We know Carson Palmer will not play in the Oakland Raiders’ season finale on Sunday in San Diego.
We do not, however, know who will be the Raiders’ starting quarterback.
Oakland coach Dennis Allen said Palmer will not play against the Chargers after the veteran QB suffered cracked ribs and a bruised lung early in a 17-6 loss at Carolina. Matt Leinart took his place. No. 3 quarterback Terrelle Pryor played in a few change-of-pace looks.
On Monday, Allen said he will announce his starter later in the week. The team’s decision to play Leinart was a strong indication that it doesn’t trust Pryor to play in a base offense and Allen confirmed it after the game when he said Pryor -- a third-round supplemental draft pick in 2011 -- isn’t ready.
However, the fact that Allen isn’t ready to announce a starter for Sunday is an indication that the coaching staff may be, at least, considering playing Pryor.
I realize Oakland’s staff is concerned that Pryor isn’t prepared to run a base offense in an NFL game. But what’s the risk at this point? Oakland is 4-11. We already know what Leinart is -- a career backup.
Give Pryor some experience.
Perhaps he will show Oakland something. I know he had just one good preseason game and I know there will likely be a lot of moments of frustration if he plays a full game. But there are no risks.
The best trend in the NFL right now is the emergence of young quarterbacks. I’m not saying Pryor is one of these players. But we will never know if he stays on the bench.
Palmer will turn 33 on Thursday. The Raiders have a young quarterback and they need to see what they have in Pryor, regardless if he is ready or not. This is the perfect opportunity to do it. Oakland needs to take advantage of it.
Meanwhile, could Palmer have played his final game in Oakland? There has been some speculation the Raiders will move on because he has a huge contract for 2013. I can see a restructuring of Palmer’s contract, but I’d be surprised if he wasn’t in Oakland next season. There just aren’t any better options and Oakland has much bigger needs than quarterback going into the offseason.