ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) — As prolific as he's been in his career, Oakland's Carson Palmer is on an unparalleled pace for him.
Palmer is on track to join 2002 NFL MVP Rich Gannon as the only quarterbacks in franchise history to eclipse the 4,600-yard mark in a single season. Gannon passed for 4,689 yards during the '02 season when he led Oakland to its first Super Bowl appearance in nearly two decades.
That would be quite an accomplishment for Palmer considering the Raiders receiving corps has been banged up since training camp. Oakland has also had issues with pass protection and the running game, making it easier for defenses to concentrate on Palmer.
It's also something he'd almost rather not see happen.
"Yeah, because we want to run the football," Palmer said Wednesday. "That's what we talk about, that's what we work on. The better you run the football, those yards might go up and the pass attempts go down."
Palmer said the Raiders would be better off being more balanced offensively.
That's not happened so far. Not even close.
Oakland has been held to 120 yards rushing or fewer in five of the first six games of the season. Much has been made about the zone blocking schemes implemented by offensive coordinator Greg Knapp but the Raiders also added a handful of the gap-blocking plays that running back Darren McFadden had success running in 2011. The results continue to be mostly disappointing.
Even though Palmer has thrown for 1,732 yards — 11th in the NFL — and has his highest passer rating (86.0) since 2007, the numbers haven't translated into many wins.
The Raiders (2-4) are coming off a 26-23 overtime victory against lowly Jacksonville, a game in which Oakland's offense was dreadful before Palmer led four scoring drives after halftime.