback. The Raiders have two guys on the 2013 roster who give them an opportunity to build around for the 2013 season.
Carson Palmer made 15 starts for the Raiders last season before a rib/lung injury forced him out of the season finale. Palmer was asked to do so much for Oakland in 2012 because of the inconsistent defense, poor running game, and early deficits. Palmer showed his toughness and resiliency trying to answer those obstacles joining Rich Gannon as the only Raiders to throw for 4,000 yards. Palmer finished last year with 4,018 yards, 22 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions.
The coaching staff still believes Palmer gives the team to best chance to win. He will enter the offseason as the starting quarterback. One area Palmer must improve in 2013 is turnovers. Too many times this season Palmer forced balls that resulted in crucial interceptions, costing the Raiders dearly. The new offensive minds hired by the Raiders this offseason like offensive coordinator Greg Olson and offensive line coach and assistant head coach Tony Sparano will try to build the offense around Palmer's skill set.
Matt Leinart served as the back-up quarterback for the majority of last season. In 2013, he will be a free agent, unlikely to be back in Oakland because of the emergence of Terrelle Pryor in the season finale of 2012. Pryor should enter mini-camps as the number two quarterback getting a serious amount of reps. It will be an important offseason to get Pryor ready to be an NFL quarterback. He showed flashes of his instincts and physical ability, but was raw in the more refined challenges of playing quarterback, which is no surprise because he has only played and started one game.
As far as quarterback situations go, the Raiders are in a good spot. Palmer is the veteran, proven quarterback who can command the offense. Pryor is the talented developmental quarterback who gives defensive coordinators nightmares. Pryor should have an expanded role after showing his ability in the final game of 2012. The Raiders coaching staff and management wanted to see what Pryor could do in the NFL, but waited too long to give him an extended try. Entering 2013, Pryor should have a package of plays to run every week that expands as he grows as a quarterback.
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